CIO View: Balancing Continuity and Innovation at Saks

CIOs walk a tightrope of continuity and innovation, especially in a fast-paced space such as retail. At NRF 2022: Retail’s Big Show, Saks CIO Mike Hite shared how he navigates this balancing act in a fireside chat with Joe Wilson, Workday’s CTO of North America.

If there’s one constant in retail, it’s nonstop change. From shifting consumer expectations to the endless need to innovate and adapt to disruption, retail leaders have a delicate balancing act to perform. At NRF 2022: Retail’s Big Show, Mike Hite, CIO at Saks, a client of Workday, joined Joe Wilson, Workday CTO, North America, for a prerecorded fireside chat called “Modern Approach to Retail,” where Hite shared practical insights for CIOs. Here are a few of the key takeaways from this session. 

  • CIOs have to walk a tightrope of continuity of innovation—“keeping the lights on” in a 24/7 e-commerce environment while driving innovation.   

  • Cloud-native systems enable CIOs to shift their focus away from replicating systems and creating backups, toward feeding rich data into their systems and getting the most out of that data. 

  • Movements such as the “Great Resignation” are driving companies to reevaluate their sense of purpose and mission, and create safe spaces where their employees can try new things and push the boundaries of innovation. 

  • As he looks to the future, Hite is focusing on cybersecurity, such as the security risks of a distributed workforce. 

  • Hite’s advice to CIOs? Don’t be precious about anything, embrace change, be open to occasionally “skinning your knees” (learning from mistakes), and never stop learning. 

For more, watch the replay of the entire session below.

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