Kamal Osman Jamjoom Group (KOJ) has more than 600 stores across nine countries in the Middle East and North Africa, and is home to multiple popular international brands spanning fashion, cosmetics, and other categories. CIO ME talked to Deputy CEO Ian Halliwell, who oversees the IT, Human Resources, Supply and Distribution, Digital and Procurement teams. In this Q&A, he lays out how analytics and digitalization help the group become more customer-centric, enhancing the shopping experience, as e-commerce grows in importance.
Who (or what) has driven the greatest digital transformation in the retail sector? The CEO, the CIO or COVID-19?
Having a business that operates across different countries provides challenges. As such, the business has always looked for ways to enhance its operations through digitalization and implementation of “best in practice” systems in the market. Fortunately, our Group CEO (Hisham AL Amoudi) believes in technology, and the impact the right technology can add to any business. As such my role as Deputy CEO, covering IT and Digital, in convincing (the business) of the need to change has never been a problem.
How has COVID-19 impacted your company? Did you have a business continuity plan in place?
We have two aspects, firstly, stores — a challenging one, as when the stores need to close, how do we manage this? Fortunately, the closures were for a limited period of between four-six weeks and it gave a great opportunity for our teams to focus on their own development. All our training is online, and therefore people took the time to return to their training to complete modules not started, look at development of skills ready for their next role and prepare themselves for the time they will return to work.