Programmatic Platform Hiring: Nike Doubles Down in the US and Asia

Direct-to-consumer strategy drives demand for platform talent

Nike is on a roll.  Its stock is up 127% since the lows it hit back in March.  In December, the company reported that second quarter revenues were $11.2 billion, up 9 percent compared to the prior year driven by growth across all geographies. NIKE Direct sales were $4.3 billion, up 32 percent. 

Like other retailers, Nike had to close many of its 900 stores across the world.  However, these Covid-19 related disruptions did not end up curtailing sales.  The company was well positioned to meet consumer demand, given its direct-to-consumer shift centered on a multi-platform digital app strategy. 

And rather than hit the pause button on hiring, the company appears to be doubling down on building an even deeper bench of platform talent.  Over the past month alone, the company has posted 11 platform roles (see Table). 

Most of the positions are to be based in the company’s global headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. The remainder are earmarked for key hubs in Asia-- Shanghai, Tokyo and Seoul. The platform positions skew toward more senior roles with 9 of the 11 positions at the director or mid-senior level.  


The role for Senior Director, Enterprise Platforms (posted 11/24/2020) gives a sense of the scope and importance of these roles: 

“In this role you will own an organization of centralized, globally distributed, platform engineers, and customer success engineers in engaging with the other Nike Global Technology domain organizations to provide the platforms that enable them and the business to have the agility, fast time-to-market, systemic “-ilities” and cost efficiency they need to be successful.

You will drive technology platform deliverables and engagements for both global and regional needs. Your foundational platforms will be leverage across all business domains, including ecommerce, marketing, retail stores, logistics, supply chain, fulfillment, data & analytics, AI/ML, planning, manufacturing, corporate functions, etc. Platform responsibilities will include building and operating the next generation of cloud-based technologies, platforms, and developer tools to enable innovation, developer efficiency, and accelerate the exponential growth of Nike’s multichannel business.”

Likewise, the Senior Director, Foundational Platform Services (posted 12/10/2020) states:

“If you’re ready to innovate and lead in global technology platforms, join Nike’s Global Technology Enterprise Architecture & Platforms organization! You will be part of an organization that is revolutionizing Nike technology platforms and driving a technology landscape that is simplified, modern, flexible and will ultimately enable Nike on its journey to be a platform-oriented company in 2020 and beyond.

As the leader of Nike’s Global Technology, Enterprise Platform, Foundational Platform Services organization, you will lead a global team of technologists building and operating the foundational technology and runtime services that are the common building blocks that are used throughout Nike Global technology to build and operate “as-a-service”, API driven, platforms at scale enabling all of Nike Global Technology to easily and rapidly digitally transform to an ecosystem of as-a-service experience, core business, and foundational technology platforms.”

All of these positions, in one way or another, seek to harness technologies to build and operate global platforms that bring together communities of customers.   As the Principal Program Manager - Platforms & Patterns Enablement role (posted 12/14/2020) states:  

As a Principle Program Manager, you will be part of a highly visible, strategic team passionate about aligning strategic objectives with tactical demands.

•Drive Enterprise Architecture & Platforms strategic programs to achieve desired results by activating and aligning partners across Global Technology domains.

•Design and lead program structure connecting architecture patterns with composable platforms strategy and delivery

•Define and implement composable strategy standards, patterns and metrics working with Global Technology partners as part of broader Digital Transformation activities

•Partner with CS&D Program peers to iterative to improve customer success & delivery operating model, tools and processes to align platform offering with best practice architecture patterns & practices, enable tools & utilities to accelerate the Global Technology software community.

Nike is not the only major company engaged in programmatic platform hiring but it does stand in the retail sector.  Given its success, we can be safe to assume that others will follow.   As they do, we will likely see more programmatic hiring of platform professionals.


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