In the near future, a single constraint will be the primary damper on growth at midmarket companies. According to Dan Hawkins, founder of Summit Leadership Partners, this particular obstacle will be overcome only by those companies that can inspire their employees. “Feeling inspired [will be] more important than pay,” Hawkins said. The malaise that will prevent healthy development is the so-called “war for talent.” Its only cure is a forward-looking implementation of novel technology in a way that inspires the workforce to solve big problems.

More talking, less doing

One of the biggest problems to solve is outdated internal collaboration and communication models. The mere proliferation of communication software has done little to thrust mid-market companies into 21st-century communication. Writing for the Harvard Business Review, executive and philanthropist Vineet Nayar says that adopting new technology is necessarily worth the risk: “There is no alternative. You have to make this change to survive.” Using software such as Wrike, which reduces emails by an average of 55 percent, and dapulse, which allows you to drastically scale back meetings, will help your company win its war for talent.

Guard the gates

While revolutionizing communication strategies is important, revamping advanced security solutions is a rapidly accelerating need with far more dramatic consequences. Business strategy is aligned with cybersecurity strategy only about half of the time, with the vast majority of middle market companies believing they have not been hacked. Many of them have, though, and the moment when they discover it is not pretty. For middle market companies, the average price to clean up after the business has been hacked stands at over $1 million. One of the best ways to prevent such hacks is to use software that carefully partitions which employees have access to what data.

Run with the swift

Finally, companies must use technology to confront the age-old problem of ever-increasing competition. Services such as Eloqua allow you to nurture leads away from your competition by giving you the ability to present just the right message at just the right time. The technology used by Sentient gives you the ability to anticipate your customers’ desires and fulfill them before they realize they have them. Using big data will give you the ability to treat your customers like the individuals they are, fostering longer relationships with them. Regardless of the method you choose, the only way you will push back against the progress of your competition against you is by leveraging technology to offer your customers a better experience.

This heavy dependence on technology to confront problems – and in so doing, to retain talent – is going to both increase the relevance of and radically transform the position of CIO. In the past, that position may have been, to put it lightly, to “keep the computers on and the latest version of Windows installed.” But now, the person in that position will be expected to deliver ROI and to use technology to make a strategic impact in the company. If your organization is to win the war for talent, every member of the executive team must be focused on finding and using appropriate technology to defeat each obstacle encountered.