The New Role for IT: Generator of Innovative Ideas

At Yum Restaurants International, the value of IT is business innovation.

Consumer technology is changing rapidly, and CIOs have to respond just as quickly. And that response often starts with changing the mind-set and culture of our department. IT can no longer wait for the business to tell it what to do.

We need to be aware of what's happening with consumers and our team members, and we need to bring ideas to the table. In old-school IT, the definition of success was keeping the email system up all the time or making sure the right security processes were in place.

Now that's just the cost of doing business. Success is now measured by what we are doing to drive the business and the bottom line. What operational efficiencies can we deliver through technology? What incremental profits do we enable?

I encourage my team to bring any and all ideas to the table. We need to deliver the best ideas to the business frequently. I would rather be told "no" after sharing a bunch of ideas than have people wonder why I never brought any ideas forward at all.

Global Differences

We're often consulted on emerging topics like online and mobile ordering, CRM, and social media, because those areas are all about technology. One of the interesting aspects as a global business is the differences in consumer behavior around the world. For instance, in Asia, the Middle East, the U.K. and Europe, smartphones have rapidly proliferated; however, in places like Africa, feature phones are common, but smartphones are not. This requires us to adapt our strategy according to each market.

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