Harrodsis a famous department store located in Knightsbridge, central London. Harrods has a selling space that covers 330 departments and around one million square feet. At its peak days the store attracts around 300,000 customers. Harrods has around 5000 members of staff and had a pre-tax profit of around £56.2 million in 2011. Harrods is part of the Harrods group which includes Air Harrods, which offers VIP helicopter services, estate agency Harrods Estates and Harrods bank. Harrods also has its own in-house publication, which is available on a selection of mobile devices and apps. Previously owned by Mohamed Al-Fayad, he recently sold the store in 2011 to Qatar holdings for £1.5 billion. Current IT director of Harrods, Claire Hamon, previously worked as Interim head of end-user computing at Centrica and CIO at building services firm ROK. Harrods has previously implemented Microsoft SharePoint 2010 collaboration platform to help improve communication between its full and part time staff. The Harrods IT department has the task of maintaining the functioning of Harrods International, the section of the business which distributes Harrods products brought online. In addition the department is responsible for the web applications, SAP readers and telephone call centre department. IT leader:Claire Hamon, IT Director. In role since:June 2012. Reporting line:CFO. How often does the CIO meet with the CEO:Formal weekly executive board meetings and ad-hoc conversations regularly, typically most days. Very open access. Board level seat:Yes. IT budget:£9.8 million Opex, £4.1 million Capex, FY 2011/2012 = £8.5 million of £585 million = 1.45%. IT estate and or number of log on accounts under the control of the IT leader: Circa 2000/4000 + (including concession staff). IT staff currently employed:115-130. Split between in-house/outsourced staff:95%. IT management team and reporting structure: I am in the process of restructuring the team from a very technical bias to increasing our role as a strategic advisor and manager of change. Direct reports will total seven initially, these are:. Strategy & Planning x 2 (Head of Business Solutions & Head of Governance & Planning); Solution Delivery x 3 (Head of Design, Development & Support; Head of SAP Development & Support; Head of Harrods Direct (.com) Development & Support). I will probably rationalise this to 2 in the next year. Business Readiness x 1; Service Delivery x 1. Primary technology platforms at the organisation: ERP (SAP Retail); Logistics; Finance; Distribution and Merchandise Master Data. POS is currently Retail-J (Torex, to be replaced by Enactor). CRM / DW / SALES Audit / Online. Microsoft Technologies. Primary technology suppliers: SAP, Microsoft, Enactor, Siemens, Vodafone, CISCO, VMWARE, Dell, EMC. Significant strategic technology deals struck in the last 12 months: New POS (Enactor). Extended Warehouse Management system (SAP). Office 365 (Microsoft). Desktop + Server virtualisation (VMWARE). IP telephony (Siemens). SAP and Enactor (for point of sale system). Percentage of your applications/infrastructure run from the Cloud:70% through project for cloud based email solutions. Not sure of percentage but significant estate in on-premise cloud (Virtualisation). Exploration for further cloud usage following exit of our centres for distribution and back office processing. Major technology or transformation project recently completed and how did it transform operations, customer experience or the organisation: We are in the process of completing a major installation of Extended Warehouse Management System in a purpose built distribution centre for pre retail and warehousing for Harrods and Harrods International. This is fully integrated into the existing ERP and incorporates a fully automated mini load facility. Did the above project reach its cost, timing and transformation objective: The project has delivered the core components on time and the original delivery objectives were achieved. We are now shifting the focus to broaden the perspective to cover the transformational aspects of optimisation and process improvement and develop an ethos of continuous improvement. This also includes assuming responsibility for all key IT suppliers in the service chain to expose and simplify the current service and support model, improve disaster recovery, control cost and reduce risks. Business transformation programme – beyond technology – that the CIO owns or is a major contributor to:The business improvement programme in the Distribution Centre is a key programme for my team as it will evidence our capability in helping identify and deliver transformation business change in a key part of our operations. In addition we are leading the analysis phase of a business change programme called ‘Customer Touch’ which is seeking to define and deliver a consistently unique Harrods customer experience. My ambition is to ensure that the IT team are able to provide business wide oversight and support for all aspects of the change programme. My predecessor had a very strong bias towards SAP as a technology which overly skewed the focus of the team to this one technical element of service & support. My transformational role therefore has two dimensions: Internal to the IT team – role is to provide strong and directional leadership to ensure we are able to inform and help realise the business strategy through a very different and more interactive engagement model; and Externally to the IT team within the wider organisation – via the introduction of the new structure with broader strategic thinking in the Strategy & Planning team where my aim (as previously realised with past employers) is to provide the business with effective and forward thinking ‘business solutions’ to business problems, whether or not they are IT enabled. Strategic aim of the CIO and IT operation for the next financial year:Reduce cost and increase the return on investment fin IT enabled business change. To do this I will introduce a high-performance culture through the introduction of IT professionalism, drive enduring improvements in our service and support experience through a pragmatic adaptation of our current models boosted by industry best practice and put in place a strategic approach to the prioritisation and management of change. Strategy in the use by employees of their own technology, use of mobiles and how social networking is impacting operations, customer experiences or the organisation: Many initiatives are under consideration around all of these topics. Formulisation of frameworks for mobility are currently underway. Strategy for dealing with shadow IT and BYOD including influence and engagement with executives, to place the right controls around employee choice:We do not have a plan currently and we definitely need one. Having just spent the last year defining the strategy for Centrica’s End-User Computing I am acutely aware of the need to ensure we understand how to balance the risks from an open strategy with the necessary elements to assure an adequate return on investment. The key will be to align this with our broader thinking around mobility more generally and my aim is to incorporate this into the strategic planning for next year. Technologies being considered to enable transformation:In our case, given the historical bias towards only one of the systems in our portfolio our focus will need to be more on transformational architecture than it is on one specific transformational technology. Given the innovations in recent years we have a number of technology choices available to us today that would allow us to develop our agility to offer unique benefits, costing and servicing models and, most importantly, improve our speed of execution. The investments we have made to date clearly provide us with an excellent base from which to leverage such opportunities (Cloud, Service Oriented Architecture, Connectivity). However to do so well we must now shift our focus onto our enterprise architecture, embracing our role as ‘System’s Integrators’ and develop a clear and enduring delivery strategy in order which truly unlocks this potential. Transformational inspiration sources:I am a great believer in utilising my established CIO network and the contacts I have made in my career over the years. I also read various journals and subscribe to a number of CIO groups.