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The art of maintaining business buy-in

Brian P. Watson | June 6, 2017
IT leaders must consistently demonstrate value and hone C-Suite relationships to maintain buy-in for key initiatives — an increasingly difficult challenge in an era when speed trumps all.

As Wenkoff leads the creation of new capabilities, he, like Tennison, puts a premium on frequent collaboration with his executive partners. The emphasis for those meetings, Wenkoff said, is less about how technology gets delivered, and more about the business outcomes they are trying to achieve.

“We spend a lot of time talking about the future of Subway and where the brand needs to go to engage our customers going forward and how to improve the customer experience,” Wenkoff said. “Everyone in the C-suite is interested in that.” 

And they have these conversations, for example, in weekly alignment meetings and monthly steering-committee meetings with a broader representative group.

Without those meetings, Wenkoff said, the various initiatives his team is undertaking can go sideways. Strategy and planning needs to be constantly refined as business demands change, Wenkoff said.

Those meetings also give Wenkoff and his team an opportunity to show quick wins. He cited two recent examples: A successful test of new kiosks in Subway restaurants that improve customer experience, and the rollout of a Facebook Messenger chatbot, which allows diners to order their customized sandwiches and pay for them with Mastercard’s Masterpass payment system. The chatbot, Wenkoff said, was conceived about seven weeks before it was rolled out in April and was built on a new technology stack his team built as the lifeblood of its digital overhaul.

“It’s a balancing act between setting out what the future looks like for Subway, but not taking a long time to get there,” he said.


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