CIO Retail Executive Think Tank

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

The CIO Retail Summit being held at The Phoenician in Scottsdale, Arizona, got off to a great start Sunday night with about 25 of the overall 70-plus delegates trading ideas of what concerned them, what problems they were encountering, what solutions worked for some, and what they were interested in learning over the next two days of conferences.

Rapt attention by the CIOs

Early talk was of data and data management, which moved on to the need for return on investment, innovation, technical tools, what vendors can offer, mobile and social integration and more.

Among the interesting questions we heard were:

  • In dealing with data, what do you do with users of Excel who don’t want to change to a new technology?
  • How do you integrate unstructured data?
  • Is innovation coming at the level of tools?
  • Rather than vendors saying “How can I help you?”, why don’t they say “This is how I can help you.”
  • Is there innovation at the vendor level?
  • How do you track your product from order to consumer?
  • If you empower employees by providing them with a mobile device, how do you know if they’re using them correctly?
  • From where is mobile being driven?

Dealing with problems

And we heard such comments as: “Of 200 million Tweets, 20% were from people directly interested in information regarding buying your product”; and “You have to make it simple for customers to buy what they want, when they want it, and how they want it.”

One company representative said that his company had a channel directly handling only mobile.

Another mentioned supplying 40,000 of its employees with iPhones for business use in its stores.

The think tank concluded in a networking reception. It promises to be an interesting conference and a great learning experience for delegates.
Stay tuned!

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