CIO Australia is running its second annual CIO50 list which recognises Australia\u2019s top 50 IT most innovative and effective IT chiefs who are influencing change across their organisations.\nThis year\u2019s top 50 CIO list will be judged by some of Australia\u2019s leading IT and digital minds. Our illustrious judging panel in 2017 includes the Australian government\u2019s former chief digital officer and now Stone Chalk \u2018expert in residence\u2019 Paul Shetler; and former Microsoft Australia MD and now CEO, strategic innovation at Suncorp, Pip Marlow.\nNominate for the 2017 CIO50\nWe take a look back at last year\u2019s top 25. Today, we profile Christian Mc Gilloway, head of digital at Retail Zoo who slotted in at number 12.\nRead Christian's story below:\n#12: Christian Mc Gilloway, head of digital, Retail Zoo\nIn 2014, Bain Capital acquired food franchise organisation, Retail Zoo and since then, using data to reach customers in the most effective way possible has been a big focus. Retail Zoo\u2019s brands include Boost Juice Bars, Salsa\u2019s Fresh Mex Grill, Cibo Espresso, and Hatch Chicken Shop.\nUp until fairly recently, communication to the organisation\u2019s customer base was limited even though it had created a database of 1.6 million buyers with Boost\u2019s VIBE loyalty card \u2013 one of the largest in the \u2018quick service restaurant\u2019 (QSR) sector.\nRetail Zoo introduced a digital department and its head of digital is Christian Mc Gilloway. After completing a digital transformation framework for a single customer in 2015 through the integration of Salesforce Marketing Cloud and the Boost App into the organisation, Mc Gilloway has spent the past year focusing on digital marketing and loyalty.\nOriginally focused on bridging the gap between marketing and IT with a focus on customer experience, digital now effects and interacts with all departments from operations to learning and development, through to franchising.\nIn 2015, Mc Gilloway gave a presentation on gamification and its effectiveness in changing behaviour to Boost\u2019s founders and senior management team. With a background in game development, Mc Gilloway led the creation of a game that could achieve brand noise and loyalty.\nIt would also address one particular business issue: Boost needed to address a reduction in the frequency of customer transactions.\n\u201cWe wanted to create a solution to increasing a customer\u2019s frequency into store, as opposed to them visiting on their own time,\u201d says Mc Gilloway. \u201cWe know that 32 per cent of people\u2019s time is spent on smart devices playing games \u2013 on tablets, that rises to 67 per cent.\u201d\nMc Gilloway and his team knew that if they created the right casual game, the \u2018stickiness\u2019 of continued customer engagement would be invaluable.\n\u201cThe game had to be user-friendly and fun. Using a match three formula for the game, we knew it was something gamers were familiar with and an engaging method for gameplay at any age,\u201d he says.\nThe team created time-sensitive coupons, which could be removed from the app after seven days. Vouchers could also be redeemed at specific times of the day, increasing trade during quieter periods.\nIn March this year, Boost Juice released \u2018Free the Fruit\u2019, its first mobile game in the app stores. This marked a big milestone in Boost\u2019s history as it went against everything that the company knew about conventional marketing. The company was releasing a game with minimal branding that dispensed freed drinks for customers, and did not require players to sign up to the loyalty database.\nThe work Mc Gilloway\u2019s team has carried out has significantly improved customer engagement, which has had a direct result on transactions and sales growth.\nFree the Fruit was a runaway success, driving 11 per cent of transactions and over $1 million in revenue for the organisation over an eight-week period.\nA new Boost app, released in January this year under Mc Gilloway\u2019s leadership, is also providing Boost with a big competitive advantage in the food and beverage and QSR sector.\nMore than 41 per cent of all drinks ordered are being \u2018customised\u2019 by consumers using a feature in the app. The app has seen an uplift of 1800 per cent on orders on Tuesdays when particular drinks cost $5.\nThis has been strategically orchestrated by sending specific advertisements through push notifications and social media through Salesforce based on purchasing data through our loyalty system,\u201d says Mc Gilloway.\n\u201cWith 750,000 downloads and more than 300,000 active users, the app has the potential to be one of the most powerful tools at our disposal.\u201d\nAn introduction to Agile\nMc Gilloway introduced the organisation to using Agile methodologies to produce these apps. The move to a new way of working was initially quite challenging for some senior executives to grasp \u2013 those who had come from a traditional sequential development lifecycle.\nThe projects appeared to no longer have a completion date but instead have multiple checkpoints where the business could receive working versions of both applications where changes could be made and priorities defined.\nMost importantly, these new processes required a \u2018leap of faith\u2019 from Boost\u2019s partner network. For \u2018Free the Fruit, the company created more than one million coupons comprising of free and discounted products.\nIn the first few weeks, many partners found it challenging to see the benefit of engaged players and prizing people with discounted product they feared would cannibalise their sales.\n\n\u201cAll of the obstacles and challenges were overcome simply through faith and trust in the brand and team. We had seen so many foreign and domestic companies not adapt to the disruption which digital was having in their industry and suffer because of it,\u201d he says.\nHaving digital expertise has saved Retail Zoo hundreds of thousands of dollars, allowing the organisation to not only do more work than they were able to previously but in a more agile and reactive manner.\nExperimentation with machine learning\nMc Gilloway and his team are currently experimenting with machine learning, bots and wearables inside the Boost app. They are using customer purchasing data collected through the app to predict customer ordering patterns.\n\u201cWe are able to identify patterns through the customisation of drinks to reorganise and display preferred drinks choices to individuals as well as communicate offers around these drinks at those customers at specific retention and purchase times,\u201d says Mc Gilloway.\n\u201cAs a collective whole, we are able to qualify and share this data with our product team to aid in the development of new drinks.\u201d\nThe team has also started to create a \u2018chat bot\u2019 that will live inside the app, communicating the benefits of the products and assist in ordering drinks. Running this inside Facebook Messenger will allow the organisation to reach new audiences and take advantage of new payment processes.\nRetail Zoo is also taking a close look at the wearables market in Australia, says Mc Gilloway. The Boost app already interfaces with the Apple Watch and Android wearables but when the team looked at porting the ordering platform to wearables, \u2018it felt too forced,\u2019 he says.\n\u201cThe key attributes we were looking at utilising such as activity tracking for rewards for loyalty and location for geo-fencing were accessible through \u2018in phone SDKs\u2019 so we have turned our attention to using these instead,\u201d he says.