Wendy's orders big tech shake-up

and more news for digital executives, by journalist Mitch Betts ▸ developments at J. Crew, CVS Health, Nestlé ▸ CxO jobs & appointments ▸ Future job title: analytics translator ▸

Newsletter by Mitch Betts © Ampersand Reports 2018, all rights reserved.
Photo: Wendy’s flagship restaurant in Dublin, Ohio, 2015, by Nheyob, [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Wendy’s takes a ‘fresh look’ at tech, creates a Digital Experience organization; CFO to absorb enterprise IT

At an Aug. 8 quarterly earnings call with analysts, burger chain The Wendy’s Co. announced that CIO David Trimm “will be retiring early next year.” CEO Todd Penegor continued:

With that news, we have taken a fresh look at all of our technology platforms and will refocus our leadership structure moving forward to ensure we continue to leverage technology across all we do. All of our digital initiatives will be led by Kurt Kane, Chief Concept and Marketing Officer, under a newly-created Digital Experience organization.

“We have also engaged a global consulting firm to accelerate our work to bring consumer-facing technology such as mobile ordering, rewards, and kiosks to life,” the CEO added. Meanwhile, CFO Gunther Plosch “will be expanding his role by taking on all enterprise technology to ensure that we have a strong foundation in place across all of our IT systems,” Penegor said.

Wendy’s executives emphasized the following initiatives for the Digital Experience organization: kiosk ordering (about 60% of company-owned restaurants now have kiosks); a loyalty program; and mobile ordering and promotional offers in the app, with partner DoorDash handling delivery in the U.S. Regarding delivered meals, “we're seeing nice average checks, 1.5 to 2 times of what we see in the restaurant, excluding all the delivery fees,” Penegor said.

Trimm has served as CIO since he joined Wendy’s in July 2015. Previously, he was CIO at The Hertz Corp.

Who’s doing what

J.Crew Group Inc., the struggling apparel retailer, has launched its first loyalty program available to all shoppers, regardless of how they pay. The points-based program is not especially innovative, but it sets the stage (with customer data) for a future of personalized promotions and targeted ads. The move is the first major initiative led by President and Chief Experience Officer Adam Brotman, the former Starbucks digital executive behind its mobile order service and loyalty program.
Phil Wahba, Fortune

Drugstore giant CVS Health Corp. plans to offer a nationwide, 24/7 telemedicine service to treat easy-to-diagnose maladies (e.g., colds and flu) via its smartphone app. The service, priced at $59 per video visit, results from a partnership with virtual care company Teladoc. — Nathan Bomey, USA Today

Nestlé SA is testing blockchain technology to see if it can trace the supply-chain path of the fruits and vegetables that go into its Gerber baby foods. Nestlé is working with nine other companies on a blockchain system called Food Trust.
Kim S. Nash, WSJ: CIO Journal

Talent: jobs, appointments, careers

Union Pacific Corp. promoted CIO Lynden Tennison to EVP and chief strategy officer. A 26-year Union Pacific railroad veteran, Tennison had been CIO since February 2005. He will serve as interim CIO until a successor is hired.
▸ Related (2017): Union Pacific's CIO Specializes In Commercializing Technology

Valvoline Inc., seeking a CIO at its Lexington, Ky., HQ, has posted an unusually detailed job description. Key projects for the next year include: planning a new point-of-sale system for Valvoline’s oil-change centers; completing implementation of the SAP data warehouse and SAP Business Objects projects; implementing supply chain planning software to replace Infor; and a Windows 10 upgrade.

Valvoline’s digital transformation has three key aspects: a custom-built customer portal (using SAP HANA back end), B2B e-commerce (SAP Hybris), and enhanced sales force efficiency (Salesforce.com). The project to date has been a combined effort of Valvoline’s team and Accenture. Valvoline’s goal is to reduce or eliminate reliance on Accenture resources over the next 18 months.

Other recent job postings:DISH Network Corp., a Fortune 200 company with more than $14 billion in annual revenue, is seeking a CIO at its Englewood, Colo. HQ. ▸  The Recording Academy – the organization behind the GRAMMY® Awards – is seeking a chief digital officer, reporting to the president/CEO in Santa Monica, Calif. ▸ Brown University in Providence, R.I. is seeking a combined chief digital officer and CIO. ▸ The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority in Boston is seeking a CIO.

Recent CIO appointments include: Opal Perry at Hertz Global Holdings Inc.; Aldo Noseda at Eastman Chemical Co.; Jamie Head at Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc.; Jeff Hollingsworth at the University of Maryland; and Katherine (“Kathy”) Ross at Broward Health in Florida.

Doug Wolfe, who was CIO at the Central Intelligence Agency from 2013 to 2016, has been named to the Government Advisory Board of credit bureau TransUnion LLC. The goal is to advise TransUnion’s public-sector division about risk management.

{Brain food} Job title of the future: analytics translator

From an article by Daniel Newman, principal analyst at Futurum Research:

Data or analytics translators are all about structured problem-solving. They’re creative enough to imagine new possibilities for your company, but also technical enough to explain those goals to the data team. They look at the data presented and think—what if? What if we looked at it a different way? Does this data support our current business strategy? What product or update should we be making to maximize the future of our company? And they’re equally comfortable asking these questions in the data den or the C-suite.

The data translator should also be a good communicator. Indeed, to me, one of the hidden benefits of using a data translator is that it also helps eliminate bias and ego—two things that can get in the way when it comes to making data-backed decisions. The data scientists feel strongly about their methods and algorithms. The executives feel strongly about staying the course and doing things the way they’ve always been done. But the data translator serves as the “Switzerland” of the data debate. They look at the numbers, the goals, and help both sides understand the best way to move forward, and can convince everyone to get on the same train.

▸ Related: Analytics translator: The new must-have role (McKinsey & Co.)