How CIOs Transform Companies Into Digital Leaders, by Peter High in CIO Insight Article

April 01, 2015
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Peter High


Excerpt from the Article:

Orvis is an outdoor adventure brand with e-commerce, catalog, retail stores and endorsed fly fishing and hunting lodges all around the world. The brand promise at Orvis is to “inspire a deep connection to adventure and wonder in the outdoor world.” Since 1856 when Orvis opened its doors in Manchester Vt., Orvis has built a brand based on quality gear that is field tested and authentic. Extraordinary customer relationships and personal connections are the foundation of the company’s success, and increasingly technology is an enabler of this.

Dave Finnegan is the company’s CIO and vice president of Technology and Interactive, and he explains in this interview with CIO Insight contributor Peter High that the company’s demographic segment is one of the fastest growing adopters of digital technology right now. As a result, innovation and a technology-enabled organization is one of the core strategies and is essential to the organization’s future success.

CIO Insight: You have been the CIO and head of Interactive for multiple companies, including Orvis. What does Interactive entail, and is this run as a division of IT or a separate function altogether?

Dave Finnegan: Interactive is really all about the guest experience. Our guest experience is the foundation for all of our work in technology. For each strategic initiative in our company, we create “playbacks” that are literally a story and prototype of what we want the guest experience to be in the future. These playbacks are often a blend of customer interactions with our Orvis staff and the right technology that enhances that customer interaction. Playbacks serve three purposes. First, it allows us to craft best-in-class experiences in prototype-story form so everyone is clear what the target experience is of our investments. Second, playbacks allow members of our organization to add ideas, innovate and elevate the experience. And third, it sets a clear vision for what our team is working towards.

The Interactive is not a separate team for us. The “Interactive experience” is embedded in our entire team.

CIO Insight: Why do you feel that the CIO is well equipped to run Interactive?

Finnegan: The vision for getting the most out of technology in the business is often elusive for members of leadership teams. Often they don’t know what is possible and so don’t have a “technology vision.” In my view, the role of this next generation of CIO is helping people to create a technology vision for what is possible. Not in a “that’s cool” kind of way, but in a how does technology help to add the “magic” to the our customer experiences. That makes things easier, faster, less expensive and better for the customer.

To read the remainder of the article, please visit CIO Insight

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