APRO members have historically named networking and being part of the RTO family as the biggest reasons to being involved in the industry and APRO. There are so many APRO member employees that are involved in their state associations, APRO or the community, we thought it would be a good idea to introduce them to the APRO family. Raouf Bishay is the Chief Technology Officer/Chief Information Officer for Full-O-Pep Appliances Inc., dba American Rental owned by APRO’s Second Vice President, David P. David with 49 stores throughout Kentucky, Indiana, Virginia and Tennessee. We asked Raouf some questions about his RTO career, involvement with APRO and what he enjoys on his time off. What are your day-to-day duties? As the Chief Technology Officer for Full-O-Pep Appliances Inc. I report to the CEO and am responsible for establishing the company’s technical vision and leading all aspects of the company’s technology development. I am the company’s top technology executive, playing an integral role in the company’s strategic direction, development and future growth. As Chief Technology Officer, my role is to align technology vision with my company’s business strategy by integrating my company processes with the appropriate technologies. I am also responsible for all aspects of developing and implementing technology initiatives within our organization. I maintain existing enterprise systems, while providing direction in all technology related issues in support of information operations and core company values. What are your biggest challenges you face in your job and/or the RTO industry? Perhaps the biggest challenge that I may face would be to keep all the systems, server PC, communication devices updated and running smooth. But the bigger challenge would be dealing with internet connectivity. The reason that we do not control our ISP provider, and they do not manage our internal network equipment, thereafter once there is an issue that arise it may be difficult at a time to find the right person from your ISP provider to talk to. Of course without saying, integration may not only be wanted but needed, everyone that has ever worked in our industry knows that as personal change and company focuses grow and change to meet new customers wants, it becomes necessary to look into integration of different software and tools that you use and need to analyze and run your daily business. It is no longer only the software that you use in your stores, but then you have to consider the web, online payments, marketing and so forth. So, like a doctor who in order to provide his/her patient with the best available treatment option for their symptoms or illness he must study all the time and keep up with the new and updated information. In the IT world it is a fast-paced changing technology and you better keep up if you want to provide the best service to your company. So besides every day duties I have to make time to study and learn new technology. From your perspective what do you see the future of the RTO industry? What will be the challenges? The RTO Industry has stood before extraordinary tests, making their organization stronger in a sustainable way. In market of a great volatility and uncertainty such as, industry leaders whomever they are, are not guaranteed to stay at the top forever and finding a real enduring competitive advantage is hard to achieve, so in order to secure success we need the right people with the right skills supported by the right structure, processes, and tools. A lot of retailers are getting in the RTO business, yet they do not understand the industry and that may hinder our industry image as a whole. Somehow we should find a way to stand out. The variety of electronics, cellphones, computers, tablets and games that is rapidly changing in a very fast pace also represents a challenge to our industry – to balance. Ability to provide our customer with the latest and greatest yet not overdo it by providing too much. In summary:
- Finding the right people to work.
- Training executing and future employees.
- Keeping up with new market and technology.