We’re a global company with huge ambitions for the future. And because technology will play a vital role in fulfilling these ambitions, it means that IT at Clarks is an incredibly exciting place to be. Our Group IT function is a crucial part of our business. From ensuring business leaders get the insight they need to select the right technology in a rapidly changing world to maintaining the technology and systems that we need to trade and operate day-to-day.
Group IT is at the very heart of Clarks business. From Delivery to Services, Architecture to Strategy and Planning, our IT teams work across the business to deliver large projects and change programmes. Working with cutting-edge technology, they’re constantly looking for ways to drive our business forward. From implementing tablets in our stores to rebooting our App strategy and capabilities, our IT teams are constantly looking to improve the way we work and deliver exceptional customer experiences.
You wouldn’t be able to purchase a pair of shoes from one of our Retail, Franchise or Outlet stores, or from our websites, if it wasn’t for the people who make up these teams. The Retail Store Systems and Digital Engineering teams and the applications they work on, are critical to running our stores and websites, with the latter constantly being developed. If something goes wrong with the tills or foot gauges in our stores, or with one of our websites, then it’s these people who will be racing to fix it.
The products have been designed and even made – so how do they get to where they need to be? The process is multi-faceted and the teams who make up Planning and Logistics develop, maintain and support the systems responsible for getting our products from design, through to manufacture and then distributed to our Warehouses and on to stores. Our products are made available to purchase Globally via our websites and through our Wholesale partners. When you purchase something from our store it will already be triggering a replacement product for that store so that if you return a few days later it would be back in stock. If something breaks in these systems then no stock will get anywhere, so this team are watching and helping things through the system all the time.
This is where some of the real attention to detail happens. Without the Finance and HR teams in Enabling Services we wouldn’t be able to process and reconcile any of our sales or pay any of our employees. The teams work with their respective business teams, providing support and developing new requirements which are often in relation to new legislation. In addition to the Finance and HR systems, this team also supports our legal and compliance teams in an array of third-party software, and bespoke systems across a range of technologies.
With the multitude and complexity of our systems, there needs to be a team which holds them all together and the Solution Architecture team does just that. Through reviewing individual systems and how a number of systems interact to the complete view of all the systems, this team get involved in new projects, making sure current systems aren’t put in jeopardy and look into how improvements can be made to the collection of systems and their interactions. With a hybrid of business and technical knowledge they ‘translate’ information between business and IT teams.
From standalone devices for employees, to servers, (physical or in the Cloud), telephones and connectivity of systems – these teams are crucial to keeping our technology wheels turning. A break in the connection of any of these systems could, amongst many things, stop stores being able to sell products or stock being despatched from the warehouse.
Without the teams in Technology Services, our 13000 global employees would not be able to connect with each other, nor would we have any connectivity with our stores, and none of our systems would ‘talk’ to each other. Like Solution Architecture, their input is also fundamental during new projects to make sure new technology solutions will work on the platforms we have.
From the governing of the IT projects, resource planning and budget management to process and change management, recruitment, communications and business analysis – the Planning and Change team is a mixed bag and these teams are the glue that holds the department together. Our large collection of IT projects requires strong governance, management and attention to detail to make sure the right resource is available and that projects run to time and budget. In the world of business analysis, no two days are the same whilst working with the business and IT teams making sure requirements are collected and information is translated between the teams to ensure alignment and agreement.
The more technology advances, the more data is available to us. The Business Intelligence and Data Analytics team pulls out this data and analyses it in order to help form conclusions and identify trends. Feeding this information back into the business helps shape and guide future decisions.
The more data that is available to us and that we have access to, combined with the volume of systems we have and the ever-growing threat of cyber-attacks, security is of paramount importance. Keeping our business safe is vital, not just to protect our business and systems, but also our employees and consumers to prevent data breaches. This team develops and delivers our security strategy and ensures compliance though monitoring, evaluation and control. They capture and identify threats and risks before they come to fruition and put in place preventative controls.
Here at Clarks, quality is not just something we build into our shoes, it's what we strive to implement across our digital platforms. Our Digital Engineering team are a vital part of our ongoing Group IT transformation programme, driving our journey to ensure that Clarks is a responsive digital organisation. Our approach to Digital Engineering is rooted in modern architecture, flexible tools and infrastructure, and blended with an Agile mind-set.
Developing new technology and improving our Agile ways of working, we want to create a step-change in our capability, enabling us to deliver what our customers want, faster. That's why we're currently expanding our teams across Digital Engineering so we can continue to build quality software at velocity.