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Discounter bolsters tech team through ‘acquihiring’

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Data and analytics is more than a business foundation — it is a key differentiator in an increasingly competitive marketplace, according to Target’s senior VP Paritosh Desai.

As a result, Target is making a big push to add top tech talent, from software engineers to data scientists — a move that pushed the chain to “acquihire” tech companies. In this practice, larger companies acquire smaller ones to obtain their technology and, essentially, hire their leadership and teams.

“It’s predominantly talent, technology and the cultural fit that goes with it,” Desai said. “Acquihires allow us to accelerate both onboarding the right kind of talent, onboarding the right kind of technologies and getting to market much faster.”

Through acquihires, Target has secured talent and technology from startups Zettata, Powered Analytics, AKUDA Labs and Kvantum — efforts that have brought in about 25 new team members. Each of these teams are already making an impact, including enabling the chain to serve shoppers through open-source technologies, innovative algorithms, and high-speed computer processing, among other gains, according to the retailer.

The program coincides with Target’s mission to bring more engineers in-house as a means of embarking on projects in a more agile way, and using technology and data science to enhance the retail experience.

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