by George Nott

Hungry Jack’s whopper of a transformation

Oct 18, 2016
Cloud Computing

Hungry Jacks is kicking of a major cloud first strategy in coming weeks by replacing a number of its decade old, internally developed business applications.

CIO Bruce Nolte, who joined the burger chain two years, said the transformation was the start of his team becoming a ‘partner and enabler’ to the wider business.

“We can innovate and concentrate on the things that are important for our business. Which in our case is making burgers,” Nolte said. “You can be focused on innovation and getting things to market quickly as opposed to sitting in your office, behind closed doors with a propeller on your head, keeping the lights on.”

The transformation begins with the implementation of an Oracle cloud ERP, which will be the foundation for other cloud app switch outs.

“There were a number of our systems that we had in play that had been in play for 10 to 15 years,” Nolte said. “They were suitable at the time but as with most business systems that are on premise and in-house developed, you customise them but ultimately over time you make those systems somewhat inflexible and old school.”

As the company – the largest Burger King franchise in the world after the US – eyed new technologies and the internet of things, the bespoke system was showing its limitations, Nolte said.

“The application had been started off as a financial and accounting kind of a package and grown into an ERP,” he explained. “You’ve got in-house developers and they understand that platform and the relevant platform they work with and they’ll do a bit of this and they’ll do a bit of integration… before you know it you’ve got this mix and match of highly intertwined code. When the business asks for a change over here it breaks something over there.”

The implementation time of the Oracle ERP will be around five months from commission to completion, Nolte said.

“It’s a starting point for us but it’s a solid platform that will allow us to be flexible and be innovative and work with the business. [It] allows you to leapfrog your business forward and mature your business out of the box,” he added.

Vendor grilling

Cloud adoption was changing Hungry Jacks as well as Nolte’s status within the business, and the make-up of his team.

“The typical CIO, even five years ago, your focus was 80 per cent keeping the lights on,” Nolte said. “You were worrying about things like infrastructure and there were dashboards and operating systems: teams of people keeping the lights on. Those types of services and things almost become a commodity now. You can take them off the menu.

“I want to be thought of as being that business partner and enabler as opposed to the CIO who keeps the lights on.”

With the bespoke system being phased out and new vendors to manage, the make-up of Nolte’s team was changing, he said. Although it is likely to remain around 20-strong, their focus would be different.

“The mixture and the skillset of those people is changing. We’re going from having a handful of developers that were in the code to people that are more vendor management.”

Developers desire to make the switch varied from person to person Nolte said.

“If you’re a developer you like to sit and fiddle with code. You like to make things happen and be the owner. Fiddle and tweaking and creating. Vendor managers would be more about the business and processes and also be able to manage service levels and negotiate. And keep the vendor honest.”

Hungry Jack’s CIO Bruce Nolte