The shifting sands of retail make aligning IT with business goals particularly tricky, Herman Nell, vice president and CIO for Petco Animal Supplies, told attendees of the recent RIS Retail Executive Summit. The pet-supplies company operates 1,000 stores in all 50 states.
He said of creating business agility:
[It's not] how good you are at executing at any one time, but how good you are at maintaining the customer experience under continuously changing demands. It's not even as simple as managing multiple channels, but multiple changing touchpoints. It's not only about aligning with the business, but about building capacity to keep up with continuously changing business opportunities.
As a result, Petco decided to rethink a lot about IT, according to RIS News. That has meant its IT staff has been reduced from about 150 people two years ago to 40 to 50 today, though the article says it's using about the same amount of vendor services. It quotes Nell saying Petco was able to "retain more people than we let go," and employed retraining in multiple ways, though it doesn't clarify the numbers any further.
Among the changes the pet-supplies company has made:
We've heard a lot lately that the future of IT, particularly with cloud services, will be less about maintaining legacy hardware and more about helping business units find solutions to their specific issues. Said Nell about focusing on the company's core competency:
We believe our core competency lies in understanding the business and helping find solutions, and bringing innovation to bear on our problems.