- Cheryl Murphy, Sears, Roebuck and Co's new vice president of IT operations and engineering, says the department's primary primary concerns under her leadership will be simplifying the IT environment and focusing on customers.
Murphy, named to the newly-created post last week, will be in charge of traditional IT operations as well as application operations, performance and incident management. In addition, she will be responsible for managing the company's hardware and software assets and will be in charge of risk management and disaster recovery.
"Our main focus is on simplification of the environment and customer focus," she says. "Simplification will drive productivity into the environment."
Murphy also says the company is committed to operational excellence and continuous improvement. "Everything is either customer-driven or productivity-driven," she says.
Another key initiative involves centralising the company's relationships with key hardware and software vendors -- not from a procurement standpoint but from the standpoint of setting IT strategy and direction. Murphy says the retailer is still in the process of deciding which vendors to select.
According to Murphy, Sears is moving away from having an IT staff dedicated to individual business units such as human resources or the credit department, with each using its own hardware and software. The company now wants to centralise the IT staff in order to simplify the IT infrastructure and reduce the number of applications that are running.
"We're pulling the IT staffs together to get operational excellence and to drive that into the company," she says. "We want to find one way of doing things."
Murphy says those moves will save money and ultimately allow Sears to better serve its customers.
The IT department is also focused on a technical infrastructure performance improvement program that encompasses things like data center consolidation for midrange computers that currently reside in multiple locations, she says.
"We're going to bring them back into a more centralised environment where we'll have two sites that will back each other up. We're also going to drive standardisation into the environment for things like the computer sitting on your desktop -- standardising the architecture and standardising the technology across the company."