Target turns to off-the-shelf tech to open stores in Canada

Retailer's international expansion makes IT customization a lower priority.

Target CIO Beth Jacob took the job in 2008 after working for the retailer for many years, primarily in operations. To help the company further its expansion into urban centers, mobile commerce and, next year, into Canada, Jacob is focusing on off-the-shelf technologies as opposed to the customized systems she has typically deployed, she explains in an interview with Jim Nash at CIO Insight.

Target runs a custom IT shop, but to rollout on a tight schedule in Canada, package technology is needed, she said. The business process architecture in the Canadian operations will be more off-the-shelf than the company typically implements, and standardized methods will be key.

The pace of change for the Target Technology Services team has increased significantly in the past year, Jacob said. The team must be prepared to bring new offerings to both customers and staff sometimes in as little as a few days. During the last holiday shopping season, for example, they spent just a few days to come up with a mobile-coupon offering linked to the store's toy catalog.

To meet the planned schedule for opening stores in Canada, Jacob said she is looking for software that can be deployed with little or no customization at the beginning, but over time, programs will be customized in areas where Target seeks differentiation.

For more:
- see Jim Nash's article at CIO Insight

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