I am confident that Neville's proven ability with blue chip companies throughout Europe and Asia to interrelate their systems support and overall strategies will be of great value to us. Best Buy will benefit from his business acumen, strategic approach and deep technical skills as we continue our growth in Canada and China, further our partnership with The Carphone Warehouse in Europe, and embark on our expansion into Mexico and Turkey.
In his role at Accenture, Roberts had worked with such retail heavyweights as Wal-Mart and WHSmith, on projects like supply chain, e-commerce, CRM, and outsourcing, according to Best Buy. One of Roberts' first tasks will be to create a multichannel e-commerce platform for Best Buy.
Roberts also is tasked with creating something called "Best Buy-in-a-box," which the retailer describes as "a suite of off-the-shelf IT packages and custom-built applications bound together by integration services, that can provide standardized systems and processes as Best Buy moves into new global markets." If that is what it sounds like it is -- a package of applications and standards for retailers to use when Best Buy stores are launched outside the United States -- it makes sense, because lack of standards and common systems can plague retailers' efforts at interoperability and economies of scale when expanding internationally.
It also may be the raison d'etre for the new position: to militate against the tendency toward balkanization of IT systems among various geographies and cultures. Then again, isn't that the CIO's job in most companies anyway?
Said Willett: "We all share a common goal: to leverage technology to its greatest advantage and assist the company in its efforts to transition from a technology-centered culture to customer-centered culture while working to humanize technology."
Does your company have a leader of its international IT strategy, and is that a separate person from the company's overall CIO? Not to put too fine a point on it, but is an international CIO really a good thing or an unnecessary layer of extraction likely to create more problems than he or she will solve?