In Minnesota, the Star Tribune has an interview with retiring Target CIO Mike McNamara, who makes the point that one of the most important things that has happened in his six years with the company has been the move away from outsourcing its technology needs.
"If you believe that technology is really important, then you don't give it to someone else to do," he says. "If you think it's a strategic priority for the business, then you are going to do it yourself. That's driven a lot of what we have done over the last few years. We had to build a team internally and had to replace all of the outsource operations that we had, and then we had to really, really focus on creating just a great technology platform for Target's future."
McNamara tells the paper that "Target's technology team of more than 4,500 employees is on stable footing. Less than 7% of work is now outsourced, compared with 70% before he took the helm."
- KC's View:
To be fair, Target has the resources to make that shift. Many retailers do not.
But there also is something attitudinal here - an understanding that as much as possible, a retailer needs to own the customer experience (in-store and online), defining and differentiating it whenever and however possible. It is about thinking strategically, not just tactically.
And, it means not depending on an outside vendor to execute an increasingly important part of the business model, lest one lose that business to an increasingly rapacious vendor.