Innovative Retail Technologies

MAR-APR 2017

Innovative Retail Technologies (formerly Integrated Solutions For Retailers) is the premier source for innovative yet pragmatic technology solutions in the retail industry.

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S cott Emmons didn't plan on any of this. He didn't plan on entertaining a constant flow of interview requests from journalists and trade publication editors and television anchors every time he began tinkering with a new technology. Hell, he didn't even plan on working in retail technology. Now he's the head of the Innovation Lab at Neiman Marcus, one of the most iconic brands in retail. Not that Emmons needs any introduction. He's played this role for the past four years, quite a run for such a fast-lane position, and he's garnered a lot of attention over the course of his tenure. Emmons began his career before IT was really a thing, back when we called the field simply "computers." In fact, he was hanging around his college computer lab one fateful day — he was a computer science major, after all — when workers from the computer science department started ripping Apples out of the lab and replacing them with IBMs. Problem was, the computer science department workers weren't really sure what they were doing. It just so happens that Emmons' mom was a lifetime IBMer. The Emmons family had IBM PCs at home before most people even thought a Mar-Apr 2017 28 We sat down with a pioneer of the retail innovation game to understand where he came from, how he works, and how he got to Neiman Marcus. AN INSIDER'S TAKE ON INNOVATION What's Next by Matt Pillar computer could be "personal." Emmons offered some help getting those IBMs set up in the lab, and the next thing he knew he was hired. After college, Emmons was hired by consulting company Total Assets Protection, which built and maintained data centers for big financial firms. There, he designed and implemented billing and job costing programs and reported to the CFO. From there on out, he never interviewed for a job. Work found him. He spent 15 years with Pro Consultants, a boutique consulting company where he was exposed to the IT functions of multiple verticals. That's where Emmons says he began to really expand his skillset and learn about the creative side of IT. " That position taught me to be adaptable, how to pivot, how to take things that presented themselves as problematic and turn them into an asset," says Emmons. That position is where the seeds of Emmons' IT innovation side were sown. To prove his mettle, his next gig was with business intelligence (BI) consulting company Integra Solutions, which he joined in 2001, before BI was really a thing. In fact, Emmons admits that when he joined the company, he knew nothing about BI. A few years into the position, he winner customer Engagement

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