In April 2010, when Wayne Shurts stepped into the role of executive vice president and CIO at SuperValu, a U.S. grocery retailer and distributor whose brands include the Albertsons and Shaw's/Star Market chains, he brought skills he had honed as an IT executive at Cadbury, as well as two decades of experience in finance, marketing and sales at Nabisco. Shurts, who has an MBA in marketing from Seton Hall University, also spent several years as head of his own consulting firm, which specialized in transformational technology strategies. He's now working to help the IT department at SuperValu better support the company's overall business.
You recently deployed Yammer to support collaboration.How did that come about? Our CEO, Craig Herkert, was the champion. Craig attended a Microsoft CEO summit in the fall of 2010, and concurrent with that we had been using Yammer's public free site; some grass-roots people got it started. Craig is very much a technology-focused CEO. He has kids, so he understands the power of social media, and he came back on fire for what social media could do for SuperValu. In nine months' time, the audience grew from a handful of people to more than 8,000 folks. It's really taken off, and it's done all those things that Craig envisioned.
Tell me about some of your other key deployments and how they're improving business performance? One key thing that's about a year old now is the promotion analysis tool. It allows our managers to use analytics to model the effect of what a certain promotion will yield, to see what will deliver the best performance and margins. It's a pretty sophisticated tool that has really allowed us to get tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars out of it. That promotion tool has been a significant win for our merchants. They're doing a lot more models about what's the best promotion to run at this time of year, what prices to cut.