As CIO at Family Dollar, Joshua Jewett has had to grow with the business -- and become more business-focused along the way.
As the company doubled in size to more than $8.5 billion over his nine-year tenure, he says, "I've had to go from hands-on leadership to more strategic leadership working through my direct reports. You have to effect outcomes through others, and that's a different skill." To accomplish that, he reorganized IT around multidisciplinary customer-service teams. "We used to be like a Ford assembly line," he says. The new teams are more responsive and customer-focused, says Jewett.
Under his leadership, the IT group revamped in-store IT infrastructure while keeping within a tight budget. "We need all of the capabilities of a big-box store in a low-cost footprint," he says.
Jewett, 42, also collaborated with the CEO and the executive team to throw traditional budgeting out the window. Previously, IT would create an annual budget at a very granular level of detail for projects that never materialized. "That was incredibly demoralizing and a huge waste of time," says Jewett. Now, he says, he starts with the business' priorities, channels funding toward those, and develops a road map. "It's a model designed to deal with the inevitability of change," he says.
Jewett is all about the business, and he's a full partner with the rest of the executive team, says Tim Chew, vice president of technical services. "He's trying to guide the business versus just guiding IT," says Chew.
Join the CIO Australia group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.