The importance of technology to the United States' top entrepreneurs is increasing dramatically, a recent survey shows. In the 1994 survey of past winners of the Entrepreneur of the Year award, 59% of respondents said that "improving automation/technology" was an important or extremely important issue for their business. That's almost twice the percentage of people who gave the same response two years ago.

Improving technology still isn't one of the top 10 issues facing entrepreneurs; it ranked 14th among 36 concerns, behind such essential goals as "improving profit." Meanwhile, there are no signs that leading entrepreneurs are finding technology any easier to manage. Information-systems management ranked as one of the functions they'd be most likely to outsource, right behind those administrative nightmares, the handling of taxes and employee benefits. Then again, outsourcing may not help: when the entrepreneurs were asked to rate their satisfaction with nine types of outside service providers, information-systems consultants placed dead last.

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Percentage of Entrepreneur of the Year winners who consider improving automation or technology very important

1992 30%

1993 43%

1994 59%

Source: Entrepreneur of the Year Institute's 1994 membership survey, compared with results from 1993 and 1992.

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