If I asked you to name a poster child for successful ITSM over the past decade, look no further than Domino’s. The pizza Goliath has quietly become one of the most profitable tech companies in the world, using innovative IT service management processes to crush their competition.
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For more than 10 years now, Domino's has personified not only why it’s so important to invest in emerging IT but also how to execute a long-term implementation strategy with precision and confidence. The results speak for themselves, with around 60% of their sales now coming from purely digital channels.
Their successful IT investment and deployment strategy has also done wonders for their stock price, with growth that has raised the eyebrows of even the biggest Silicon Valley giants. This decade alone, Domino's’ stock has outperformed tech giants like Google and Apple, as well as the rest of the S&P 500, by a wide margin.
The future continues to look bright for Domino's as well. Millions of dollars’ worth of pizza sales up for grabs as flailing pizza brands like Papa John’s struggle to get their act together. In a world where convenience and instant gratification rule the consumer market, the Michigan-based company continues to dominate its niche.
How did they pull off such an amazing turnaround? The answer starts and ends with a commitment to the latest tech tools and an agile change management framework that allowed them to build the best possible ITSM strategy. With their foundation in place, the company is primed for many more years of success in the digital culinary marketplace.
Let’s break down their incredible ITSM success story!
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: The first step in solving any problem is to recognize that there is one.
Most companies would relegate those realizations to board room meetings and hushed water cooler conversation, but Domino's actually made their reckoning public. They produced long-form online ads and shortened TV versions that admitted they had been delivering a subpar product to consumers for sometime.
It’s a bold move and one that could’ve easily backfired if they hadn’t implemented a strategy for widespread organizational change. This meant not simply coming up with a new pizza recipe, which they did, but really starting over in terms of meeting their customers’ needs from the moment they placed their order to the second their pie was delivered.
The man responsible for spearheading this turnaround was CEO Patrick Doyle, who stepped down in 2018. It was one of the most successful leadership runs in the history of modern business.
“You can either use negative comments to get you down, or you can use them to excite you and energize your process to make a better pizza,” Doyle said in the aforementioned video campaign. “We did the latter.”
Domino’s took additional steps to go from a business that was bogged down by too many time-consuming, manual process that provided little visibility to a company focused on creating a streamlined, automated operational standard that made synchronicity and cross-department integration much easier.
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That enthusiasm helped expand and reinforce their customer-facing digital empire, emphasizing cutting-edge technology integration as a way to make ordering their product as easy as possible for consumers.
During Doyle’s time at the helm, Domino’s became known as a tech company that happened to make its money selling pizza.
"We used to be a pizza company that sells online and we needed to become an e-commerce company that sells pizza," Domino's Chief Digital Officer Dennis Maloney told the Detroit Free Press. "That was one of the big aha moments that caused a lot of conversation within the company."
Focusing on that larger goal not only opened up revenue streams that their competitors weren’t fully leveraging at the dawn of the 2010s, but it also helped the brand ingratiate itself with a new digital-first generation of consumers.
As one such customer told the Free Press: "They understand people's desire to have things when they want it, how they want it — and get it through the channels they use. It's genius." From devices like Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa to Facebook Messenger bots, the ordering possibilities are pretty much endless.
Jon Hall explains why this pivot in mentality is so important to long-term ITSM success:
“Most enterprise IT functions were built around service provision, rather than product innovation, and around the needs of employees rather than external customers. Digital transformation will change this to a greater or lesser extent for every company.”
As Forbes’ Alicia Kelso observed in 2018, the pace at which Domino’s expanded their technological infrastructure was something completely unprecedented in the food industry:
“On Doyle’s watch, the company has served as an industry case study of sorts, particularly in the delivery and digital spaces. On the delivery side, the company has been pressed about how it will maintain its competitive edge as more brands [...] In fact, while [other] brands dive into delivery for the first time, Domino’s is now delivering to customers using hot spots on the beach and other locations that don’t have a physical address. Doyle calls the company's hot spot initiative a ‘game changer’ that will redefine delivery convenience [...] Also, and underscoring the company’s prioritization of forward-thinking technologies, Domino’s is thinking years ahead, testing driverless cars in Miami with Ford.”
Additional in-house software development initiatives included “zero click” ordering using the pizza emoji on your mobile device, and Pizza Mogul, a virtual pizza design platform that gave users the chance to make huge sums of money.
However, that consistently high level of innovation wasn’t an automatic. It required a culture reset and the message that the company was going to embrace risk-taking instead of running from it.
