Target's Cornell on the importance of tech

Target's (NYSE:TGT) senior management has been talking up the importance of technology, and CEO Brian Cornell calls it the backbone of the company's strategy, from stores and supply chain improvements to growing customer loyalty.

"We're making sure we're staying close to technology that's interesting to the consumer, where they see potential usage in their homes and lives," Cornell told the Wall Street Journal. "We're working very closely on cloud and looking at the role that AI will play, using machine learning to advance how we make decisions.

The role of CIO has gained in importance in recent years, as confirmed by Cornell. "The most important thing I can contribute is making sure technology has a seat at the table. It is the thread that connects all key initiatives," he said.

Technology, data and security are topics at all Target board meetings.

As CEO, he pays more attention to monitoring emerging trends and how to apply those to Target's business.

But even though the CIO is critical to a retailer's operations, that role isn't necessarily one that leads to CEO, said Cornell. "I don't know if I'm ready to say [that someone in] the CIO chair is going to lead people in the boardroom as a CEO, but it's certainly a very important role for our company today."

Target's CIO Mike McNamara has taken on a more public role than most, talking up the importance of embracing technology and developing tech teams.

For more:
- see this Wall Street Journal story (tiered subscription)

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