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McDonald's Australia CIO, Henry Shiner

Rebecca Merrett | Nov. 27, 2012
Henry Shiner first started out in McDonald's as a crew member at the Yagoona, NSW restaurant -- the first McDonald's that opened in Australia. More than 30 years later, he returned to McDonald's and became CIO for Australia and New Zealand in 2007.

Henry Shiner first started out in McDonald's as a crew member at the Yagoona, NSW restaurant -- the first McDonald's that opened in Australia. More than 30 years later, he returned to McDonald's and became CIO for Australia and New Zealand in 2007.

Shiner spoke with CIO Australia about his role as the IT-business strategist and the challenges of working in such a fast paced, competitive industry.

What is your day-to-day like as CIO of McDonald's Australia?

My role is about working hand-in-hand with our internal business partners so that we ensure that our consumers, our customers, our external customers are receiving the best customer experience that we can deliver. I think, from a holistic perspective, that's probably the best way to describe my day-to-day.

For our internal customers here in our business, that means our systems are available for the right persons to make the right decisions, at the right time. For our external customers, it's about systems that enable our restaurants to function effectively, to deliver a memorable experience each time they dine with us. So it's making every visit from the customer perspective memorable and ensuring that whole experience is first class for them.

These sorts of goals are achieved by the IT function being an integral part of the McDonald's business. That means being part of the business at all levels and all layers of what is our great brand. Enabling our business strategies with agility is really what the business needs in such a competitive industry because our industry is different to others. It is extremely competitive and agility and pace are really important.

So in delivering that, my day-to-day involves being part of the strategic planning process for the business, working with my senior management colleagues, being part of cross functional teams, adhering and developing effective project governance, and then of course, importantly, turning all that into a foundational IT strategy that is well aligned to the business in enabling the current and future year plans to come to life. We can only do this, of course, working in collaboration with all our departments within McDonald's.

What are some of the challenges you face in your role as CIO?

In our industry, a CIO's unique challenge is working and understanding the franchise model and how we engage across many layers of stakeholders, so that we can enable the business and the IT strategy to come to life to benefit the whole of business. That really means connecting effectively, not only with our corporate colleagues and my corporate peers, but most importantly reaching out to our licensees and suppliers all within what we call our 'three-legged stool' approach. That's where corporate, our licensees and our suppliers have this collective responsibility to drive the business forward together.

 

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