Few businesses are as much of a numbers game as running a restaurant chain. Razor-thin margins, tough labor conditions and fickle customers are only a few of the issues such a company faces.
"You have to understand what drives the business and how different factors impact the bottom line," says Nicolas Ibrahim, CTO for restaurant franchise Ruby Tuesday.
With 900 restaurants in the United States and 40 overseas, metrics and benchmarking are crucial. "A good IT solution has to start with a good understanding of the business requirements," Ibrahim says. Alas, many IT people haven't had experience with the basic issues and problems that staff and others face, he explains: "In the past, we have had managers and others say, 'IT people don't know the restaurants, so how can they put measurements in place for us?'"
Ibrahim typically looks for a blend of user requirements. He talks to people from both the business and IT sides, and pores over numbers and statistics looking for metrics that reveal the essence of the business. "The reality is, others in the industry aren't going to share their key metrics with you, and many of them aren't capable of getting accurate information on key issues or metrics," he says.
Source: CIO Insight
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