by Divina Paredes

CIO100 2017 #31-100: Grant Taylor, Citta Design

Mar 29, 2017
Big DataCareersCloud Computing

“We have moved to a total SaaS model. Our costs are kept in check by how much resource and services we consume. This user pays model means we can accurately account for costs in each business case and initiative as they are required. We don’t consume more than we need,” is how Grant Taylor describes the biggest business transformation programme at Citta.

Taylor, director and chief operating officer at the retail and design firm, led the company’s move towards cloud services, outsourcing most of their infrastructure, application and support.

“My IT team now spends more time adding value to the business and not working on keeping the lights on,” says Taylor, who was a CIO at retailer Kathmandu and Southern District Health Board prior to Citta.

“IT is not seen as a constraint to the business and subject matter leads in the business come up with their own needs and we prioritise these through a steering committee.”

Taylor leads a compact IT team of two. He makes sure they undergo regular training in their respective areas of expertise, and have mentors from the executive team.

Cloud-based business

Taylor says Citta’s large scale shift to the cloud started in early 2016.

Citta underwent an extensive programme of systems transformation that moved everything we do into Microsoft cloud-based technologies. In July that year, as part of Microsoft’s Technology Adoption Programmes, Citta became the first retailer globally to go live end to end on AX7, Microsoft’s cloud-based ERP.

The transition included POS, finance, trade and logistics, inventory management, procurement, integration and reporting.

“Today everything we do is in the cloud,” he says. Systems other than AX on managed platform include Dynamics CRM, Office 365, SharePoint and Power BI.

“We have developed a stocktake solution to improve in store stock accuracy,” he adds. “We have rolled out wifi and also operate mobile POS in our showroom. This frees up our staff to place orders with customers as they continue to sell.”

He says the IT team, meanwhile, creates reports and alerts that have saved time across the board to teams and departments.“This time has been reinvested in improving the quality of our products and projects to improve the customer experience.”

He says all the projects came in on time and within budget, but the big benefit has been improved functionality and simpler processes.

“We have been able to leverage the out of the box features in the Microsoft stack to improve how our business operates as well as have a platform for the future we can build on and make our own.”

“The ease of access of information, automation and transparency of data has had an effect on how we act as a business as we are now moving towards gaining insights from information rather than creating and maintaining that information.”

“We are able to react immediately and in real-time if required.”

Divina Paredes