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HARRY’S COMMENTS: We are working with a confidential client in their search for a CIO based in the good ole Midwest USA …
Your new home is somewhere on this map, where $450K will get you this exact 3100 sqft, 4 br / 3 bath house on 17 acres of land. Can you imagine? Apply, and I’ll send you the listing.
I’ll just say right up front, if you are a well respected, solidly paid ($175K+ all in) “marketing-oriented retail technologist” who seeks to make the leap to “technology-oriented retail marketer,” then by all means keep reading. If you’re ready to add massive transformational value to a business, then this job is for you.
I know what you’re thinking.
“Wait, what? Did the recruiter just say that I shouldn’t apply unless I currently W-2 north of $175K? I’ve never seen that in a job posting. Who does that?”
Answer: An established ecommerce and CMO recruiter who doesn’t want to fool around with candidates who aren’t currently department heads and pillars of leadership in their company.
You know it’s true …
Title and compensation are usually lagging indicators that someone has earned a leadership position in their firm. Not always, but more often than not.
For my purposes here, the only exceptions to this would be if you lead IT for a high-end multichannel specialty retailer with 4+ stores and $35+ million in sales, or if you run technology for a DTC fashion start up in which you have equity in the business. That’s it.
Either way, I’m not looking for a rising star. Not this time. I’m looking to rip out a load-bearing wall in some poor specialty retail CEO’s inner circle, and I hope all hell breaks loose when I do. Because that’s how I’ll know I’ve found the right candidate.
Specifically, I’m looking for a business-oriented retail, omnichannel, or DTC ecommerce leader who’s currently a …
- Director of Information Technology
- Senior Director of Information Technology
- Chief Information Officer
- VP of Technology
- Chief Technology Officer
- VP of Information Technology, or
- Head of Information Technology
About my Client
One of my most successful searches EVER was with today’s client, and I have a ton of respect and admiration for the entrepreneur who founded and still runs the firm. This high-end, branded specialty retailer has been in the same business for several decades, and its repeat order rates are a monument to the trust and emotional bond it has earned from its fans.
Take a few minutes to skim through this outstanding article by direct marketing legend, Donald Libey, and know that my client is getting nearly all twenty of Libey’s performance and profit pillars exactly right. But that’s not to say that there’s not room for improvement. The world’s changing.
That’s where YOU come in.
This vertically-integrated client is “omnichannel” in every sense of the word, going to market through retail stores, a successful print catalog, an ecommerce site, a call center, and third party markets. As the firm’s new CIO, your job is to integrate those channels on the back end so that the customer experience on the front end is as good as it gets.
Meaning, they’ll look to you to evolve its technology footprint to a mobile, cloud, and digital-first organization embarking on new retail, ecommerce and omnichannel initiatives to create a seamless digital customer experience.
To win in this role, you must be an established, visionary leader with proven skills to manage gnarley complexity while leading a tech team that impacts all aspects of the business. Your team must see customers as the source of all good, not evil (as can sometimes be the case with technologists who fail to see technology as a “means to an end” — customer intimacy).
As the firm’s new CIO, you’ll be responsible for setting the strategic direction for end-to-end technology infrastructure, driving execution, and building a culture of excellence to ensure that the company continually delights its customers and makes money.
(I realize that sounds a bit airy-fairy.)
However, if you’ve done this job before, then you already possess a deep knowledge of 1.) the retail industry, 2.) the nearly-impossible-to-meet customer expectations of a high-end omnichannel merchant, and 3.) how to tech-enable dynamic content across internal and external channels.
Things you’ll see in the client’s tech stack include Omniture SiteCatalyst, CommerceWare, Salesforce, Rapleaf, LiveRamp, Bazaarvoice, Adobe Marketing Cloud, Baynote, Google Analytics, and SLI Systems. Frameworks include J2EE, Angular, and ASP.NET. Programming Languages include Cloudinary, AJAX Libraries API, Facebook CDN, GStatic (Google Static Content), StackPath, BootstrapCDN, jsDelivr, CloudFront, Akamai, and Brightcove.
In the next 36 months, you might find yourself reviewing any of the following technology investment areas …
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
- Customer Care / Customer Experience (VoC)
- Data Mining / Warehousing
- Ecommerce Platform
- ERP (currently AS/400)
- Email Marketing
- Internet Security
- Logistics / Supply Chain
- Loyalty and Promotion Management
- Mobile Commerce
- Online Catalog Management
- Order Management Systems
- Payment and Fraud Management
- Planning / Forecasting
- Rich Media
- Site Search
- Web Analytics
- Web Design / User Experience
- Website Performance and Monitoring
It’s a lot to say grace over. I’m sure you get that. Be ready.
As the CEO’s right hand, you’ll be an internal advisor on a wide variety of issues, and you’ll find yourself partnering with key leaders across the organization who typically know what they want to accomplish but don’t know what they need techwise to make that happen.
Be ready to hold some hands.
