Digital transformation relies on refocusing IT—organizationally and financially—around the customer experience. For Subway IT, this has meant launching new programs to enhance guest engagements, improve access to the brand, and win more loyal customers around the world. Using Apptio’s SaaS-based applications to help measure and justify the value of these investments, Subway Digital is reorienting around a standardized IT financial view that instills executive confidence in digital business initiatives.
While CIO and CDO (Chief Information & Digital Officer) at Subway World Headquarters, Carman Wenkoff worked purposefully to restructure IT around customer experience initiatives that add real value to franchisees and the company’s bottom line. This reflected the Subway IT mindset, which is more about helping the business succeed than following business trends.
The team has been very focused on achieving business outcomes, not launching shiny new objects. By putting a spotlight on costs and measuring the benefits for the business, they can focus on the things that are benefitting Subway in a meaningful way and deprioritize those that aren’t having a big impact.
Improving customer engagement
In the past, the guest experience was entirely non-digital, occurring almost entirely within the four walls of a restaurant. But today, customers are making their decisions about where and what to eat outside of the sandwich shop. The company’s own research shows that over 60% of customers decide where they’re going to go within an hour of arriving at the restaurant, and over 40% of them use a mobile device to make that decision.
Subway Digital is transforming the customer experience by reaching customers where they are and making it easy to locate a restaurant, see the menu and nutritional options, and place an order from a mobile device. For the team, the transformation is about leveraging every data point to understand past customer interaction in order to influence future engagement. That’s very different from how they were thinking about IT a couple of years ago.
Standardizing the IT financial view
Getting buy-in from corporate and business unit executives required Subway IT to build confidence in essential investments. That meant changing the way the 52-year-old, privately-held company reviews IT project financials and other data.
To understand true business drivers, the team took an honest look at how IT was collecting financial information and sharing results. They needed to aggregate a granular view of all costs and put the right controls in place, controls that would help generate promised return on investment (ROI) in digital business.
Neville Hamilton, VP of Technology Business Management, is in charge of realigning the company’s unique financial view to industry standards. To accomplish this, he implemented a new IT system of record using Apptio Cost Transparency.“The Apptio TBM Unified Model™ (ATUM™) presented an excellent opportunity to standardize how the organization viewed costs with the rest of the industry. That’s where we started,” said Hamilton. “ATUM allowed us to leverage best practices to provide a comparison point with other companies, which immediately generated more interesting conversations about what things cost and where we’re investing IT spend.”Much of the work revolved around normalizing costs, which allowed IT to organize spend into the right buckets and clarify group structure to mirror best practices and improve accountability. Today, “every individual understands how the work they’re doing maps to the business. And our leadership team has a better understanding of what’s expected, exactly what we’re spending, and where we’re spending it,” said Hamilton.
Given the big investments we’re making, there were a lot of questions being asked, including concerns about having the right controls in place. The work we’ve done to know exactly what we’re spending and how that spend will be linked to returns is easing those concerns.
VP of Technology Business Management