Pizza lunches and an annual IT Oscars are all part of Colin Rees’s breezy approach to driving IT at Domino’s. But while there’s fun, there’s also deadly seriousness. He has successfully led the introduction of a new ERP system across supply chain and finance to break down organisational silos, end the over-reliance on spreadsheets and manual processes, and develop a new joined-up way of working, with greater controls and scalability.
How are you influencing the products, customer experience and services your organisation offers to its customers?
During my time at Domino’s the customer experience has been transformed through the use of technology. From our roots as a traditional bricks and mortar business, our e-commerce sales have grown to over 70%, and mobile sales are over 50% of digital sales. This transformation has a profound effect on the customer and our franchisees, and on the reliance on the IT function.
In store: Most of the telephones have now gone, and staff focus on delivering and making great-tasting pizza as opposed to answering the phones. The stores are much quieter and are able to cope with a far larger volume of orders with a store of the same size.
For the customer: The customer obviously has a great experience online. The customer satisfaction surveys tell us they prefer to order online – there are fewer mistakes and they spend a little bit more.
For the IT function: Well the IT function has grown dramatically and had to tackle a range of new and challenging problems. For example, when taking an order over the phone it was easy to set the customer’s expectations regarding delivery times; the IT function has had to find a way of using technology to do the same thing.
Define the key business outcomes that you have delivered over the last 12 months and their impact on your organisation’s performance
There are so many, but perhaps if I pick a couple of the most significant ones.
- Cyber security. In 2016 we embarked on our biggest ever cybersecurity programme after recently becoming a level-one vendor for PCI compliance purposes. To achieve compliance, a huge range of processes and practices had to be tested and adjusted. It was a hugely challenging task for the team and I am proud of their achievement. For the business, the programme has given increased confidence in our readiness for an attack, and has enabled us to respond much better to threats as and when they arise.
- ERP system go-live. A two-year programme to replace our core finance and supply chain management systems went live in September 2016. Although not the original plan, this significant business change was planned and led by myself. The new system went live successfully without a single delivery being missed. The system will enable the business to cope with growth efficiently as well as provide the management information to drive further process improvements.
What has been your involvement with innovation at your organisation – in particular, with products, business model and technology – over the last 12 months?
Innovation is at the heart of the technology function at Domino’s. In partnership with our partners in the marketing and store operations function, we have identified and developed a number of POCs, which we have then tested with our franchisees and customers. One area where we are innovating is using GPS technology to improve the efficiency of our stores. In 2016 we started a trial of GPS technology in support of our delivery drivers. The results are promising, and benefits are seen by our customers, our drivers and our franchisees.
How have you delivered cultural and behavioural change as a CIO within the IT department and/or more broadly across the organisation?
I led the introduction of a new ERP system across supply chain and finance. The system was designed primarily to change the business processes and behaviours in those areas.
Like many organisations who have experienced consistent high levels of growth, we had become over-reliant on spreadsheets and manual processes fulfilled by incredibly dedicated people. We needed to become more process-driven and to break down some of the organisational silos that had developed.
By bringing the various functional experts together to design the new system, we were able to develop a new joined-up way of working, which provides greater controls and is inherently more scalable.
How have you worked with your CEO and/or board to communicate whatever ‘digital’ and IT means to your organisation/sector and improve digital literacy at the highest levels of the organisation?
When we started our digital journey it was really all about the consumer-ordering experience. Over 70% of our business now comes from online, and more than half of that comes from mobile devices.
This year we have started to relook at what ‘digital’ means for us. We created, in conjunction with our operation director and COO, a digital vision for our stores. This comprised a video which demonstrated how our stores might look and operate in five years’ time, and creates an easy-to-understand reference point to the strategy.
Our roadmap then reflects that vision. Already a number of items have been delivered – for example, a digital labelling and temperature monitoring station, which helps the stores manage the various checks that need to be completed.
How have you worked with the technology and IT vendor market to achieve your business goals? How have you been able to influence IT suppliers and successfully manage your partnerships/relationships with large IT companies, SMEs and startups?
We have a number of key partners who have helped us deliver our strategies and plans, and we work with them very much as partners rather than a simple supplier/customer relationship. I think one example of this would be our relationship with our telecoms supplier. Working closely with this organisation has allowed us to deliver a store network that is best in class in terms of both cost and reliability. We have also been able to develop an innovative 4G solution for when problems do occur.
How have you tried to develop the diversity of your team?
In today’s IT world, where high-quality people are a real challenge to recruit, we have had to focus our efforts on making Domino’s IT a great place to work. This is achieved through a number of different activities and events. For example:
- We have regular pizza lunches where we get the whole team together to celebrate a particular success for great result delivered by the team.
- We create a fun social atmosphere by encouraging a degree of horseplay and fun (after the day job is done, of course).
- And the highlight of the year is our IT Oscars, which is an end of year celebration for the whole team, brought to life by a very cheesy but fun event.
Creating this culture enables us not only to have very good rates of retention, but also to attract the best talent from diverse areas.
Describe how you organise and operate IT and how this aligns effectively with business strategy and operations
IT at Domino’s is organised on a demand/supply model.. On the demand side, we have systems managers, who work with their relevant directors to develop a roadmap of change aligned to each function’s strategic goals.
IT services focus on ensuring that existing services are delivered reliably and at the best possible value. And, of course, we have a software delivery function for internally developed solutions.
Supporting these areas are security and architecture, who have the tough role of ensuring that it all works together.
What strategic technology deals have you made in the last year and who are your main suppliers and IT partners?
In 2016 we agreed a deal with Tableau to provide a suite of business intelligence and data visualisation tools for us and our franchisees. The toolset is absolutely fantastic, and although we are in the early stages of roll-out the signs that it will be transformative for our business are excellent.
What are your key strategic aims for next year?
- Help our franchisees become more efficient in their stores.
- Provide better management information and use it to make better decisions.
- Make our corporate processes more efficient and scalable using our ERP system.
- Get even better at e-commerce and extend our lead.
How are you preparing for any impacts Brexit might have on your organisation?
It’s in the early stages at the moment, but we have adopted a more agile planning cycle to enable us to react faster as the market changes and as the impact becomes clearer.
When did you start your current role?
What is your reporting line?
Are you a member of the executive leadership?
Are you a member of the board of directors?
How often do you meet with your organisation’s CEO or equivalent?
How many people at your organisation does your function supply services to?
What percentage of your budget is operational spend (ie keeping the lights on) and how much new development (ie innovation, R&D, exploratory IT)?
70/30 towards new developments.
Rank the following sources of advice/information in order of importance:
- CIO peers
- Analyst houses
- Industry bodies
Has your organisation detected a cyber intrusion in the last 12 months?
Are you expecting an increase in budget specific to security in order to tackle the cyber threat?
Does your organisation have a designated security professional – CISO or otherwise – and what is their relationship to you?
Yes, direct report
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?
Does your IT organisation operate an apprenticeship scheme?
How many employees are there in your IT team?
Are you increasing your headcount or planning to bring skills and the ability to react to needs in-house?
Which technologies or areas are you expecting to be investing in over the next year?
- data analytics/business intelligence
- machine learning/artificial intelligence
- devices (mobile).
Which technologies or areas are you expecting to be investing in over the next one to three years?
- data analytics/business intelligence
- enterprise applications
- machine learning/artificial intelligence
- devices (mobile).
What emerging technologies are you investigating or expect to have a big impact on your sector or organisation?
Deep learning will have a huge impact.
Does your organisation do a significant amount of trade with the EU?
Does your department include technology staff from the EU?
Are you or have you been looking to the EU to recruit key skills?