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Target Seeks New CIO
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WKash
WKash,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/5/2014 | 4:22:07 PM
CIO or Chief Customer Officer?
By most every measure, Target CIO Beth Jacob has had an impressive career.  If anyone understood Target's business and its customers, she did. And her advancement through the organization suggests she understood how to manage big issues in a fast moving environment, which is what retailers must do every week. 

Whether she was up to the task of managing Target's Technology Services, or simply had to take the sword in what is proving to be a very costly hacking, only Target's insiders will know. 

Her departure raises two questions.  Are enterprises better served when a business (customer) champion is in charge of IT, so long as the IT team has the requisite talent, versus someone who came up through the tech ranks?  (My sense is, with the right management skills, the answer is sure, why not?)  The other question is, what are other CEOs across the nation doing to elevate IT security in their firms in the aftermath of the Target breach?

Target's CEO Gregg Steihafel certainly found out the hard way how costly it can be not being prepared for today's rapidly evolving cyber threats.

 
 Bup to eth Jacob is by all accounts a very impressive woman. She has a bachelor's degree in retail merchandising and an MBA, and has risen steadily at a major retailer to become Executive Vice President and CIO at a young age. Sounds like a perfect job, right? Except when you consider that the company where she's spent most of her career just experienced a breach of 40 million credit and debit cards during the holiday season. - See more at: http://www.enterprisingcio.com/368/will-cio-become-target#sthash.kGOX0ORO.dpuf
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Ninja
3/5/2014 | 4:32:10 PM
Re: CIO or Chief Customer Officer?
Target doesn't mention any specific technical credentials in her bio. I wonder whether anyone can be a truly effective CIO these days without also having the CTO skillset.
WKash
WKash,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/5/2014 | 5:01:55 PM
Re: CIO or Chief Customer Officer?
Tom, I concede you're probably right.  The task of managing IT is so complex, being a good executive may no longer be enough.
Michael Endler
Michael Endler,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/5/2014 | 5:07:43 PM
Re: CIO or Chief Customer Officer?
I think that's the case. Silicon Valley vendors are fond of saying that every company in the world will soon be a technology company. It's a good sales slogan when you're the one selling tech products and services-- but for any company the size of Target, it's also true.
WKash
WKash,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/5/2014 | 5:19:03 PM
Re: CIO or Chief Customer Officer?
Michael,  you make a good point here.  When you see what Amazon has done to retailing, even companies like Target have no choice but to morph into world class tech operations.
Charlie Babcock
Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Ninja
3/5/2014 | 6:22:53 PM
Target seeks Beth Jacob replacement
Very hard to apportion blame from the outside. I'd be curous what an objective security expert, if there is such a thing, would say. The shops of some of the best people are broken into. But this decision to replace her will be noted by every CIO in the country and security will be tightened in many places,
Li Tan
Li Tan,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/6/2014 | 12:45:41 AM
Re: Target seeks Beth Jacob replacement
From this perspective, CIO is becoming a kind of job with higher and higher risk. You need to not only make the decision for IT infrastructure, but also take care of the operation and prevent any kind of security breach. If an accident happened, unfortunately you may risk your career.:-(
Alison_Diana
Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Moderator
3/6/2014 | 10:24:51 AM
Re: CIO or Chief Customer Officer?
I am surprised a company as large as Target did not have a chief security officer. A CIO doesn't need to have hands-on experience with technology; they should know how an organization can use technology to differentiate the business. But a CSO or CISO must be well-versed in security technologies and understand how various solutions can safeguard employees, customers, and partners without impacting the experience.
Alison_Diana
Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Moderator
3/6/2014 | 10:28:43 AM
Re: Target seeks Beth Jacob replacement
If she fought for better security and was shot down, then it seems unfair. If security was low on her radar, then she was part of the problem that allowed hackers to break into the company and damage its sales and image. As a CIO, you play a bigger and bigger role in a company's image these days. Tech is a large part (both before and behind the scenes). Think websites, etail, apps, and partnerships with third-party apps like Shopkick, and it's clear how important tech is to actual transactions plus marketing and engagement. That's one reason CIOs must push hard for smart security spending. Even if boards don't agree, at least CIOs are on record if the unimaginable happens. 
Ariella
Ariella,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/6/2014 | 3:11:21 PM
Re: CIO or Chief Customer Officer?
@Alison that's an excellent point. Who has a greater need than a huge retailer with both physcial stores and an online presence?
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