The Economy in 2013: Now What?

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This week I had the pleasure of participating in the Texas Enterprise Speaker Series ( #TxE hashtag on Twitter) sponsored by the University of Texas and Texas CEO Magazine. The topic? The economy – a very hot issue right now given the upcoming election, and continued uncertainty around when we’ll see a rebound.

I was joined by fellow panelists Dr. Spencer Berthelsen, managing director of Kelsey-Seybold Clinics Houston, Cedric Burgher, CFO of QR Energy and Thomas Gilligan, Dean of the McCombs School of Business. As the panel rolled on, we all quickly realized battling a sluggish economy wasn’t the only thing our industries had in common – technology’s ability to help make businesses and organizations more efficient and better able to serve our customers.

In fact, now, more than ever before, the slow economy is forcing just about every industry to re-evaluate their strategy and look at how to become more efficient and increase the opportunity for growth. For the energy sector, efficiency comes in the identification of and ability to tap into new resources. For IT, growth will come from helping our customers increase productivity by tapping into the power of the cloud and a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) environment, expand into growth markets and connect more with their own customers through better data insights.

For the healthcare industry, this translates into a focus on preventative care rather than rescue care, as Dr. Berthelsen emphasized, especially when you consider that our country’s two-fold spend on healthcare vs. other countries is not reflected in superior quality of care here in the U.S. In our work with healthcare providers and researchers, we know technology can change this, in particular through an information-driven healthcare system. For example,  Dell has partnered with the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) to support the world’s first precision medicine clinical trial for pediatric cancer. Through high performance computing, we hope to accelerate analysis and identification of targeted treatments for this deadly disease to save lives.

Steve Felice at Texas Enterprise Speaker Series

Naturally, since this event was co-presented by the University of Texas McCombs School of Business, we were asked what we look for in hiring new talent. Cedric quickly replied “self-starters”. I couldn’t agree more and also look for problem solvers, those who are curious/open-minded and have strong leadership skills. In the technology space, an engineering and analytics background will become an especially powerful combination. Good news for Dell and others looking for this kind of talent, Dean Gilligan announced UT will soon offer a Master of Science program in business analytics.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about the technology economy and our ability to positively affect the future through change.

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