ST Women in Technology - 65

balancing-none of these components existed
when I began in IT.
But that's okay with me: I'm not somebody who
has a lot of patience for doing the same thing
over and over-I would be a terrible bot!
And though the change has been relentless, I've
learned some lessons that seem to apply, no
matter what the situation. Let me share some of
those in the context of my work at True Value.

STAYING OUT OF
YOUR SHELL
At True Value, I spent a very large chunk of my
time-about 40 percent of it-with my peers in
IT talking about what initiatives we were running
and how we were driving growth. But I also spent
a lot of my time talking with our end-customers-
the independent owners of the 4,000 True Value
stores. What technology do they need? What
is easy and what is difficult in the ways they do
things.
For example, we had an idea that the owners
might want a purchasing app for ordering
products from us. But when we tested a
prototype in focus groups, it turned out they
didn't want a purchasing app. What they wanted
to do was research-look up information about
a product, look up availability, look up their past
orders. We re-tuned our thinking based on what
they told us, and the app has been a big success.
In another example, we were developing a Point
of Sale/ERP solution for True Value store owners.
Because they're independent, they have to buy
this-it's not something we develop and give to
them. I needed to win their support from the first
day. I needed them to be supportive during the
development process, to help ensure the solution
was something they could use. I needed them
to be supportive as the solution was coming
to fruition, so they would buy it. And at the
same time, I had to keep my board supportive,
because they were putting in the seed money
to make this happen. And I had to keep my
management team supportive so that they would
be out proselytizing to store owners the value of
the solution.

We would keep communicating all the way
through the process. I think we IT people
sometimes tend to imagine that once we finish
writing down the requirements, we can go back
into our shell and develop something, without
having to come out until it's done. But change
management doesn't work that way. With
change management, the contact has to be
continuous.

THE TEAMWORK
IMPERATIVE
Besides putting a lot of emphasis on front office
processes and the customer experience, I also
spent a lot of time at True Value helping the
company understand the value of integration
and standards. There's a huge amount of good
technology out there that's very easy to get your
hands on and that solves some business problem
or another. But such technology often creates
a level of chaos, too: Because the master data
isn't managed in a standard way, integrations
don't end up promoting an enterprise-wide
understanding of revenue and the customer.

WHEN WE TESTED A PROTOTYPE
IN FOCUS GROUPS, IT TURNED OUT
THEY DIDN'T WANT A PURCHASING
APP. WHAT THEY WANTED TO DO
WAS RESEARCH.

Because this kind of collaboration is incredibly
important, I would not only talk a great deal
about teamwork but also try to encourage it on
a daily basis. For example, when we had a design
review, we would pull in people from different
parts of the organization to offer different
perspectives. I would often say to people, "I
know this isn't your project, but we need your
help. I want you to step up on this one."
Another thing that I worked to do was give
people the same goal. This helps them realize
that they actually are in the same boat. To
some extent, I also did this with our technology
partners, as well. I would say, "Tell me who
65



ST Women in Technology

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ST Women in Technology

Contents
ST Women in Technology - Cover1
ST Women in Technology - Cover2
ST Women in Technology - 1
ST Women in Technology - Contents
ST Women in Technology - 3
ST Women in Technology - 4
ST Women in Technology - 5
ST Women in Technology - 6
ST Women in Technology - 7
ST Women in Technology - 8
ST Women in Technology - 9
ST Women in Technology - 10
ST Women in Technology - 11
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ST Women in Technology - 108
ST Women in Technology - Cover4
ST Women in Technology - 108
ST Women in Technology - Poster 1
ST Women in Technology - Poster 2
ST Women in Technology - Poster 3
ST Women in Technology - Poster 4
ST Women in Technology - Poster 5
ST Women in Technology - Poster 6
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