Service Driven Technology

Les Ottolenghi, EVP and CIO for Caesars Entertainment
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Les Ottolenghi, EVP and CIO for Caesars Entertainment

Les Ottolenghi, EVP and CIO for Caesars Entertainment

I want to share with you today some thoughts on what we at Caesars Entertainment are referring to as service driven technology. So, what is service driven technology? It’s technology that is strategic. It is disruptive and transformative. When it is done right, service driven technology yields efficiencies that save lots of money, while rapidly increasing profitability for the firms that adopt it.

Service driven technology is being widely adopted by the fortune 500– who are heavily investing—not in a set of computers, applications or systems—but in a fundamental transformation of their businesses.

So why are these transformations happening? Well, the world is different. The world is digital. The average person interacts with their mobile phone more than 2,600 times a day. The top 20 percent interact with their phones almost 6,000 a day. The number of phones, tablets and computers around the globe exceeds 8.4 billion devices. That’s more than one digital device for every person alive today. So, whether we are streaming music, or playing e-sports, life as we know it is digital. Every competitive business is responding by exploiting service driven technologies in response to this new reality.

So how is service driven technologies creating these major transformations? Well think about it in your own life. Think about the power of Netflix vs. Blockbuster. The success of the iPhone and Instagram vs. The failure of Kodak. Look at Starbucks and Starwood. How great is the Starbucks mobile app? As a digital leader Starbucks invests more money each year into service driven technologies— than they invest in creating new beverages. It is to the point that CEO Kevin Johnson refers to Starbucks’ ‘digital flywheel’ that is, ‘driving deep customer engagement, revenue, and profit growth around the world,’ for the brand. Since Starbucks launched its mobile app it has increased its market share from 39% to 49% of the hot beverage market.

  ‚ÄčService driven technology is being widely adopted by the fortune 500– who are heavily investing—not in a set of computers, applications or systems—but in a fundamental transformation of their businesses 

At Caesars Entertainment, we are very fortunate to have Chris Holdren join us as Chief Marketing Officer, because at Starwood Chris led a digital transformation that resulted in the #1 hospitality mobile app, yielded higher room rates across North America, and brought Starwood a greater share of the millennial market than any of its major competitors. And what about Amazon? Amazon has reshaped the landscape of every industry it enters by leveraging service driven technologies. It reinvented shopping, shipping, product delivery and customer service.

In the last 10 years, Walmart–at one time the undisputed, world’s largest retailer -- a Wall Street favorite – rock solid –that could go in to any town and absolutely wipeout all competitors, is now closing stores and having to play catch-up.

In the last ten years, Walmart grew 12 percent, over the same period Amazon has grown1.516 percent and is still growing. In fact Amazon is about to take over the grocery business by tying Alexa sensors to Samsung refrigerators that will automatically order groceries from Whole Foods for delivery to your home. Amazon, Uber, Netflix, Starbucks, and the other digital giants---conquer industries by leveraging service driven technologies. In other words, the same technologies that Caesars is implementing today.

In our industry, like so many others, we have accrued an enormous technical debt of legacy systems. Systems which are old, heavily customized, and extremely expensive to maintain. They are hard to improve and harder to use and most certainly do not empower us to meet the ever-increasing standards of our guests. Transformation is required. The technology that powers your workplace must be as good or better than the technology you have at home. This means moving to responsive, easy to learn interfaces and systems with seamless integrations to every relevant part of the enterprise.

The first benefits of these transformations will be productivity for team members and management. For team members, it will be easier than ever to spend more time doing what they do best: interacting with guests.

For management, service driven technology means real-time insights into service tickets, operating costs in I.T., and alerting systems that can provide prompt communication in case of an incident.

However, service driven technologies can do more than just improve operations, by working with best in class partners like Salesforce companies can transform their marketing programs and create experiences that attract and retain guests in ways that were never possible in a legacy environment.

But maybe most exciting, service driven technology can transform our business through innovation. Scaling up projects unlocking entirely new areas of experiences. They can allow for access to clubs and events and can connect groups of friends together whether they arrived together or just met.

Speaking of innovative, transformative experiences, there are entirely new categories of entertainment emerging that are rooted in technology. Think about e-sports, or virtual and augmented reality and the way that they will reshape what is possible for enterprises to offer.

So, what I want you to walk away with is this: by fully applying service driven technology and the possibilities that it enables, companies have the potential to transform their businesses and become digital leaders. A commitment to digital leadership is the key to unlocking productivity across the organization and delighting your guests for years to come.