With a network of more than 40 stores across Australia, Baby Bunting is already Australia’s largest specialty retailer for baby goods, and a network plan to grow to more than 80 stores. As general manager of IT, Catherine Power is helping the company manage that growth while navigating through the rapidly changing retail landscape.
What is a recent project that you have worked on with a reseller
Our data centre transformation project has meant migrating all of our critical business applications off our in-house managed infrastructure to a fully-managed data centre. It’s a very big project for us – a strategic initiative to make sure that as our business scales, we continue to provide reliable and secure systems. We are working with Interactive to manage this project in conjunction with our application partners. We commenced towards the end of 2015, and are in the tail end of the project now. There are a couple of key services to complete, and I am hoping to have it all finished by the end of the April.
What do you look for in a partner?
Someone who understands our strategic initiatives and also where we are taking the business - someone who takes the time to know our market, perhaps visits our stores and gets a feel for what our customers’ needs are, because they are ultimately at the centre of everything we do. The change in retail is so swift, so we need partners who can be agile with us and give us the right advice and direction.
Do you see yourself making more use of partners in the future?
We do run quite lean, so we rely a lot on external providers. And I am very careful, when selecting those providers, in making sure that there is a value-add there. I think it’s really about building a good partnership.
When you partner with someone that you trust, you are more loyal to them, and in turn they are more loyal to you and will offer you services which are relevant. You’ve got to feel comfortable with the people you are working with, whether they are internal or external, because you are putting your business in their hands.
How do suppliers annoy you?
Not being relevant is one thing that some partners do which is a problem for me. If they are selling something because it is the latest and greatest technology or service and not really relevant to the business, that can become quite frustrating. If they understand the direction and the growth strategies that we have, and they offer something that takes us on that journey, then that’s great. But if you are coming in to sell something that is of more benefit to you getting the sale than it is to us investing in it, there is no value there for us.