Target's tech team now in-house and stronger

Target (NYSE:TGT) has been reorganizing its technology team, bringing positions in-house, growing the group, and saving money in the process.

When CIO Mike McNamara arrived at Target a year ago, he found a lengthy list of projects in need of attention: an unstable website, a tech team consisting of third-party contractors and a budget too big to be spent.

McNamara has since slashed the 800 projects to 80, rolled out a new mobile-friendly site and began building a team of in-house engineers, many in India.

Target still has roughly 800 open tech positions, and the goal is to build out engineering capabilities to fuel future growth. Whereas once buyers, merchandisers and marketers called most of the shots at Target – and at most retailers – today's successes live and die by technology.

"They will be the new battlegrounds for retail over the next decade," McNamara told the Star Tribune. "Whoever has got the best technology and the best supply chain has the best chance of winning."

Target's website is still being improved upon, not just the design but robustness. The site has famously crashed on high-traffic days including Cyber Monday and new designer releases.

The former site was built on a packaged software from IBM and rewriting the code takes time. Before that, Target had outsourced online operations to Amazon.

Target's senior management has been talking up the importance of technology, making sure McNamara plays a prominent role at the company. CEO Brian Cornell recently told the Wall Street Journal, "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."

For more:
- see this Star Tribune story

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