3 Tech Challenges That Keep Entrepreneurs Up at Night In this age of information overload, startup founders who are aware and keep their heads above the competition will find success.

By Wayne Dennison

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Computers and communications: These are the parents of the Information Age, and when they meet, the fireworks begin. "Infotech" is now as vital for the budding entrepreneur, and often as intangible, as the air we breathe. Chief information officers nationwide are ringing their collective hands when it comes to developing a professional workforce to keep our freshly-minted startups afloat.

What makes our modern morass even worse is that adding new paths for information is like adding more lanes to a highway -- new traffic quickly fills them up. Even though almost everyone agrees that we are bombarded with too much information, we continue to create more every day.

Related: 4 Big Challenges That Startups Face

At a time when big data is so easily available, entrepreneurs must look at changing the way they handle information. Having an understanding of the things that continue to be thorns in the sides of CIOs can help entrepreneurs navigate the choppy waters. These include:

1. The ability to hire and retain skilled workers.

Attracting and retaining a skilled IT workforce is especially difficult. The workers with the skills and talents needed have more options in today's economy and are also more cautious about making big moves, which makes it difficult for organizations to initially attract them. And once we attract a good employee, the problem becomes how do we find ways to keep them challenged and help them grow professionally, while providing a competitive compensation package to ensure we retain them.

2. The growing demand for mobile and self-service applications.

The increasing desire for mobility pushes the boundaries for developers and requires constant retooling. Not only do our developers have to adapt to changing processes, this demand also increases the burden on existing infrastructure as well as challenges IT professionals to manage more devices and wireless activity. It is key for entrepreneurs to ensure that their developers understand the mobile environment and have continuous access to training.

Related: 5 Technology Roadblocks Costing You Great Talent

3. Learning how to be innovative while maintaining a budget.

IT leaders at entrepreneurial enterprises must be able to balance keeping the lights on and providing their customers with the stability and reliability they expect (and deserve) with their exploration of new innovations and more efficient technologies. CIOs at entrepreneurial companies face a delicate balancing act. Taking too many chances in terms of innovation can be costly, and can negatively impact the budget, while playing it too safe can put you behind the curve in relation to your competitors.

Understanding the current environment and its corresponding challenges is an important skill for entrepreneurs. Often, when the competition is keen, it's amazing how evenly matched the sides are. Yet, when the dust clears, the startup that survives is often the one who has used its information base best.

Related: Peer Farther Into the Future to See Opportunity Before Your Competition Does

Wavy Line
Wayne Dennison

CIO at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Wayne Dennison is vice president for information technology and chief information officer at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Ind.  

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