Over the past 12 months, Mad Mex CIO John Boyd has had a full plate, overseeing the transition to the cloud and upgrading its full fleet of hardware and software across all Australian restaurants.
“The transition to cloud for Mad Mex has allowed me to really redefine my thoughts about IT. The cloud has provided us with an ability to become true enablers so we can greatly assist with business and personal success for everyone,” says Boyd, who’s been instrumental in introducing several high impact initiatives including business Intelligence and the move to cloud for support office systems.
Indeed, Boyd had a host of IT projects to fulfil – and the communications infrastructure was a good starting point.
“As an entrepreneurial startup company that has been running now for 10 years there was a hangover of multiple types of communications hardware at the stores causing dropouts of connectivity to the POS and EFTPOS,” he says.
“As a first step, we instigated an Australian wide upgrade and standardisation of the communications infrastructure of the Australian stores. Through the standardisation we could quickly identify the root causes of several issues that had been originally attributed to the POS system but was actually related to the communications lines and internet reliability.”
As such, Boyd says the company implemented a centralised dashboard monitoring system which identified where issues were occurring at restaurants, but also proactively enabled preventative fixes before they occurred.
“This increased the reliability, reduced overall downtime and reduced the time taken to fix faults. With the upgrade also came free Wi-Fi for our customers to all of our stores. This is another channel in which we can connect with our customers and be able to utilise this key customer information in the upcoming CRM project. The collection of our data is key to the next stage of understanding our customers and building personalised and tailored communications.”
Additionally, he embarked on an upgrade of the POS system to the Oracle cloud based Simphony system.
“The project cut the reliance on the back-office PC (using Windows XP) which had been required for the workstations to function. In addition to the advanced functionality provided by Simphony there is now an intuitive, fast order entry design for the POS.”
The final piece was the back-office PCs which were upgraded with the latest Windows and Office 365.
“The move to a browser based interface and the shear amount of change (practically everything has been upgraded) has had a large impact on the business. Luckily the nature of an entrepreneurial start up embraces innovation and change,” Boyd explains.
“Communication and collaboration has been key between departments by having regular meetings with clear ownership and win-win mentality and with our vendors, treating them like partners rather than vendors and also with our franchisees, bringing them along on the journey with us.”
Power of data
With more and more choices and competitors on the market, Boyd says he has learned that “the point of differentiation” is a company’s data and how it gets utilised.
“Personalisation and a deep connection to the customer is the new bar that has been set.
The introduction and ongoing development of our SQL 2014 business Information system has been key in creating the ‘one source of truth’.
“Being able to segment and report on the data from our point Of sale system and combine it with other company specific sources provides us the ability to create management reports at the touch of button and use those insights to look at sales opportunities, understand our customers, reduce our costs and optimise our rostering and ordering.”
And now that the company, Boyd says, is “in control” of its data, it can leverage this, along with its move to the cloud, to develop a competitive advantage.
“Our data is instantly available and we can analyse any number of different ways; at basket level or at like-for-like at store level for example. Now that we have Wi-Fi data, Facebook and Loyalty data we are now working on CRM and machine learning to take us to the next level, having the power to mine the diamonds out of the data.”
Eyeing the future, Boyd says the ultimate goal is the personalisation of the data to be able to paint a clear picture of who the customer is and how Mad Mex can relate to them and create a connection to the brand.
“The biggest lesson I have learnt is understanding the increasing connection and personalisation that technology now provides. Technology has increasingly become about finding seamless processes, creating convenience, yet allowing each experience to benefit a different person. Technology is getting smarter and changing daily which has broadened my thinking and approach to tackling situations.”