This guest post originally published here was authored by Gary Shatswell, vice president of information technology, Sur La Table.
A valued resource for home and professional chefs, multichannel cuisine-and-cookware retailer Sur La Table was looking to upgrade its digital commerce technology to meet a market in which physical stores and ecommerce must integrate seamlessly.
To facilitate that, Sur La Table is transitioning from a web of stale technologies to the Oracle Commerce Cloud. It’s a global shift that’s often as complicated as changing your shoelaces while running a race, so a purposeful approach and continuous communication will be key to its success.
It isn’t a matter of whether Sur La Table moves to the cloud, it’s a matter of pacing, sequence and comfort level. Here are several steps the company has taken to approach the change.
- Make an assessment. Understand the IT environment. An internal review and a second, independent assessment agreed that the cost of ownership of a cloud commerce system would be less than to the cost of constantly upgrading the more than 60 applications Sur La Table has been using.
- Sell the vision. Armed with this information, IT was able to point to the ways in which an integrated cloud commerce platform could streamline operations and build business for the future, making the implementation not just a cost, but a business accelerator.
- Align tech and talent. Sur La Table has developed an IT team that’s equal parts creative and task-oriented. Members are encouraged to innovate and share ideas, helping get them invested in the process; they can test new concepts at a designated “play store.”
- Build for the future. By 2018, all Sur La Table offices, stores and distribution centers will be linked in the cloud. Next year, we will tackle a new CRM, ERP and transportation management systems project to help bring in more and more profitable customers from every channel and device.
- Choose the right partner. Ensuring a smooth implementation is by no means simple, so picking the right partner is crucial. The right partner will help work through the most challenging issues toward shared goals.
- Focus and move forward. Be purposeful about managing such a global change; break the task down into steps and follow them. Safeguard, streamline and transform company data and functions as they shift from hosted environments to the cloud.
- Communicate. Sur La Table keeps company leaders informed about the shift and grounds it a variety of backgrounds with an executive IT Council that includes the CFO and vice presidents of digital, human resources, store operations, and supply chain.
- Keep communicating. Communicate the benefits of a cloud solution candidly and continuously to convince stakeholders at every level that a move to the cloud is the right thing to do. Transparency is key — when people understand what’s ahead, it drives acceptance, enthusiasm and adoption.
Tech people often forget to explain the “why” behind a shift like this, and the ‘why’ is critical to getting buy-in (and a longer leash). Sell the vision of IT as a business accelerator, focus communications and be purposeful every step of the way.
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