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CIOs mean business

Beth Stackpole | Aug. 2, 2016
This year's CIO 100 honorees are serious about winning customers and driving revenue.

With the AnyWare system, customers can place orders on an array of devices not necessarily known for supporting ecommerce, including smartphones, smartwatches, smart TVs and, more recently, the Sync entertainment and communication system found in Ford vehicles, as well as Amazon's Echo wireless speaker and voice command platform. The ability to order with a tweet, text, voice command or emoji gives customers the flexibility and convenient digital experience they crave (there are currently 16 options for digital ordering) while at the same time promoting the Domino's brand in leading social forums.

The first step in the journey was to create a user profile that stored critical identifying information like order history, including a customer's last or favorite order, preferred method of payment, a go-to Domino's location, communications preferences and contact information, including Twitter handles and mobile phone numbers. "Once we started to do that, the technology to support everything else started to galvanize," Vasconi says.

The company made its first foray into digital ordering in 2013 with a system called Easy Order, which let customers save their favorite pizza orders in their profiles on Dominos.com. Then came the AnyWare technology, creating the foundation for customers to order via the newest devices. At first, in 2014, there was voice ordering with Dom, the Domino's version of a digital assistant voice command platform. Then the tweet-to-order system followed in May 2015. For the latter, software continuously monitors public tweets with exact keywords, checking them against the database for registered customers with that Twitter account. If a match is found, the system initiates a direct message to the user for confirmation and, once that happens, the ordering software shoots out a rough delivery estimate via direct message, employing analytics to calculate the number of orders underway at the selected location along with factors like distance to the user's location.

In addition to the data warehouse, analytics and mobile and social technology pieces, another core building block is a 24/7 fault-tolerant infrastructure, which Domino's set out to build in parallel to the AnyWare ordering capability. The company went from one and a half data centers when it started to three data centers globally, investing in technologies like failover and the Akamai content delivery network to boost performance and help it stay ahead of the growth curve. "We didn't have to build everything on day one, but we need it all today," Vasconi says, explaining that more than half of the company's business now comes from digital orders, and half of those are from mobile platforms, representing an estimated $4 billion annually in global sales.

While CIOs must play a key role helping corporate leaders navigate what's possible with technology, Vasconi says a project of this magnitude really needs to be a partnership -- in this case, between his office, the CMO and the CEO. "That kind of triad working together to deliver on this vision is what made it all possible," he says. "Not everything we did was a complete success, and we had to be able to fail fast and move on and make that part of our culture."

 

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