Top 10 Retail CIO Priorities For 2014 - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Software // Enterprise Applications
News
1/15/2014
11:10 AM
Doug Henschen
Doug Henschen
Slideshows
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Top 10 Retail CIO Priorities For 2014

NRF Big Show 2014 serves up a wealth of advice for retail tech leaders looking to embrace digital commerce, adopt a mobile-first strategy, and take advantage of big data.
Previous
1 of 11
Next

Big challenges for retail tech decision makers
Pity the poor retail CIO. There's pressure to support new mobile strategies while also thwarting showrooming. They're asked to personalize the customer experience, but watch out for those privacy pitfalls. They have to get agile, perhaps by moving into the cloud, but then the latest data-breach headline puts their security strategy under a microscope.

The National Retail Federation's Big Show, Jan. 12-15, in New York, puts a spotlight on the often contradictory technology priorities and trends facing the modern retailer. The biggest push continues to be the quest for what Allan Smith, CIO of clothing maker and retailer Lululemon, calls the "single customer experience." This is the latest name for the 10-plus-year-old quest to bring order and consistency to a retail experience that spans physical stores, web stores, call centers, email campaigns, social sites, and mobile applications.

CIOs know well that technology is a big part of the silo problem, as point-of-sale (POS) systems, e-commerce platforms, and order-management applications have served up their unsynchronized, disparate versions of the truth. Integration and sophisticated strategies around cross-channel fulfillment, replenishment, and allocation have helped matters, but technology providers such as SAP's Hybris e-commerce unit were on hand at the Big Show with the latest promise of a single platform that can manage all retail transactions.

It's hard keeping up with the pace of change, and consumer expectations for mobile and social shopping experiences are just the latest examples of the need for agility. Of course, technology vendors ranging from IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and SAS to eBay, Google, NetSuite, and Verizon were on hand promising rapidly deployable, cloud-based computing capacity and application services. But CIOs like Michael Kingston of Neiman Marcus know all too well that internal process changes and organizational structures are the biggest obstacles to being a responsive retailer.

With mobile, social, and web channels now fueling the growth of big data, there's clearly an imperative to make use of all available information. Kingston of Neiman Marcus (and his counterpart Beth Jacob of Target) also knows all too well that data is a risk, as underscored by the recent Neiman Marcus and Target data breaches. But there weren't too many answers for data breaches discussed, and many of the "security" technologies on display were focused on protecting retailers from theft.

Retailers will take a hybrid approach to the cloud, predicts IBM chairman, president, and CEO Ginni Rometty, with "private" being a key option for sensitive data. A Big Show keynote speaker, Rometty also expects some retailers to follow the lead of banks in appointing chief data officers. As for that other C-suite competitor, the CMO, get used to working shoulder-to-shoulder with him or her, as the challenges ahead for retailers will demand a team approach to meeting customer expectations.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Previous
1 of 11
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Lorna Garey
50%
50%
Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
1/16/2014 | 5:51:07 PM
Manpower
The "bring it to me" technology sounds like a fantastic idea (especially at Kohl's, which is the most annoying store ever for finding what you want). However, there are barely any salespeople in most retail stores now. Where's the manpower coming from?
D. Henschen
50%
50%
D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
1/15/2014 | 11:40:20 AM
Do you agree on converged platforms, hybrid cloud, and breach vs. theft?
These suggestions are not without controversy. Is it realistic to believe we can get to one transactional system across so many customer interaction channels? Will a majority of shoppers find the "connected fitting room" invasive? Do customers really want to reinvent the shopping experience? Should we call it theft instead of breach? Will retail clouds have to be hybrid? Add your perspective to these retail tech priorities.
InformationWeek Is Getting an Upgrade!

Find out more about our plans to improve the look, functionality, and performance of the InformationWeek site in the coming months.

News
Becoming a Self-Taught Cybersecurity Pro
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  6/9/2021
News
Ancestry's DevOps Strategy to Control Its CI/CD Pipeline
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  6/4/2021
Slideshows
IT Leadership: 10 Ways to Unleash Enterprise Innovation
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  6/8/2021
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
Planning Your Digital Transformation Roadmap
Download this report to learn about the latest technologies and best practices or ensuring a successful transition from outdated business transformation tactics.
Slideshows
Flash Poll