Osvaldo Mège – Bata
- Written by: David Harry
- Produced by: Diana Carrillo
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
As makers of shoes for almost 130 years, Bata knows one size doesn’t fit all, let alone one style.
Osvaldo Mège knows the same is true for the initiatives and solutions he leads as IT director for the company’s operations in six Latin American countries—even as he wants to standardize the systems and infrastructure as much as possible.
Since joining Bata in February 2021, Mège has spent most of his time implementing new point of sale systems at more than 1,000 company stores while building the infrastructure for Bata’s e-commerce sales.
While completing those tasks, Mège and his team of almost 50 have ensured new systems and the e-commerce program comply with laws that can vary from country to country. They’ve also upgraded the tech stack to accommodate the initiatives. Much of the work has been done remotely because of the COVID-19 pandemic, too.
But it’s work Mège takes in stride because in his 30-year tech career, he’s gone from being a code developer to project management and IT leader at companies including Oracle and Sherwin-Williams.
“No matter the challenge, I don’t give up. It’s related to my entire career story and my work at Bata,” Mège says. “I always look at the glass as half full and I want to continue transmitting my experience and knowledge.”
A systematic approach
Founded in 1894 as a one-man cobbler shop, Bata currently offers a range of styles from high heels to leisure, outdoor and athletic shoes, with brands including Bata, North Star, Power, Bubblegummers, Weinbrenner, Sandak and Toughees. In December 2022, Power shoes launched its Love Ocean line, made with recycled plastic bottles.
Headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, Bata now sells about 150 million pairs of shoes annually. It employs more than 32,000 people around the world and has 5,300 stores in more than 70 countries.
Mège directs Bata’s IT in Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru. Operations include more than 1,000 retail stores as well as manufacturing facilities in Bolivia, Colombia and Mexico.
He joined the company as it was about halfway through implementing new point of sale payment systems at stores in five countries—all but Mexico. However, Mège says the approach was flawed because it wasn’t unified enough in terms of technology or applications.
For example, the software that would recognize customers who are members of loyalty programs so they could be awarded or redeem points and rewards offered by the program needed to be unified, Mège says. The systems also needed a common approach to link to Bata’s sales and inventory areas and handle electronic payments and invoicing, too.
The point of sale systems do have some requirements specific to the five countries, most notably in those where Bata manufactures shoes. That’s because in those countries, it also works with companies that offer discount coupons for shoes as an employee benefit. The point of sale systems need the capability of accepting the coupons and then billing the company providing them, Mège says.
“We needed to implement common solutions where we can turn it on and off for specific features by country, if needed,” he says.
Bata wasn’t the only company that needed to make a quick shift to e-commerce because COVID-19 lockdowns had closed stores, but developing and implementing the platform was one of the first things Mège had to address when he joined the company.
He says it was frequently more of a challenge for coordination than technology, including working with vendors and sales and operations teams throughout Bata, not just in Latin America.
Mège led the development of an e-commerce platform while navigating some language barriers and collaborating with team members and staff around the world who were working remotely. There were also legal details to work through, such as platform pricing that added sales or other taxes in the various nations and securing the customers’ personal data and information.
He says addressing mandated electronic invoicing was a challenge to write into the platform in Bolivia as the requirement was new and the legal definitions changed frequently. Another regulation he needed to comply with is Colombia’s law stating that personal data gathered there can’t be transferred to another nation—even if the organization collecting data is part of a multinational operation.
The e-commerce platforms were rolled out beginning with Peru in April 2021, Chile in July 2021, Ecuador in November 2021 and concluding with Bolivia in January 2022.
Aptitude and experience
Mège followed in his father’s footsteps by working in technology. However, because his father died when he was 6, he only began learning about what his father did as he grew up in Santiago, Chile.
As he grew up, Mège also discovered he had aptitude in math and logic, which translate well to working in IT. He earned scholarships to study and has a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Universidad Mayor in Santiago as well as one in computer and information sciences from Universidad Tecnica Federico Santa Maria in Talcahuano.
Before joining Oracle as a consultant in 1995, Mège was an analyst developer for two Chilean companies. In 1997, he became a project leader guiding implementation of customer relationship management and enterprise resource management systems. His work took him to Silicon Valley and Argentina, but in 2002, he settled into working only in Chile.
In 2011, Mège joined Sherwin-Williams as an ERP analyst in Latin America, and less than a year later, he was named CIO for the company’s operations in Chile and Peru. In 2017, he rejoined Oracle as Latin American solutions leader. He’s also consulted companies independently and was CIO and IT manager for Food Delivery Brands immediately before joining Bata.
“At Bata, we needed internal change management to improve IT standards. I have the vision for solution unification,” he says. “My previous experiences allow me to see the problem areas and focus on solutions.”
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