Anna Murray of tmg-e*media on Business and Technology

Anna Murray will be the keynote speaker for the upcoming AdMonsters Publisher Forum in Memphis. She has more than 20 years of interactive technology and marketing experience and is a nationally recognized expert for her ability to implement technology and Internet strategy. She began her career working for news organizations including ABC News before founding the interactive agency, e*media, in 1996. In 2004, e*media was acquired by the Technology Management Group to form tmg-e*media, inc. where she now serves as President. In advance of the Publisher Forum, we talked with Anna about technology and business.

Q: Can you briefly describe what you do in your current role?

I’m a strategic technology consultant. This means I go into companies at times of crisis or transformation. I have worked on targeted projects (what CMS shall we pick?), or much larger assignments (can you come in as our CIO for 2 years while we completely redo our systems?).

Q: Do you feel that there’s a lack of understanding about technology at the business (executive) level and if so what is the cause?

Many C-suite executives lack fundamental technology knowledge and it’s unconscionable in this day & age. There has been a prevailing idea that you don’t have to understand technology. It’s like electricity! You just have to know what it can do for you! This is a fantasy. Many executives have to meaningfully participate in making big financial decisions involving technology. You can’t do this if you have your secretary send email (yes, it still exists) and your son helps you program your blackberry. The cause is simply lack of education.

Q: You mentioned on your blog that tmg-e*media co-hosted the first Drupal Business Summit with Acquia last November, “Creating content that helps business people understand Drupal and what it can do for their organizations.” How did your company become involved with this event?

Being involved with many publishers, I understand the a major trend towards using Drupal as a CMS. There’s lots of technical information out there on Drupal, but very little business-level information. Business people are making uninformed or partially informed decisions. This summit got accurate information and resources in the hands of business people.

Q: Does attending events such as AdMonsters or the Drupal Business Summit help executives understand technology better?

It gets the horse to the water. Many executives need to shift their perspectives pretty significantly to address the future. It has been said there are three types of publishing executives, those who say reality doesn’t exist; those who say reality *does* exist, but only after I retire; and those who say reality exists and we must meet the challenge. The vast majority these days fall into group 1 or 2.

Q: You will be talking about this more in your Keynote Address, but could you comment on how you feel Ad Operations in general is currently perceived by their business leadership?

Aren’t those the people who are always asking me for more headcount? Why do I need headcount? I thought that’s what computers were for.