Digitally Disrupting The Customer Experience

How one pizza brand realised its growth ambitions via digital transformation.

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How one pizza brand realised its growth ambitions via digital transformation.


Digitally Disrupting The Customer Experience

How one pizza brand realised its growth ambitions via digital transformation.

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Digital transformation has long been a buzzword among business leaders who have put it at the top of every agenda for the last decade.

In technical terms, it is the application of digital technologies like mobile, data analytics, and smart devices to reinvent customer relationships and business processes. To illustrate its importance, worldwide spending on digital transformation related technologies and services is expected to approach $2 trillion by 2022 according to IDC.

However, what does digital transformation actually mean to a business? It’s a large all-encompassing term, but fundamentally it’s about employing fast and often rapidly changing digital technology to solve business problems.

This could run the spectrum from simply deploying a new internal tool to the complete modernisation of IT infrastructure, depending on the objectives unique to every business.

No matter where on that spectrum an organisation sits,, the end goal is often the same – an improvement that is designed to a) increase business productivity and b) upgrade customer experience. There are some great examples of brands who’ve embarked on this transformation journey with significant success.

The proof is in the pudding, er… pizza

By 2014 Domino’s was already a well-established global pizza brand, but fast forward five years and it has built an immersive and accessible digital experience for its customers which has delivered soaring revenue growth; former-CEO Patrick Doyle refer to the company as a ‘technology company that happens to make pizza’.

To achieve this, it started by re-structuring the entire corporate hierarchy from the ground up so it could move its focus to digital sales and advertising.

Domino’s then began making changes to its order process. Customers can now request their meals through texting, tweeting and even using their wearable tech or TVs. This ease of access for the customer made a fast impact on sales and efficiency.

Also, using AI, the pizza brand automated its telephone order system with the goal to eventually accept all orders digitally. It also vowed to better integrate its social media as part of the customer feedback process.

After receiving online comments about the ‘crust tasting like cardboard’ and the ‘cheese being processed’, it made significant changes to recipes culminating in a 32% increase in sales. The company regained the trust and business of former customers, which is no easy feat.

There is no doubt the technology needed to drive these changes would have been a significant investment but the proof is in the numbers: Dominos reported profits of $362m in 2018.

Data rich organisations

Look at other businesses such as Nike, which now generate more data than high tech firms did a decade ago.

Its recent acquisition of predictive analytics company Celect has been widely debated as a strategic move to regain ownership of the customer experience by driving membership to its Nike Plus platform – which will generate even more data for the sportswear giant to improve all areas of its customer experience, from health data to subscription services, to product customisation.

Car companies like Mercedes and Tesla outfit their vehicles with hundreds of sensors constantly collecting data to feed back into organisational databases. Tesla for example have embraced digital disruption on its path to creating high volume, affordable connected cars.

Between the computers, sensors and cameras, Tesla’s connected vehicles are designed to ease the customer’s driving experience by not just giving them the illusion of safety but actually making it safer. A data rich business will have a competitive advantage when it comes to transformation of the customer experience.

The importance of buy in

Any kind of transformation in a business can hit roadblocks, the main one being resistance to change. Every team member from the store worker up to C-Suite needs to understand the benefits and ROI of the changes otherwise it will fail before you have even started - define what “success” looks like.

Change should always be made with your customer’s experience in mind, if their interactions with the brand are going to be less than ideal or disturbed in any way you must consider alternative methods.

Domino’s didn’t shut up shop whilst it modernised its IT infrastructure and purchasing methods. Board level buy in is vital, as is business continuity, and evaluation of the company needs holistically – avoiding tunnel vision.

Agility drives transformation

How are you driving technology agility to keep up with changing demands of your business and customers? For many, agility begins with virtualisation; it allows IT teams to make use of hard resources in many different ways, giving them greater agility to embrace transformation.

Domino’s is a key customer of Pure’s, and we worked with them to dramatically simplify and virtual a huge proportion of its environment. This set aside the infrastructure challenges and allowed the company to focus on the application transformation.

Organisations have access to a wealth of data which is critical to maintaining a customer focus and consistently exceeding their expectations.

However, to get actionable insights, maintain a modern pace of innovation and improve operational efficiency, there is a definite need to be analytical and strategic about which workloads and applications live where.

What is critical is that businesses align their digital transformation to their business goals. In the case of Domino’s, it wanted to be viewed as a tech company that happened to make pizza, as well as achieving significant growth.

It has definitely realised these ambitions, and the role of virtualisation to help it do more with data should not be underestimated.

Rob Lee is chief architect at Pure Storage.

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Digitally Disrupting The Customer Experience

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