Anyone in the retail industry will tell you that times are tough. Margins are tight and competition is fierce. Low consumer confidence, the absence of economic stimulus, and consecutive rises in interest rates did not help Christmas sales figures, resulting in shoppers spending less than the year before. In 2010, the main thing CIOs need to ensure is that their IT systems don’t impede their ability to handle the difficult economic environment. The systems must work reliably, must be cost effective, and must support the business in its efforts to move ahead. The essential importance of these factors are often overlooked.