By Bob Johns
The CIO has seen their role shift dramatically from an “IT guy” to someone who needs to understand business goals and issues and enable technology to address these needs. At Oracle’s CrossTalk this year, I was able to speak with and listen to several CIOs and CTOs talk about their changing roles in retail.
Retailers are notoriously late adopters of technology, and securing budgets for large IT projects can be nearly impossible. In order to secure these budgets, the solutions must align with the business needs of the company. There are several people within the retail hierarchy the CIO/CTO must become best friends with to both understand the business goals and have on their side when fighting for budgets. These are mainly the CMO, CEO, and LP/AP leaders.
Andrew Black, CIO with Stein Mart, discussed his company’s recent returns management overhaul. “We are partnering directly with LP and operations to identify the business problems, in this case returns fraud,” says Black. By working directly with LP, the CIO and his team were able to identify key issues in the returns process that were costing the company money. Things such as barcoded receipts to prevent copying, developing a complete returns management process to be followed in every case, and building a database of profiles to spot theft vs. legitimate returns were all developed directly with LP. By proving the value of each implementation to the greater cause of reducing theft, while not negatively impacting customer service, the CIO’s projects were able to move forward.
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