With Starbucks experimenting with out-of-store ordering and moving to a franchising business model, Robert Teagle's willingness to embrace change, think differently, and be flexible and pragmatic will be one of the key success factors for a business taking new paths.
When did you start your current role?
What is your reporting line?
Technology and business.
Do you meet with and discuss business strategy with the CEO every week?
Are you a member of the board of directors?
What other executive boards do you sit on?
EMEA IT leadership.
Does your organisation have a CDO?
What non-technology responsibilities do you have in the organisation?
How many employees does your organisation have?
Does your organisation carry out significant trade in the EU?
How many users does your department supply services to?
How do you ensure that you have a good understanding of your business and how your customers use your business's products?
In Starbucks, we are very close to our products and customers – just through the everyday interaction with our stores. But from an IT perspective, we hold monthly meetings with all GMs of the business units to discuss strategy, service, etc, and quarterly we survey all IT users to make sure we understand how IT is impacting the service of our customers. Customer feedback comes from mostly our digital channels, particularly in the use of our mobile app, website, etc.
Starbucks technology strategy and agenda
Is your organisation being disrupted by the internet, mobility or technology-oriented start-ups?
Are you empowered by your organisation to disrupt from the inside?
Describe a disruptive measure you’ve led or played a major part in
We are just about to pilot out-of-store ordering through our mobile application. This is being led by technology, but heavily supported by the CEO and business functions. This is the equivalent of click and collect, or moving to an omnichannel environment for us – something that is difficult to do bearing in mind our product offering.
What major transformation project has been recently completed or is under way at your organisation?
We are going through a shift of ownership and refranchising a large portion of the UK, pushing heavily on franchising for growth. This is a big shift for the organisation and requires different thinking from a technology perspective.
What impact will the above transformation have on your organisation?
Huge as the business moves from mostly running stores to being a business partner/franchisor. It requires a different relationship and business model as we are now providing a service which is being paid for by the franchisee. New roles, business processes, activities and technology are required to support this move.
How has your leadership style contributed to the outcomes of the transformation project?
By being willing to embrace change, think disruptedly about how to manage the transition, then provide a strategy and vision for the team to implement. With a new business model, we also need to be flexible and pragmatic as the business evolves – this is another key trait to my leadership style.
What key technologies do you consider enable transformation?
Any technology can enable transformation, depending on what's required from the transformation. There are certain traits that probably help to facilitate and enable transformation, such as flexibility, fast to market, lower implementation and support costs, wide adoption, etc.
Are you increasing the number of cloud applications or infrastructure in use at your organisation?
What is your information and data analytics vision for the organisation?
Our vision is built around the vast amount of customer, transaction and loyalty data we get from our stores and customers. So we are building platforms that supplement the traditional reporting required to run the business, with additional analytics from wider data sources. We are currently going through understanding what data elements are of value and how we would use this in our business going forward.
How is mobile and social networking impacting operations and customer experience?
Massively. Customers are heavily using mobile and social media in their day-to-day lives, and expect brands that they interact with to operate in the same domains. So we also need to exist in the social world, and need a strong mobile presence that enhances the customer experience in-store. This extends internally as well: as employees in-store also embrace this technology, we need to provide platforms that meet this demand.
Describe your strategic vision towards shadow IT and BYOD. How do you influence and engage executives and employees around choice?
Our shadow IT strategy is IT – we are the ones best placed to aid the business with IT projects. For very low-impact projects, we will be a consultant on the project but for the rest we will run and implement the project for the business. BYOD is available in certain situations, but on the whole most people will take the corporate device as their first preference. There is a desire to keep personal and professional devices separate within our user base.
What strategic technology deals have been struck and with whom?
With our key suppliers – BT, Unisys, Oracle, Micros, NCR.
Who are your main suppliers?
BT, Unisys, Oracle, Micros and NCR.
Starbucks IT security and budget
Has your organisation detected a cyber intrusion in the last 12 months?
Has cyber-security risen up your management agenda?
Does your organisation understand the potential cyber-security threats it faces?
Has this led to an increase in your security budget?
What is the IT budget?
How much is the IT operational spend compared to the revenue as a percentage?
What is the strategic aim of the CIO and IT operations for the next financial year?
The main strategic aims for IT are:
• Optimise customer-facing technology
• Innovate in customer-facing technology
• Adopt new business models and required technology
• Ensure efficiency within IT operations and costs (not cost-cutting)
Are you finding it difficult to recruit the talent you need to drive transformation?
Has recruitment and retention risen up your agenda as a CIO?
Are you looking for recruits in the EU to fill the skills shortage you have?
Does your IT organisation operate an apprenticeship scheme?
Starbucks technology department
How would you describe your leadership style?
Democratic, coaching, strategic, transactional at times, relationship-driven and delivering results.
Explain how you’ve supported and developed your senior leadership team to support your overall objectives and vision
Senior leaders go through development sessions, and individual plans for their career progression, but also in support of the overall IT strategy. Key is to develop their roles each year with growth and stretch targets to push them out of their comfort zones. I am a coach and mentor to these leaders to help guide them in the right direction.
How many employees are in your IT team?
What is the split between in-house/outsourced staff?
Does your team include key skilled workers from the EU?