Simon Wood - M&S.com
The best way to describe this is the day-to-day running of Marks and Spencer's digital channels. That includes M&S.com (we're also about to roll-out some international websites starting with France), mobile technologies and in-store kiosks. Effectively, it's the day-to-day running of all these different digital elements.
My team and I are not techie people. We bring people in as and when we need to, we have an understanding of how a website is coded, but we're not web developers.
Christmas is obviously a massive time for retailers, and online is where we hit all our peaks in terms of traffic and visitors. What we want to create at Marks and Spencer is the best possible Christmas experience on our website. So in order to deliver that, we mobilise a team in the early part of the summer. It's cross-functional, so we have people for all areas including trading, marketing, production and creative. That group of people is then responsible for the delivery of the Christmas shop on M&S.com. We achieve that through a series of weekly meetings, with a clear set of objectives and actions - delivering the Christmas creative through each channel.
It's not a very formal environment. I'm wearing jeans for example, even though I've got a jacket on. We're probably the only part of Marks and Spencer which isn't shirt-and-tie. We're a young, vibrant team with a pretty good mix of men and women.
I get up early and go home late. There's not much time spent at my desk. I'm in lots of different meetings, whether they're with internal stakeholders, suppliers, digital agencies trying to manage people's expectations in terms of what we can and can't do, and what do we need to prioritise. I suppose the biggest challenge is subjective views: everybody thinks they know how a website should look. It's about trying to educate those people to understand what is best for our customers. Because, at the end of the day, they're the ones who need to have the best experience.
We're in a very fortunate position because we have a lot of real-time data. So we can see exactly how trade is going throughout the course of the day. We can make changes and see how that's influencing and impacting our sales patterns and the customer behaviours on the site.
You don't need to have a technology-based degree to get into e-commerce. It's more a case of understanding how things operate commercially, and having a good understanding of new technologies. I think it's really important that you have a sound understanding of what's going on within the industry. There is so much out there in terms of blogs, websites, you name it in terms of understanding what is going on with new technologies and how retailers are adopting and evolving those technologies.
Good project management skills are absolutely key, especially with the number of work-streams we've got going on at any one point in time. Being able to prioritise and to deliver to timelines is absolutely key. And I suppose having fun and being patient, because things change all the time.