RIS News, a CGT sister brand, has bestowed its annual CIO of the Year Awards, and this year’s winners are being honored in part for using tech to effect meaningful change during the pandemic.
Now in its 10th year, the awards are given to retail CIOs who have demonstrated an innovative use of technology that has moved their retail organization forward. The 2021 winning duo include Vera Bradley Inc. CIO Adam Fox and Ulta Beauty CIO Elliott Rodgers.
Fox was honored not only for his 21 years at Vera Bradley, but also his recent work spearheading the retailer’s digital transformation. He and his team also moved quickly to implement a serious of capabilities in retail stores in response to pandemic-related shopper behavior changes.
Working with Zebra, Vera Bradley launched the ability to schedule private appointments with customers, line management tools, and more. Customers could schedule a time to shop safely and privately in the store of their choice, easing their anxieties.
“It speaks to amazing teamwork that we actually went live on time, on budget, on scope, amidst the whole list of craziness that went on in 2020,” Fox tells RIS.
Rodgers is honored for his work in deploying an enterprise-wide, integrated operations planning platform. Ulta partnered with WorkJam in 2019 to modernize its workforce management capabilities while aligning with its operational, financial and executional goals for greater harmony between business and technology.
In addition to enhancing productivity and employee engagement, the initiative under Rodgers leadership boosted compliance and bidirectional communication to Ulta’s front-line associates. A Digital Workplace was established to provide front-line workers with such resources as mobile scheduling, shift management, communication, training and other collaboration tools to complete their jobs more efficiently and effectively.
“We have amazing associates who are really passionate about what they do, and who have been incredibly resilient throughout a very unprecedented year,” he says. “These are the people who continue to successfully differentiate Ulta Beauty — and their passion plus technology make me excited about the future.”