Embrace Technology to Stay Ahead!
By Dave Doyle, and CIO & SVP, IT, Regal Entertainment Group
Regal Entertainment Group is in the experience business. Traditionally, the customer experience starts with the anticipation of new movies and continues through a visit to our theatres. Evolving IT technology provides opportunities for Regal to maintain a constant connection with our customers. While social and loyalty platforms enable our guests to remain connected, supporting an omni-channel ecosystem is a challenge. A continuing focus on mobile solutions is a key component to engaging the customer and expanding the Regal experience beyond the walls of our buildings.
“The strength of the CIO/CMO relationship establishes an environment that recognizes the importance of Insights and leads to building a coordinated strategy”
We tend to embrace technology providers who share our interest in the customer, and select partners that are agile and creative. Experience, stability, and the remaining “block and tackle” expectations are important but fall down the list a bit.
Keep Complexities at Bay
Customer Insights is an area that has really advanced in our industry during the past few years. A more complete view of our customers from multiple touch points allows Regal to listen to them and engage them in a relevant way. The strength of the CIO/CMO relationship establishes an environment that recognizes the importance of Insights and leads to building a coordinated strategy.
From a systems perspective, our industry has technology providers that power most our needs in this area. In addition, we have several folks on staff who are very knowledgable in data analytics. My advice is don’t get overly complex and to keep expectations grounded.
Thwarting Competition with Cutting-edge Technology
The motion picture exhibition business has introduced some amazing technologies since its inception, including movie presentation innovations such as 3D,IMAX, and our own Regal Premium Experience (“RPX”). Regal also offers a 4DX experience in Los Angeles, which features motion seats and special effects such as wind and fog.
Providing moviegoers with a luxury experience is becoming more common, which includes reserved seating, recliner seats, expanded food and beverage options, and service to the seat. These amenities must be supported by technology. In particular, we work closely with our point-of-sale and mobile application partners to allow us to provide these amenities in an efficient, customer-pleasing way.
I’m surrounded by a very dedicated team, so I sleep pretty well at night. Still, you don’t know what you don’t know. A common response would be related to cyber security. An individual should never be proud, confident or complacent in their security posture, as changing threats are persistent. It’s really important to be engaged within your industry and peers to identify risks, opportunity and trends.
Making Way for the New-age Android Payment
There has been a lot of change around payment. Use of chip-enabled credit cards is impacting all of retail. Like other businesses, customer line speed is an important factor in cinemas. Chip & PIN credit transactions consume valuable time at the point-of-sale for each transaction. This change, along with alternative forms of payment such Apple Pay and Android Pay impacts our environment. Fortunately, the speedy nature of other payment forms such Apple Pay can offset a potentially longer Chip & PIN process.
Front and center is mobility. Regal is providing more applications to employee and customer devices. The untethered nature of mobile devices is changing the experience in our theatres. Employees can free themselves from old school workstations and more customers are purchasing tickets on their mobile phones.
Other behind the scenes changes are also having a positive impact. For example, digital content, including feature films, are easily delivered and programmed.
Changing Role of CIO to Manage the Changing IT Needs
Information Technology is becoming more bimodal, with a focus on run-the-business operations and innovation. I’m grateful to have a great team dedicated to running the business while providing room to focus on business development. Having a development “fast lane” alongside traditional IT helps shed the old “no and slow” perception.
The Indispensible Role of IT
It’s easy for IT departments to get bogged down in burdensome processes and methodologies. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe process and organization can set you free. It’s unfortunate to see well intended processes spiral into bureaucracy, unnecessary meetings, and general lack of accomplishment. It is possible to strike a healthy balance between velocity and governance. We have a very effective relationship with other business units and our IT Steering Committee, consisting of our executive team. IT is included in business opportunity discussions. I’m very proud of that.
Why CISOs are Welcome
Regal has a very effective Information Security team. Clearly, cyber threats are evolving and increasing. It is therefore necessary to adapt and address this persistent risk. In that light, the establishment of a CISO position is something any CIO should welcome.
Fortunately, my boss and CEO of Regal, Amy Miles, appreciates and advocates the role of technology. Alignment with Amy and my peers is a tremendous benefit. A genuine care for our customers is something everyone at Regal has in common. Maintain focus on the customer experience is the best advice I have to offer. It also doesn’t hurt to be a movie fan!