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Wiggle CIO Mark Dermody wearing UK's retail yellow jersey

Mark Chillingworth | Sept. 17, 2013
"This business is about pace," says Mark Dermody, CIO of cycling and sport retailer e-commerce business Wiggle. "You can't grow as quickly as we are without pace," he said.

"To be able to build a business out of what we love doing is very satisfying," he says.

The Wiggle platform has been developed on Microsoft .Net with an Endecca search engine.

In the last year Dermody and his team have put in the two largest IT projects of Wiggle's short history, a new carrier management system for its logistics and a warehouse management system that eradicated a swathe of paper processes that even a 13-year-old company can find itself beset with. With both projects successful Dermody is assessing further improvements to the back office operations at Wiggle that will provide the flexibility a growing online retailer needs to scale.

"We are not likely to go with a large scale end-to-end ERP. We are considering a number of solutions for the buying and finance processes. Master data management and how cloud computing can be used are being considered closely," he says.

As Wiggle becomes an increasingly global brand Dermody sees cloud as an inevitable gear for his operation, especially software as a service. Cloud is already used for development, customer surveys and in the contact centre.

At the front end of the organisation Dermody's major Col to conquer is mobile. The Wiggle site is rich in content, especially high quality images of the millions of products it stores. Each image is shot and created in-house in the Portsmouth studio. This will create performance and speed challenges for Wiggle on mobile platforms, the CIO says, but he has high hopes for the new 4G network rolling out across the country.

Dermody took the concept of mobile to the operating board of the company and helped them understand the opportunities and is now at the strategy creation phase with full board buy into the need to react.

"I expect us to develop for the tablet first very soon. We already have a good conversion rate on the tablet," he says. Many CIOs in retail and financial services are seeing increased usage of their online platforms from tablets, but low transaction conversions.

Despite the focus on mobile, Dermody is not convinced yet of the need to adopt responsive design.

"You have to download a lot of assets to the mobile and that affects the performance," he says of the Wiggle site.

To demonstrate the new warehouse management system in operation, Dermody took CIO UK next door to the warehouse, which is the crank and pedals constantly moving this e-commerce operation forwards. The warehouse staff speed around the building with the alacrity of the athletes they serve, but on their wrists is not the latest Garmin heart monitoring and GPS watch, but a picking device connected to the Red Prairie warehouse management system.

 

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