Leading CIOs, CDOs and CTOs in retail

Retail has been transformed by technology like few other sectors. The birth of Amazon and eBay in the late-20 th century triggered a rise in ecommerce that made online shopping the norm, while emerging technologies such as algorithmic pricing and virtual changing rooms continue to disrupt the sector.

CIO UK looks at some of the top IT leaders in retail changing the way that we shop.

Read next: Top UK Government CIOs, CTOs, CDOs and other IT leaders in Whitehall

Harvey Nichols Group Technology and Innovation Director Fatima Zada is putting innovation at the heart of the 186-year-old department store.

Zada has implemented mobile and fixed point of sale including contactless and Apple Pay functionality, allowed brands to upload their products directly to the website and introduced the first digital loyalty card in the luxury market.

The computer science graduate swapped one upmarket brand for another when she joined Harvey Nichols in 2015 after eight years at fashion label Burberry. Prior to that, she spent two years as an SAP Business Analyst at French Connection.

Trainline CTO Mark Holt wants to roll out new products at the speed of a bullet train. The Chief Technology Officer and his colleagues “obsess about time to market”, ensuring the development teams are in continuous delivery.

This approach allows them to quickly bring new functionality to market and run more test-and-learn cycles to improve their product. The result has been innovations including a “true e-ticket” using barcode tickets in the Apple Wallet, and BusyBot, which crowdsources busyness information to help customers find a seat on crowded trains.

Holt is now in his fourth year at Trainline and has been a member of the last three editions of the CIO 100. Before joining Trainline, he was Head of Technology and Product at Trayport. He holds an MBA from London Business School and a Bachelor;s in Computer Science from KCL.

Outgoing John Lewis Partnership CIO Paul Coby has been helping customers of John Lewis and Waitrose have a seamless retail experience whether they’re shopping in-store or online.

Stepping down from the popular retail mutual in Spring 2018, Coby has been helping turn the outlets into technology-advanced omni-experience stores, rolling out tools such as a handset with trend-setting “quick check” technology for customers, and updating back-office systems to keep them top-of-the-range.

Coby helps ensure John Lewis keeps innovating through JLab, the company’s technology incubator he set up. JLab provides funding and mentoring to startups to help them develop new products for shoppers.

Morrisons Chief Technology Director Anna Barsby is leading a massive improvement programme at the company driven by consumer desires. In November 2017, Morrisons announced that it had become the first of the big four supermarkets to integrate its grocery shopping with Amazon Alexa.

Barsby joined Morrisons in August 2016, after three years as CIO of Halfords. Barsby took the company from a physical server into the cloud to improve performance during peak retail periods, which helped her claim the top spot in the CIO 100 in 2015.

Prior to joining Halfords, Barsby had stints in IT roles at Tui Travel, Whitbread, Three One Consultancy and the FSA. She has a BA from the University of Warwick and an MBA from its business school.

Belron International Chief Information and Digital Officer Nick Burton leads the IT and digital function across the 34 countries in which the vehicle glass repair and replacement group operates.

To ensure that Belron continues to lead the market, the company runs a 10-week startup accelerator called Drive with Belron. Among the startups to secure investment in 2017 was Thrivemap, which uses data analytics to assess the cultural fit of job applicants, and Locpin, which produces an online tool that defines a precise location.

Burton was appointed to his present role in December 2015, after three years as the company’s CIO. He’s spent almost 14 years at Belron in total across a variety of roles. Prior to joining the company, he was CTO of Glaspus, and before that a systems manager at Proctor & Gamble.

Domino’s Pizza Group CIO Colin Rees has seen technology transform the customer experience at the restaurant chain through technology in his seven years at the company.

ecommerce sales have grown to more than 70 percent of the total, while mobile sales represent more than 50% of all digital revenue. Most of the telephones have now gone, freeing up space in the stores, but more importantly, staff time to concentrate on making and delivering pizzas.

His team is also testing new ways in which tech can support the franchise and its customers. These range from using GPS to support delivery drivers, to creating a video that provides a digital vision of how the stores might look and operate in five years’ time.

Marshall Motor Group Head of IT Derek Risk harnesses technology to support customers across more than 100 car dealerships, as well as on web and B2B channels.

He helped the company fully move from a paper-based sales enquiry process to tablet-based solution across its dealerships and from a web platform that was unwieldy on mobile to a fully mobile-responsive alternative.

Risk joined the motor group in 2014, after four years as IT Director at Tragus Group, where he was responsible for the business systems at restaurants including Cafe Rouge, Bella Italia and Strada.


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