Kathmandu’s New Zealand-based CIO, Grant Taylor, has handed in his notice to the travel outfitter, and is getting ready to tackle his next challenge as the def acto CEO of local retail group Acland Holdings.
Taylor told iTnews he had timed his move to coincide both with the completion of his CRM transformation, as well as the influx of new blood into the top ranks of the organisation post the departure of CEO Peter Halkett late last year.
“I always planned to spend about four to five years at Kathmandu,” he said.
“When my CEO resigned in October it was an opportunity to start thinking about what to do myself.”
His new role at Acland Holdings comes with a sizeable leap up the organisational chart.
Despite officially taking on a COO title, Taylor will be responsible for a large swathe of the business, which runs the Citta Design, Bo Concept, and Corso De' Fiori high-end furniture and homewares brands. He will answer directly into the company owners and board.
“My brief for the new role is broad and varied and a real step outside my comfort zone, but one I am looking forward to,” he said.
Taylor led the no-nonsense implementation of Microsoft’s Dynamics AX ERP solution as a single source of truth on customers and retail inventory at Kathmandu.
He managed to channel all of Kathmandu’s business areas onto the same Microsoft platform to establish what he describes as his proudest legacy to the company.
“Getting that strategy across to the board and executive was a challenge. Everyone naturally wants their own system, and what I was proposing mandated only one system - a single source of truth based on Microsoft," he said.
“But we are now realising the benefits of that especially in terms of being able to access information in real time. I think that has really set Kathmandu up for the future."
With three months still up his sleeve, Taylor is in the process of making sure all loose ends are tied up before he walks out the door and relocates from Christchurch to Auckland.
One job already ticked off is shoring up the reliability of the AX transactional database, which experienced some hiccups over the Christmas break.
He has moved the server in question out of the Dimension Data public cloud hosted in Australia, back into exclusive physical hardware still operated by Dimension Data.
“This only represents one server and we have many more in the DiData public cloud. The work to complete this happens before our Easter sale event so we are hoping we get the high IOPS [input/output operations per second] we need,” he said.
Taylor said he was ready to hand over the reins to someone equipped to take over a different role to the one he signed up to nearly five years ago.
“The company [now] needs someone to drive the operational side of things and build those efficiencies into the business.”