May 19, 2020

J.C. Penney hires Apple exec for retail revamp

Apple
Steve Jobs
Ron Johnson
J.C. Penney
Bizclik Editor
2 min
J.C. Penney hires Apple exec for retail revamp

 

We all know the genius efforts behind Apple’s lifestyle branding and uniqueness in its retail stores. The retail executive behind Apple’s reincarnation, Ron Johnson, is now leaving the company to take over as CEO for J.C. Penney with the hopes that he can revamp the retail apparel brand. Johnson came onto Apple’s board in 2001 when there were only two Apple retail stores. Today, Johnson has assisted in the opening of Apple’s more than 300 locations worldwide.

Johnson was quoted saying the following when he opened Apple’s ninth location in Palo Alto: “If we do great stores in the right places where people gather … if we have phenomenally well-trained people, we think our market-share will grow dramatically.”

Steve Jobs had original mock ups of the retail design for Apple’s stores and Johnson, along with other Apple executives, fine tuned the design to come up with the image of the retail outlets we see today. Johnson advocated for Apple stores to have iconic features and also came up with the Genius Bar. While Jobs was worried that the general employee base wouldn’t have the knowledge about technology and dealing with customer service, Johnson took it upon himself to persuade him into hiring younger people familiar with the brand and all of its products’ capabilities.

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J.C. Penney is focusing on revamping its retail stores but also lowering its overall expenses to compensate for its rising costs in materials. Johnson spent years working as an executive for Target before joining the Apple team, so this career move will definitely be a return back to his retail experience.

Johnson brought a clean, minimalistic image with chrome accents from Apple’s devices into its retail stores. We’re excited to see how this clothing store will change shape and appearance over the next few years.

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Jun 18, 2021

Microsoft: Building a secure foundation to drive NASCAR

NASCAR
Microsoft
3 min
Racing fans can expect the ultimate virtual experience as a result of the partnership with Microsoft and NASCAR

Microsoft is a key partner of The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and together they are driving ahead to create an inclusive and immersive new fan experience (FX).

These long-term partners have not only navigated the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic with the use of Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365, but are now looking to a future packed with virtual events to enhance the FX, well beyond NASCAR’S famous Daytona racetrack. 

“Together, we've created a secure environment that's allowed for collaboration, but the future is all about the fans”, said Melinda Cook, General Manager for Microsoft South USA Commercial Business, who cited a culture of transparency, passion, adaptiveness, and a growth mindset as to why this alignment is so successful.”

“We've partnered to create a fluid, immersive experience for the users that is supported by a secure foundation with Microsoft in the background. We are focused on empowering and enabling customers and businesses, like NASCAR, to reach their full potential. We do this with our cloud platform which provides data insights and security.”

“Our cloud environment allows NASCAR to move forward with their digital transformation journey while we are in the background,” said Cook who highlights that Microsoft is helping NASCAR

  • Empower employees productivity and collaboration
  • Improve fan engagement and experience
  • Improve environment security and IT productivity
  • Improve racing operations

 

Microsoft Teams, which is part of the Microsoft 365 suite, enabled employees to work remotely, while staying productive, during the pandemic. “This allowed people to provide the same level of productivity with the use of video conference and instant messaging to collaborate on documents. Increased automation also allows the pit crews, IT, and the business to focus on safety, racing operations, and on the fan experience,” said Cook.

“We have started to innovate to create a more inclusive fanbase, this includes using Xbox to give people the experience of being a virtual racer or even leveraging some of the tools in Microsoft Teams to have a virtual ride along experience.”

“These environments are how we create a more inclusive and immersive experience for the fans. We're working on a virtual fan wall which allows people from new locations to participate in these events,” said Cook, who pointed out Microsoft was also helping bring legacy experiences alive from NASCAR’s archives. 

“At Microsoft we can take it one level further by letting fans know what it's like to see the pit crew experience, the data and all the behind-the-scenes action. We will continue to improve automation with machine learning and artificial intelligence, from marketing to IT operations to finance to racing operations,” said Cook.

Christine Stoffel-Moffett, Vice President of Enterprise Technology at NASCAR, said: “Microsoft is one of our key partners. They have been instrumental in helping the NASCAR enterprise technology team re-architect our Microsoft systems to ensure an advanced level of security across our environment, contribute to our business outcomes, and focus on fan experience.”

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