Which brings up a question we're constantly asking our CIOs: Is the use of technology being dictated by the business side or by the IT execs?
Oliver: We're in front of the business folks as much as possible. We seek their ideas. We want to know what will directly serve their business needs. We firmly believe that technology serves business, not the other way around. Ultimately, we seek to have business drive 95 percent of everything we do. We also push decision making far down the chain because we maintain a highly decentralized organizational structure. Our store associates are dealing directly with customers. They know what they want. They know what's selling. They exchange ideas on this with our division managers, and that gets pushed up within our company. The technology departments are tuned into this, and they then seek products and solutions that meet the business needs being conveyed.
Has Yum! been able to determine ROI on the use of collaboration tools?
Oliver: We're exploring this. We know collaboration through these resources helps drive the business. Right now, we're focused on establishing and encouraging this kind of information-sharing environment. We want the next generation of workers to know that we are providing for them in this space, and we want them to use it to build and share best practices.How have you adapted to best serve the needs of your mobile customers?
Oliver: We allow many of these strategies to be determined at the brand level. We have a Pizza Hut application on the iPhone, for example. You can load it on your device and order any product in our stores.The use of mobile devices at work is, more and more, determined by users' personal preferences. How is this affecting Yum! Brands? Have you had to establish best practices, policies and procedures?
Oliver: It's something we continue to evaluate with the proliferation of Androids, iPhones, BlackBerrys and other such devices. We mainly work to ensure that we can support the tools needed by our employees to perform their jobs. We want to make sure their experience is user-friendly to promote more collaboration, but we also need these communications to be secure.
How invested are you in cloud computing?
Oliver: The cloud is a buzzword that means different things to different people. We're heavily virtualized on our internal servers, and that's the first step in getting "to the cloud." We were way out ahead in that game, launching virtualization nearly five years ago. Now we're always looking for the best business-serving solutions with respect to software and internally hosted applications, and many of these are available in a private or public cloud offering.
Have you opted for the public cloud or a private model?
Oliver: It's predominately private. That's the easiest one for us to secure.How involved is the company with respect to monitoring and evaluating the comments that customers make about your stores on social media outlets?
Oliver: We have social media managers who are tasked to do this. We're obviously very interested in what customers have to say. We track customer-response trends, sentiments and conversations. It's a big space, and it's evolving rapidly over time.If there was one "magic power" you could get out of collaborative mobile technology, what would it be? Oliver: There are so many providers in this space, and so many more appear to be on the horizon. The mobile industry needs to standardize how these devices "talk" to each other, so they can all interact in a seamless way. Our associates are using a large variety of individual devices, based on their personal preferences, and they'll continue to do so. So a more standardized approach would only enhance our ability to share information across Yum!
About the Author
Dennis McCafferty is director of content for Welz & Weisel Communications.