Midsize IT Blues


"Information-technology leaders at midsize companies say they could compete with bigger companies, if only they had more money. And staff. And the freedom to focus on long-term projects."

That's how WSJ sums up a survey of midsize IT departments by Arrow Enterprise Computing. The research jibes with the more anecdotal accounts of life in the midmarket I heard when reporting this article on the role of the CIO; at midmarket companies, the role tended to be very broad.

Focusing on both strategy and operations is a reality of life for Chris Gillespie, CIO of Prestige Brands, maker of household products including Comet and Chloraseptic. He divides his time fairly evenly between the two areas--but that's an average over time.

"It's like bungee jumping," Gillespie says. "You go very quickly from a high-level discussion with the London office about an online marketing campaign, to troubleshooting problems with the firewall or working with a database administrator, and then back up again." Bouncing back and forth between functions can be frustrating, with systems problems sometimes pulling him away from commitments to business unit managers for days at a time.

But there is good news for midmarket IT in the survey, too: "The slumping economy doesn't seem to have too much of an impact on midsize companies - perhaps because they're already bootstrapping it."


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