Canadian Tire Corporation (CTC) is an $8Billion dollar network of businesses involved in retail, financial services and petroleum operations. They had just completed a strategic plan in 2002 with a clear corporate goal "to become a top quartile performer in our market sector as measured by total return to stockholders". This mandate guided CIO Andy Wnek to create IT strategies, imperatives and vision of "an agile It team, aligned to business priorities, operating a simpler technical environment with the appropriate standardized processes" to support the main goal.
The Cost of Extensive Expansion:Since 1994, CTC had undergone a massive expansion from being a distributor to retailer, then rapidly expanding to the financial and petroleum sectors through organic growth and business acquisitions. This rapid expansion led to the following IT-related problems: 1) the creation of shadow IT teams operating independently in silos, causing 2) a severely fragmented IT infrastructure incapable of cost tracking and managing security risk, further compounded by 3) report standardization issues.
Standardization was a major problem that there were as many as 6 different numbers just for inventory levels alone. Other data was not available at all such as sales comparison figures for certain products sold in its 450-plus stores throughout Canada. Faced with an organizational structure of 5 large, unwieldy business groups (utilizing a total 100 mainframe servers, 14 operating systems, 7 databases, 450 applications), and plagued with frequent "quick win"/ad-hoc requests, Wnek and IT Director Michael Eubanks now question how to move forward with implementing long-term strategic plans and reconciling them with critical, short-term business requirements (quick wins). CTC is In the midst of a common, yet very challenging business situation of how to keep the plane in flight while it rebuilds its engines.
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