Sears Couldn’t Sell An Appliance Let Alone A Rolex

Sears Couldn't Sell An Appliance Let Alone A Rolex

So I was amazed at the depths to which Sears will go to try to save their horrible brand.

The Wall Street Journal (21 July 2013) described how Sears online has started a marketplace where they are now hosting the selling of high-end goods at their low-end department store site.

Sears which normally sells kitchen appliances, tools, and crappy clothing is now trying to market $33,000 Rolex watches and $4,400 Chanel handbags.

Good luck to that after their failed 2005 merger of Sears and Kmart–as if combining two lousy companies make one good one.

Since 2005, the company revenue has steadily declined about 25% from $53 billion to $39.9 billion and they lost $4 billion in 2011-2012. Yeah, that today’s Sears!

My own horrible experience with Sears:

I went online to order a range, and Sears botched the order over and over again and kept me holding endlessly throughout the miserable process and at each stage asking for my feedback and apparently doing nothing with it.

Problem #1: It started out pretty simply–I asked for some guidance comparing a couple of models, chose one, and they entered my order. However, when I looked over the order, they had entered the incorrect delivery date–when I wasn’t available. So I contacted Sears back to correct the mistake, but they couldn’t get their system to reflect the correct date–it would only show the original incorrect date–and this is a multi-billion dollar company? But I shut an eye when a supervisor finally assures me that it will arrive on the correct date.

Problem #2: The next day or so, I get a call from a Sears customer service representative who asks me whether I am the Andy located in XYZ (some G-d forsaken location)–ah, no! Well, they explain that’s where they have my order shipping to. They can’t explain how that happened, but promise Sears will fix it.

Problem #3: This time, I get a call from the Sear’s installation company. They are demanding that they will not come out to do the install unless I pay them a required inspection fee. But I explain that my order from Sear expressly states that shipping and installation are FREE. Sorry, they tell me free is not free, and if I have a problem, here’s a number to their national whatever line.

Three strikes, Sears is out–I contact them to review what had happened and to cancel this order. They refuse to cancel it–again, I think to myself this is a multi-billion dollar company? Over and over again this goes on, until finally they agree to cancel the order and refund my money.

All this nonsense literally wasted hours of my time.

Sears is no longer that brilliant mail order catalog of the early 20th century; now they are a dumpster diving junk company trying to sell brand stuff, but they are laggards to the brilliant Amazon and eBay retailers–and soon Sears will be out of business headed to the big retail trash bin of history.

The Rolex watches and Chanel bags are just another Sears circus sideshow. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

>Scraping the Landlines and The Total CIO

>It’s long overdue. It’s time to get rid of the landline telephones from the office (and also from our homes, if you still have them). Wireless phones are more than capable of doing the job and just think you already probably have at least one for business and one for personal use—so redundancy is built in!

Getting rid of the office phones will save the enterprise money, reduce a maintenance burden (like for office moves) and remove some extra telejunk clutter from your desk. More room for the wireless handheld charger. 🙂

USA Today, 20 December 2008 reports that according to Forrester Research “Estimated 25% of businesses are phasing out desk phones in effort to save more money.”

Additionally, “more than 8% of employees nationwide who travel frequently have only cellphones.”

Robert Rosenberg, president of The Insight Research Corp., stated: U.S. businesses are lagging behind Europe and Asia in going wireless, because major cellular carriers…are also earning money by providing landlines to businesses—an $81.4 billion industry in 2008.”

“In Washington, D.C., the City Administrator’s office launched a pilot program in October in which 30 employees with government-issued cellphones gave up their desk phones, said deputy mayor Dan Tangherlini. Because the government has issued more than 11,000 cellphones to employees, the program could multiply into significant savings.”

A study by the National Center for Health Statistics between January and June found that more than 16% of families “have substituted a wireless telephone for a land line.”

So what’s stopping organizations from getting rid of the traditional telephones?

The usual culprits: resistance to change, fear of making a mistake, not wanting to give up something we already have—“old habits die hard” and people don’t like to let go of their little treasures—even a bulky old deskphone (with the annoying cord that keeps getting twisted).

Things are near and dear to people and they clutch on to them with their last breath—in their personal lives (think of all the attics, garages, and basements full of items people can’t let go off—yard sale anyone?) and in the professional lives (things equate to stature, tenure, turf—a bigger rice bowl sound familiar?).

Usually the best way to get rid of something is to replace it with something better, so the Total CIO needs to tie the rollout of new handheld devices with people turning in their old devices–land lines, pagers, and even older cell phones (the added benefit is more room and less weight pulling on your belt).

By the way, we need to do the same thing with new applications systems that we roll out. When the new one is fully operational than the old systems need to be retired. Now how often does that typically happen?

Folks, times are tough, global competition is not going away, and we are wasting too much money and time maintaining legacy stuff we no longer need. We need to let go of the old and progress with the new and improved.

>IT Planning and Enterprise Architecture

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Perhaps many of you have wondered what the relationship is between the IT Strategic Plan and the Enterprise Architecture Transition Plan? Why do you need both? Isn’t one IT plan just like another?

There are many different plans starting with the organization’s strategic plan that drives the IT plan and so forth. Each sequential layer of the plan adds another crucial dimension for the plan to enable it to achieve it ultimate implementation.

The various plans establish line of sight from the highest level plan for the organization to individual performance plans and the implementation of new or changes to systems, IT products and standards, and ultimately to the capabilities provided the end-user.

Here is my approach to User-centric IT Planning:

1. Organizational Strategic Plan—the highest level overall plan enterprise; it identifies the goals and objectives of the organization, and drives the IT Strategic Plan.

2. IT Strategic Pan—the IT Plan for the enterprise; it identifies the IT goals and objectives, and drives the IT Performance Plan.

3. IT Performance Plan—a decomposition of the IT Plan; it identifies IT initiatives and milestones, and drives the IT Roadmap and Individual Performance Plans.

4. IT Roadmap and Individual Performance Plans

a) IT Roadmap—a visual timeline of the IT Performance Plan; it identifies programs and projects milestones, and drives the Target Architecture and Transition Plan.

b) Individual Performance Plans—the performance plans for your IT staff; it is derived from the IT Performance Plan, and provides line of sight from the Organizational and IT Strategic Plans all the way to the individual’s performance plan, so everyone knows what they are supposed to do and why (i.e. how it fits into the overall goals and objectives.

5. Target Architecture and Transition Plan

a) Target Architecture—a decomposition of the IT Roadmap into systems and IT products and standards; it identifies the baseline (As-Is) and the target (To-Be) for new and major changes to systems and IT products and standards.

[Note: Target Architecture can also be used in more general terms to refer to the future state of the organization and IT, and this is how I often use it.]

b) Transition Plan—a visual timeline of the changes for implementing the changes to go from the baseline (As-Is) to the target (To-Be) state for systems and IT products and standards.

6. Capabilities—the target state in terms of business capabilities provided to the end-user derived from the changes to systems, IT products and standards, and business processes; it is derived from the Target Architecture and Transition Plan.

This planning approach is called User-centric IT Planning because it is focused on the end-user. User-centric IT Planning develops a plan that is NOT esoteric or shelfware, but rather one that is focused on being actionable and valuable to the organization and its end-users. User-centric IT plans have line of sight from the organization’s strategic plan all the way to the individual performance plans and end-user capabilities.

Now that’s the way to plan IT!