For Domino's, prioritizing the UX side of their ITSM practices meant they’d be setting sail in waters previously uncharted by companies in the food industry. That uncertainty, however, wasn’t going to be the force that held Doyle and his leadership team back.
"I think the vast majority of companies are far too conservative in how they approach risk,” the former CEO said in 2015. “They simply spend too much time trying to figure out how to de-risk.”
He made sure that the company backed that statement up, with the first iteration of Pizza Mogul going live just five months after development on the project began.
Getting the most out of your software development initiatives and your business’ overall approach to being agile means you have to be okay with making mistakes and adapting how you work just as quickly as what you’re working on. Companies that wait for the “perfect moment” to deploy a new feature, app or operational automation are those who’ll miss their chance to be the true innovators in their respective industries.
"If there is one thing we did particularly well at Domino's," Doyle told Investors Business Daily, "it's how we thought about investment and risk, and how that has driven growth in our business. We are simply not afraid of making mistakes. We have moved and changed this business at a pace that is dramatic and very unusual for a more traditional business."
That logic became more deeply embedded within the organization with each passing year, even when their digital experiments went awry at first. A good example of this was the company’s Twitter integration, which led to rampant connectivity issues between the platform and their online pizza ordering interface.
"We literally were breaking various things with Twitter all sorts of times, because they just weren't used to that type of commerce experience," Maloney told Wired back in 2016. "We were building and creating new APIs going back and forth between the two organizations." However, it’s precisely that boldness of spirit that has helped Domino’s reign supreme.
As Doyle points out, no business should justify stale ITSM practices by falling back on a “do no harm” mindset:
"Often people feel far more remorse and guilt about something they do that doesn't work out well, than something they don't do that causes some amount of damage or lost opportunity [...] Some of the most damaging words ever written are the Hippocratic Oath, 'First, do no harm.' It doesn't say, 'go out and heal people.' It says don't do anything as a doctor that may actually hurt somebody. That slows down the pace of medicine, slows down innovation."
For more on the kinds of heroes your organization needs to execute meaningful cultural change as part of your digital transformation, check out our blog!
Now that Domino’s is seen as the culinary industry’s foremost authority on IT investment and digital innovation, the question becomes: How will they maintain their dominance as technology continues to evolve at such a rapid pace.
The answer starts with their ability to keep their key IT services up and running on a consistent basis, especially as other industry titans try and take a bite out of their digital market share. “We are the technology disruptors,” Doyle said of his company’s mindset. “We’re making every effort to keep every advantage we worked so hard to build.”
Their future success also hinges on their continued integration of the latest tech tools into their ordering and delivery workflows. Among these potential initiatives is using driverless cars to streamline how they get pizzas to customers.
"It probably won't come as fast as everybody is saying, but faster than anybody believes," Maloney said of automated delivery. "We are well past the conversation now if autonomous vehicles are coming. Now, it's a question of when and how."
Transitioning from a human-led interface to a completely digital one means getting customers just as comfortable with that mission as their employees. The same applies for the company’s continued investment in cloud computing resources, as well as its newfound AI quality control system that ensures each pie is perfectly cooked.
The latter, billed as “the world’s first smart scanner,” uses an intricate ceiling-mounted camera interface to make certain that every pizza looks like the ones in the organization’s marketing photos. Nick Knight, CEO of Domino’s in Australia and New Zealand, said it’s a direct response to their top regional customer complaint.
Our #1 customer complaint is “My pizza doesn’t look like it should!". So, we introduced DOM Pizza Checker - world-first technology which is set to drastically improve product quality and consistency throughout all Domino’s stores in Australia and New Zealand! pic.twitter.com/Ve4WUizTuC— Domino's Australia (@Dominos_AU) May 26, 2019
During a run that included 30 consecutive quarters of same-store sales growth, exponential stock growth and their brand repositioning as one of e-commerce’s cool kids, Domino’s has certainly proven that a strong ITSM strategy and commitment to innovation can bring any company to the forefront of the digital revolution.
Since Doyle’s departure, Domino’s has seen their stronghold diminish somewhat as the food delivery wars reach a fever pitch. That said, they remain steadfast in their long-term dedication to pushing themselves to reach new heights from an IT service standpoint.
“The Grubhubs and Uber Eats of the world will [challenge] us,” says Art D’Elia, Domino’s Chief Brand and Innovation Officer, told Fast Company. “We need to keep pushing ourselves to maintain our advantage.”
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Originally published Aug 6, 2019 9:00:00 AM