Home Depots IT Makeover

Opinion: Home Depot gives its merchandising system a new look.

When he became CEO of Home Depot after being passed over to succeed Jack Welch at General Electric, Bob Nardelli brought a little GE with him, and not just light bulbs. Nardelli also brought in lessons on how to increase productivity and eliminate inefficiencies, strategies that GE has just about perfected. IT was to play a big role in Nardellis Home Depot makeover; for example, the company is pushing more control toward users (that is, customers) with self-checkout systems.

Before Nardelli, Home Depot made do with what Vice President of Vendor Services Tom Armstrong called "guerrilla" merchandising tactics from suppliers. That needed to be reined in, writes Senior Editor Carmen Nobel in our latest eWEEK Road Map. Home Depot transformed the merchandising system by putting control and accountability into the hands of the supplier service representatives who stock Home Depots shelves with their products. Home Depots In-Store Services Initiative, using hosted field force automation software from EnfoTrust and rugged Symbol Technologies handhelds, simplifies the service representatives jobs and gives Home Depot executives a clearer picture of whats going on—on and off the shelves.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is very confident in the companys recent launch of new Visual Studio 2005 tools, which feature tight integration with the companys SQL Server. Although Microsoft is in the middle of a so-called sea change around Web services, the tools business will thrive, according to Ballmer. "Ill be shocked if we dont have super-high market share within a year. Ill just be shocked," he told Senior Editor Darryl K. Taft in an interview. For more, see the interview inside, as well as eWEEK.com for an extended version.

Also this week, read Senior Writer Brian Fonsecas story on IBMs plans to release early next year a new virtualization server that will enable users to virtually access data without being tied to a database.

In addition, eWEEK Labs Senior Analyst Henry Baltazar examines how backup and recovery software makers are adapting to new business continuity and compliance mandates and beefing up their solutions. He includes a sample RFP to help guide IT managers through the process of upgrading their enterprise backup systems. Finally, the Forrester Executive Strategy Forum last week presented attendees with ideas about transforming IT into real business value in the era of globalization. We have two stories, by Editor in Chief Eric Lundquist and Executive Editor Stan Gibson, that put the conference into perspective.

eWEEK magazine editor Scot Petersen can be reached at scot_petersen@ziffdavis.com.


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Scot Petersen

Scot Petersen

Scot Petersen is a technology analyst at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm. Prior to joining Ziff Brothers, Scot was the editorial director, Business Applications & Architecture,...