OPERATIONS

Study: Collaboration between CIO and other c-suite execs crucial to success

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York — Strong partnerships between the top information officer and others on the leadership team are crucial to success. According to a study by PwC US, companies with strong, collaborative relationships between the CIO and other C-suite executives are four times as likely to be top performing companies as those with fragmented relationships.

PwC’s fifth annual Digital IQ survey found that a strong “Digital IQ” — defined as a measure of how well companies understand the value of technology and weave it into the fabric of their organization — entails more than adopting the latest tools or having a large IT budget. It is about consistently linking IT investments to business strategy to improve speed, agility and competitive advantage. It is about integrating ‘digital conversations’ into every aspect of the business.

Digital IQ is about the CIO orchestrating rather than owning conversations,” said Chris Curran, a PwC principal and chief technologist for the US firm’s advisory practice. “Social media, mobile channels and data analytics, along with the cloud, are making new business and operating models possible. Because enterprise responsibility lives across the C-suite for these issues, collaborative digital conversations are critical to bring it all together and evaluate and adopt these technologies.”

The survey findings show companies with strong, collaborative C-suite relationships act differently and think together from strategy through execution.

Among their traits, they:

  • Have a single multi-year roadmap for the business strategy, and an explicit process to link the business strategy to the IT roadmap;
  • Are more aggressive in IT capital spending to support strategic corporate initiatives, such as new geographic markets, new product and service development, M&A, joint ventures and strategic alliances;
  • Have more aggressive investment in emerging technologies including: mobile, social, big data and cloud;
  • More likely have everything on a mobile platform;
  • Are more aggressive in leveraging mobile and social technologies for employees and customers;
  • Often have more explicit approaches to organize, manage — and measure — innovation; and
  • Recognize differences in IT needs, e.g. among different generations of employees.
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Amazon expands on-demand video offerings

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK and SEATTLE— Amazon.comhas expanded its content licensing agreement with CBS Corp. to bring classic series and hit TV shows from CBS Television Distribution and Showtime Networks to Amazon’s Prime Instant Video service, extending the already vast catalog of CBS content available for Prime members to instantly stream, and enjoy at no additional cost.

With this agreement, popular CBS and Showtime series coming to Prime Instant Video for the first time include "America’s Next Top Model," "Everybody Loves Raymond," "Jericho," ‘The L Word," "Undercover Boss" and "United States of Tara," among others.

“CBS was one of our earliest content partners for Prime Instant Video and our Prime customers have consistently told us how much they love having access to great CBS and Showtime shows,” said Brad Beale, director digital video content acquisition for Amazon. “Adding a wider selection of great TV series, while extending our already popular selection of CBS programming, continues to make Prime an even better deal for customers – and we love that.”

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Former Office Depot merch chief to head ops at retail consultancy

BY CSA STAFF

CHICAGO — Hilco Trading has named Farla Efros as EVP and COO of itsSD Retail Consulting unit. The move is part of the company’s strategic efforts to expand the breadth and depth of its senior management team. In her new role, Efros will be responsible for the firm’s merchandising and strategy practice area.

Efros brings extensive expertise in merchandising strategy and category management, having worked globally with many of the world’s leading retailers and consumer packaged goods companies. Most recently, she served as EVP and chief merchandising officer of Office Depot where she was selected by the CEO to transform merchandising operations for 1,170 locations across the United States. Efros worked to define Office Depot’s merchandising vision and clearly articulated its merchandising strategy in moving Office Depot from a product-centric company to a customer-centric one. To that end, she developed category management expertise, strengthened internal cross-functional capabilities and simplified work processes to create a fast, flexible and focused merchandising organization.

“Adding Farla to the leadership team to help expand and grow the SD Retail business is a significant statement about the caliber of talent we plan to offer our clients to help them succeed in today’s rapidly changing retail landscape,” said Antony Karabus, newly-appointed president of the firm. “Recognized as one of the brightest strategic leaders in the retail industry today, Farla’s unique insight and understanding of the challenges our customers face will enable us to deliver the most comprehensive assessment of their business and help them grow.”

Prior to her role as EVP at Office Depot, Efros held the position of SVP performance improvement at a leading international consulting firm, where she was responsible for store operations, merchandising and marketing strategy, organization design, category management and assortment optimization. Previously, she spent 10 years at The Partnering Group, Inc., where she served as partner responsible for the development of the best practices category, and customer management.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to continue developing and operationalizing the principles that will support SD Retail’s leadership and drive business results in the years ahead,” Efros commented. “Our innovative solutions will help retailers create tangible value while improving operating performance and accelerating growth strategies.”

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