Strategic CIO // Executive Insights & Innovation
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4/13/2009
06:25 PM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
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What A Concept! Chain Has IT Report To Chief Concept Officer

Some CIOs grouse about reporting to the CFO, and while that approach seems to ensure insular and risk-averse thinking, at least most people know what the CFO does. But how about when IT reports to the Chief Concept Officer?

Some CIOs grouse about reporting to the CFO, and while that approach seems to ensure insular and risk-averse thinking, at least most people know what the CFO does. But how about when IT reports to the Chief Concept Officer?That title seems to be limited to the restaurant industry, as is the case at Einstein Noah Restaurant Group where newly named chief concept officer James P. O'Reilly takes responsibility for branding, advertising, merchandising, promotion, restaurant development, and real estate. Oh yes - also for information technology, and innovation.

Einstein Noah said it operates 600 stores, including 100 license locations, in 36 states plus the District of Columbia under the names Einstein Brothers Bagels and Noah's New York Bagels. Plus, the company says, it operates a dough production facility.

The company's web site lists four executives and their job descriptions, but there's no mention of a CIO or the IT department, so it's hard to say if the CCO reporting structure is a step up or down for the IT team.

But let's hope newly named concept chief O'Reilly, who's running everything from advertising to real estate to (I assume) the dough-making factory, doesn't merely consign his new IT team to the back office and instead engages them in analyzing customer behavior and patterns more deeply, developing more-effective ways of evaluating store-by-store performance, measuring the impact of his forthcoming advertising and branding campaigns, and creating new ways for customers to engage online with the company's retail locations.

That would be quite the concept.

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