Online fashion retailer Asos has grown from a two-person operation a little over a decade ago to between 700 and 800 people today. Asos websites record eight and half million page impressions a week and has a conversion rate of three per cent for those visits. The retailer is seeking to become a mobile device oriented company, in a reflection of the technology and information usage patterns that West has encouraged.
“We want to be the market leader in online retail,” he says of Asos, there is no divide between IT and the business, IT is the business. Of IT he says: “I want to create an environment that harvests and engineers pace, which is part of being retail.
“So the quality of the IT has improved. We have to support between 300 and 400 mobile devices and there are all the traditional IT systems there too,” he says of the mix of back office applications and consumerisation devices.
West reports to the CFO Nick Bayton, who is an ex-CIO when he was at retailer Matalan. The knowledge synergy is helpful:
“It’s good as gets what you are talking about.”
West sits on the operating board, while Bayton is in the board room.
Although West and Asos were felt not to have the complexity of the traditional retailers in the top tier of the CIO listing such as Tesco and Marks & Spencer, all felt that the continued growth of the business and the relentless desire to transform was akin to that showed by easyJet. West’s zeal and focus on developing his team also pushed him into the top 20.
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