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When someone who has headed two of the top U.S. intelligence agencies speaks, people listen. Former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden recently spoke in London about the need for more transparency among Western intelligence agencies.

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Former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden will offer insights into how national intelligence lessons can help the retail industry.

“Security services don’t get to do what they do without broad public understanding and support,” Hayden said. “Although the public cannot be briefed on everything, there has to be enough out there so that the majority of the population believe what they are doing is acceptable.”

Transparency is likely to be part of Hayden’s the keynote address next week at SAP’s 2013 Retail Forum North America in Dallas. Almost eight in 10 (79 percent of) online shoppers responded that customer information must become more transparent, according to an SAP-sponsored study released Friday.

Hayden’s keynote, “Leadership in a Global Environment,” will address challenges facing the retail industry, according to Colin Haig. And there are numerous challenges.

“The rapid change in the global environment has profound impact on the effectiveness of retail supply chains, efficient operations and on how we must secure our organizations to do business in the nations where we hope to grow,” Haig wrote in September. “Innovation is at the heart of retail transformation.”

Mobile, social and online innovation could yield growth of up to 140 percent, Haig noted. eBay Fashion, Zappos and others will be at the forum to share their experiences with retail innovation.

The Women’s Leadership Breakfast session “Navigating Your Way to the Boardroom” will precede Hayden’s speech on Tuesday. Julie Roehm, senior vice president of marketing at SAP, will be a panelist alongside female executives from CRM service provider Brierly+Partners, marketing firm Freeman+Leonard and apparel company Levi Strauss & Co.

The session’s topics will include career advancement tools, just as the larger forum will discuss productivity enhancing tools. All of this change in retail makes the industry a fertile field for innovation and transformation, subjects Hayden knows very well.

“All U.S. security structures were created in about 1947, and so we are hardwired for the security problems of 1947,” Hayden told the London audience. “So we are taking this hardwired national security structure — which is designed to go this way — and we are trying to get it to go that way.”

SAP Business Trends will feature coverage of the event from Oct. 7 to 9. Get a minute-by-minute account of the Retail Forum on Twitter from @SAP_Retail — and the latest on SAP Industries in general with the hashtag #SAPIndustries.

Follow Derek on Twitter: @DKlobucher. Like this story? Sign up for the SAP Business Trends newsletter here.

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