In a keynote session at the eTail East conference in Philadelphia, Tripp Sessions, the former chief information officer at Benchmark Brands, the parent company of FootSmart, a cross-channel retailer of shoes, socks and foot care products, laid out his tips on how companies can seamlessly and effectively roll out a new technology implementation. Sessions was recruited to lead the turnaround of the information technology and e-commerce operations teams at Benchmark Brands. Here's a recap of Sessions' tips:
1. Don't do stupid stuff. Sessions rattled off several examples of "stupid" behavior, some of which he admitted to doing himself, including the following: picking the wrong time to fail; not building coalitions within your company; forgetting to budget for travel and expenses; forgetting to budget for taxes; selling past the close; thinking bad news gets better with age; not asking for enough money at the start of the project; being too aggressive; forgetting when money is capital expenditure (CAPEX) vs. operational expenditure (OPEX); and surprising people, most importantly your boss.
2. Know when to hold 'em, and when to fold 'em. Citing the lyrics from the classic Kenny Rogers song The Gambler, Sessions advised the audience to use every resource at their disposal, including their boss, to try and make a project work. If you've exhausted all your options and its not working, however, it's better to give up and move on to the next project then continuing to fail.
3. Start from the very beginning. When embarking a technology implementation, you need to know what you're doing before you start doing it, Sessions said. This includes identifying how much money you'll need, a potential timeline for completion of the implementation and how many in-house resources (i.e., staff) you'll need to be working on the project.
4. Just say no ... with data backing up your decisions. It's OK to be the voice of dissent, but you need to have reasons for that dissent. It can't just be a gut feeling that something will or won't work, Sessions said.