Best Buy Management, Cloud Challenges: Can mindSHIFT Help?

Best Buy Management, Cloud Challenges: Can mindSHIFT Help?

Anybody else been watching the drama unfold at Best Buy (NYSE: BBY), parent of managed services provider mindSHIFT? Best Buy founder Richard Schulze is stepping down as chairman; former CEO Brian Dunn exited amid an alleged improper relationship; and Wall Street is wondering how the technology retailer will compete in the cloud market. Now I'm starting to wonder...

...if mindSHIFT President Paul Chisholm and Best Buy CIO Stephen Gillett are sitting down somewhere and hashing out a bigger cloud strategy for the company?

Best Buy announced plans to acquire mindSHIFT in late 2011 and completed the deal in early 2012 or so. Admittedly, mindSHIFT is a tiny business (say, about $100 million to $120 million?) compared to Best Buy's multi-billion dollar retail operation. But mindSHIFT does manage 6.8 billion customer emails per year, and I suspect most of those emails are on mindSHIFT's cloud systems. Meanwhile, Best Buy CIO Gillett is a veteran of Starbucks -- known for its incredibly strong branding and business innovations that convince you and me to pay $5 for a cup of coffee. Every day.

Back at Best Buy, I realize the big retailer faces big challenges. The company's stock sits near a 52-week low amid the management changes and intensifying competition from Amazon.com, additional online retailers, and cloud services. Stories like this one in the Star Tribune suggest Best Buy is completely missing from the cloud market.

Paging Mr. Chisholm and Mr. Gillett: You are needed in the Best Buy corporate boardroom. Today's conversation: Making Best Buy a respected player in cloud computing.

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