CIO New Zealand launches the inaugural CIO50, recognising the nation's top 50 technology and digital chiefs of 2019, at the Te Papa in Wellington (Photos by Mark Coote)
Retail / Interviews
“From a ‘fast follower’ of retail trends a few years ago, we are now a leader in retail innovation,” says Shane Lenton, CIO at Cue Clothing.
We use the BXT (Business - eXperience – Technology) approach for change management, says Pieter Bakker of Frucor Suntory
Mandy Kennedy is the first chief information officer for Paperplus Group. Assessing the work environment, from the six year old server hardware to the 10-year-old network, she says, “It was evident that my first priority had to be a complete technical infrastructure refresh.”
“The nirvana of IT for any good CIO is to get out of the business’ way,” says Timothy Kasbe, chief information and digital officer at The Warehouse Group.
“Being able to continuously deliver smaller pieces of work with little cost and rapid customer feedback has allowed us to move from a risk based analysis culture to one of test and learn which empowers staff to think innovatively and try new things,” says Peter Muggleston, CIO at Foodstuffs North Island (FSNI)
“The market is competitive and we are faced with an increasingly digital landscape, which means over recent years it’s been more important than ever to step things up and take more of a focus on delivering IT solutions that make life easier for our customers, and more efficient for our teams," says Mitre 10 CIO Philip Coster.
“We have moved to a total SaaS model. Our costs are kept in check by how much resource and services we consume. This user pays model means we can accurately account for costs in each business case and initiative as they are required. We don't consume more than we need,” is how Grant Taylor describes the biggest business transformation programme at Citta.
“Our customers are on a digital journey and we are on a digital journey as well," is how Simon Kennedy describes the backdrop in which he and his team of 130 at The Warehouse Group operate in.
Before Claire Barber took on the newly created role of chief digital officer at Spark New Zealand, she led the re-engineering programme for the telecommunications company.
Over the past two years, Fletcher Building has taken serious steps towards transforming their business model, leveraging the benefits of the Portfolio, driving hard on performance and preparing for business in an increasingly digital economy. It is now beginning to realise the benefits from the shift and providing lessons for other New Zealand organisations.
Turners Limited CIO Simon Gould-Thorpe says ICT is at the forefront of the company’s business transformation programme.
Icebreaker embarked on a transformation to change its emphasis from a traditionally product centric led business, into a consumer centric and insights driven business, says its CIO David Healy.
After a successful career in ICT, first in Wellington then contracting in the UK and Europe, Hamish Grant returned with his family to Palmerston North, his hometown, in 2006, thinking he might semi-retire.
“My wife is English, but we met in Wellington,” he says, so the move to Europe was for personal as well as career reasons.
A good CIO needs staying power and nerves of steel. Owen McCall, chief information officer of The Warehouse Group, set his sights on system stability from day one and never let up until he achieved it. Four years on he is confident that first base is covered and can address some of the other challenges: “Business enablement” and revising perceptions some areas of the business still have about IT unreliability.
For The Warehouse there is increasing competition, with new entrants in general merchandising and national retail space growing three-times faster than retail sales. As well, so-called ‘large-box category-killers’ such as Harvey Norman, Supercheap Auto, Bunnings Warehouse, Mitre 10 and even Number 1 Shoes have been expanding their retail footprints. Convergence has led to grocery businesses increasingly selling general merchandise — not to mention, of course, The Warehouse diversifying into groceries with its own Extra stores. Three Extra stores were opened, with plans to expand to 15, but further expansion was put on hold last September; as the company wanted to assess the performance of the new venture.
Consumers may be duking it out for Nintendo Wiis in shopping aisles this year, but overall the battle for holiday spending dollars will be between the retailers. With consumers' awareness of a softening economy, retailers will be forced to into stiff competition for consumer dollars, according to the US National Retail Federation.
Sahir Anand, an analyst at the research consultancy Aberdeen Group, says this competitive landscape makes business intelligence critical. It represents the work of turning the massive customer and transaction data warehouses into useful guidance on everything from how to attract and deliver a great customer experience to what merchandise to stock and in what balance.