All this makes the current team sound like tech novices — which they aren’t. It’s just that even a strategic mainstay like SEO is changing at a rate faster than the team can metabolize. To say nothing of the changes in web marketing as a whole.
It’s one thing to know how one’s slam dunk customer buys and devise a plan to seize that market opportunity. It’s another thing entirely to make sure that the firm’s tech stack can bring the strategy to life.
In this role, you’ll drive the innovation and delivery of the client’s customer engagement systems while leading the design and development of applications throughout the firm. So there’s that. But you’ll also be responsible for teasing out a strategy for helping the firm capture and leverage customer data.
Since you’ve made it this far in the posting, I’ll assume you have sincere interest in this role. So do this …
Take 45 mins and listen to this podcast between Kara Swisher and StitchFix CEO, Katrina Lake, who says “In 10 years, every ‘relevant’ company will be a tech company.”
Did you know that 100% of StitchFix’s $1.5 billion in sales comes through recommendations to its 3 million customers? That’s stunning. The company eschews personas because “it’s in the personalization business.”
It takes the STRATEGIC selection and use of technology to make that happen.
As my client’s CIO, you’ll need to know something about the way people shop these days. The CEO wants a seamless customer experience across her stores, catalog, ecommerce site, mobile site, call center, and third-party markets.
On Day 1 you’ll need to know how to integrate retail POS systems into the client’s main operating system, from online all the way to the call center. To hear the CEO tell it, …
“Customer profiles should be available across all customer touch points, and if customers buy something in one channel, they should be able to return it or exchange it in another without any trouble. We don’t want to spend 30 minutes tracking where an order came from.”
“Additionally, our inventory should reflect drawdowns from online, the call center, retail stores, and so forth. It’s all about enabling a world class customer experience. The company is not in the Stone Age from a technology standpoint, but the team is not taking full advantage of the firm’s technology stack.”
You won’t believe how much we know about this search …
Last week I spent FOUR HOURS on the phone with this client’s CEO teasing out exactly what you’ll need to KNOW and DO to hit the ground running in this role. Some of the things I can share with highly qualified candidates include …
- The “real” background requirements for this position, along with the top five things all resumes MUST have to be considered for the role.
- The top five problems that exist due to this position being open. These are the little brush fires you will be expected to put out during your first month on the job. Every job has these — and this one’s no different.
- What your average day / week will look like in this role. There’s what you read in the standard job posting … then there’s reality. We’ve got the reality.
- The leading and lagging KPI’s that will determine your success in this role. In a nutshell: How you keep score as the firm’s new CIO.
- The major projects you’ll need to complete by Day 100 to be considered a home-run in this position. We’ve got the lowdown on how you can plug-and-play and drive REAL value in this job.
I have a massive amount of proprietary intel to share with qualified candidates. My industry research for this assignment exceeds 100 pages! Be sure to TEXT Harry Joiner at (404) 281-2025 for this info. Or simply use the email link when you apply for the role below.
- In collaboration with business unit management, assess feasibility, determine cost/benefits, prioritize projects, and develop and implement systems plans that address the information requirements of the business and adhere to established strategic business and systems objectives.
- Provide high level management, coaching and mentoring to create an environment which encourages accountability and strong staff development; manage the hiring, training, motivating, and retaining of top talent.
- Drive projects to successful completion by delivering on promised scope / functionality, resolving issues and conflicts with business / IT / Vendor partners, hitting deadlines with quality deliverables.
- Own the performance of the operations support function within functional areas.
- Drives compliance and security considerations throughout the organization.
- Attract and develop the talent needed for current and future business requirements.
- Articulate an inspiring tech vision for the future while establishing high performance expectations and setting a clear example through own behavior.
- Build trust by including others and by keeping the cross-functional teams focused on the success of the entire company.
- Maintain a deep knowledge of industry trends, advancements and new capabilities.
- Encourage a data-driven culture to improve the efficiency, scalability, stability, and security of applications and in-house systems to help scale the company.
- Proven experience as a change-driving, business focused CTO/CIO/etc with deep experience managing thorny business and technology issues in a complex retail / etail / DTC company.
- Ability to provide a vision and technology strategy for a DTC business, ensuring projects are prioritized and implemented in accordance with the client’s overall plan.
- Deep technical competence and a comprehensive understanding of multiple technologies.
- Passionate with the ability to read people and drive organizational change.
- Proven expertise and deep technical understanding about modern software development practices, product/engineering development model and understand cloud-native software.
- Extensive knowledge of agile methodologies with a firm grasp of end-to-end omnichannel technology and business processes.
- Significant, current experience in retail industry and related systems is REQUIRED
- Strong working knowledge and experience with omni-channel retail platforms including eCommerce, Order
- Detail oriented with strong problem-solving skills.
- Proven ability to transform strategic plans into high level IT initiatives; providing a vision for how technology can enable current and future business opportunities; managing and driving the corporate governance process.
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
- Strong analytical, problem-solving, negotiation and conceptual skills.