After covering the CIO Retail Summit last week in Scottsdale, during which I met many of the approximately 70 retailer IT executives, technology professionals and vendors attending, I came away with several impressions.
- To quote Jim Crawford, executive director, Global Retail Executive Council, “Technology is no longer a silo.” It permeates all parts of a business. The conference and speakers at this event, while led primarily by the IT sector, showed this clearly.
- For another, businesses are changing, evolving, and trying to keep abreast of the newest developments but it’s consumers that are leading the way. They are pulling IT, and just about everything else.
- Businesses trying to keep up will be delayed – or worse – if there isn’t a commitment and passion at the very top to adapt to changes and to motivate employees to bring in whatever technological solutions are required – and bring them in quickly if they are to stay ahead of the competition.
- Companies must be flexible, adaptable, and open to spending, if they want to reach their goal.
- They must have a solid strategy.
- Mobile is top of mind for many, if not most, company managements.
- analytics are of ultra importance.
While these considerations stem from the CIO Retail Summit, most of them seem to be adaptable to pretty much any business today.
Finally, I know that our editor-in-chief Adrian Cotterill recommended several of his clients to attend this conference and, further, that we advertised the event heavily on our site. However, not one digital signage. mobile or social media business that we know attended. For sure, it was an expensive event, but for those of you in our industry who think they are either experts in retail or serious about it as a business opportunity, you (a) missed a networking treat (so many retail CIOs that networking would have been like shooting fish in a barrel) and (b) there was so much offered to learn from.
Having attended the event and written about the event during and after, I can safely say that I can see why people parted with USD 4,000+ to attend. It was definitely a worthwhile event – plus a nice way to spend a couple of days in Arizona.