How CIOs can set the IT agenda for Fashion

For innovation-focused CIOs, the winning formula for successful digital transformation initiative must take into account people, processes, and data.  So, what types of technologies should CIOs have on their innovation agenda?

How the CIO / no gated

A focus on technology-led business innovation has put CIOs in the limelight, with their role switching from a support function to a core function. As technology gurus, CIOs are the best placed to inform, shape and lead their organization’s digital efforts. In fact, nearly 70 percent of respondents to Deloitte & Touche’s 2018 global CIO survey believe that the CIO, even more than the CEO, will have one of the most important roles in driving digital initiatives over the next three years. 


Create crucial connections

According to a report by the McKinsey Global Institute, designers and product developers lose 28 hours per week and 1,500 hours a year searching for the right information and attempting to collaborate internally.

Establishing a single information hub that aggregates all product details helps companies deliver innovative products faster using technology that breaks down silos separating product lines, regions, and internal and external stakeholders. This hub ensures a free flow of information between people, accurate data at every touchpoint, greater process visibility and more structured, efficient processes. Fashion companies that use collaborative tools (such as a plm for fashion) achieve greater full-price sell through on more than 80% of their products.(1) 


Replace guesswork with analytics

The cloud is not only effective for connecting people but also data. Data is the fuel that propels companies forward. Data is projected to grow by 800 percent in the next four years. Inability to connect the data dots can result in losses of just under $6 million a year in wasted time, resources, duplication of efforts and missed opportunities. Forty-seven percent of respondents to a Vanson Bourne survey believe that disconnected data prevents their company from innovating, developing new products and getting them to market quickly. The variety of teams responsible for producing a collection, the diversity of data they create in an array of formats housed on different systems compounds this complexity.

In the fashion industry, where the speed of decision-making must keep pace with the quickly changing trends and desires of fashion consumers, the cloud and big data open the door to big understanding. Together, they give keen understanding of the business and boost data-driven decision-making.


Forge stronger links in the value chain

Cloud-connected platforms are an especially effective way to connect people, processes and data. Bringing together the entire value chain via an enterprise-wide platform, companies can replace manual, segregated processes with integrated design, product development and cost management processes. As the number of collections per year increases, the growing volume of fragmented data spread across different systems in different formats makes this even more critical.

Choosing a platform capable of integrating with existing systems can alleviate any “rip and replace” fears that could hinder buy-in from company executives. Equally important is choosing a scalable platform that mirrors the company’s business model and can adapt to its business needs.  For maximum efficiency and buy-in from users, these technologies must be extremely easy to use, have an engaging interface and accessible from anywhere, anytime, on any device. Social technologies are not just useful for engaging consumer interest; internally, they can enhance communication, propel knowledge sharing, and unleash creative forces among users. 


Become a future-ready digital leader

According to a VP Analyst at Gartner, “The biggest leadership challenge in 2020 is for CIOs to shift their mindset from being a technology executive to a general manager of the business. CIOs can build on the strengths that they hone through IT work — managing complexity and change — to partner strategically with their general manager peers to achieve the digital ambitions of the business.


Tomorrow’s leading CIOs will be change agents able to translate technology-led innovation into company and customer value. For more ideas on how CIOs can take up their mandate to innovate, read Digitalization of Fashion: How Can CIOs Set the Trends?


(1) AMR Research and Apparel magazine survey - "The ROI of PLM and Sourcing Technologies in the Retail Apparel Industry"