Domino's thin-base IT plan

Domino's Pizza will roll out Microsoft's Windows 2000 this summer and is switching to a server-based computing system in a bid to...

Domino's Pizza will roll out Microsoft's Windows 2000 this summer and is switching to a server-based computing system in a bid to lighten the technical burden of its store managers and franchisees.

Daniel Thomas

However, the fast food chain will not use Active Directory - the core of Windows 2000's management and security features - and is instead considering Novell's XML-based e-directory.

Ian Foxley, Domino's recently-appointed IT and property director, said the e-directory is "more user-friendly and offers more scalability than Active Directory".

As an alternative to the e-directory, Domino's is also considering using Citrix's Metaframe application management software, which is designed to provide secure access to Windows applications from various devices over wired, wireless or Web connections. Foxley said users should be able to access thin-client services by the third quarter of 2001.

Domino's currently uses a Windows NT4-based server system. Foxley said switching to Windows 2000 will bring efficiency gains and help the company achieve the "highest level of information functionality possible".

"What we really want to do is take away the burden of information processing from the store manager. As well as thin clients, we are setting up a corporate intranet so stores can access key data and that information can be grouped according to the needs of the user," Foxley said.

"We are also developing an e-business model that is totally interactive from the customer ordering the pizza right down to how that affects the supplier," he added.

The first stage will be a touch-screen ordering system for customer service operators, which will be customer-facing by the end of the year.

"Every time a pizza is ordered the system will register how many ingredients have been used and then automatically re-order them when required, lightening the load of the store manager," Foxley explained.

Other planned initiatives include the roll-out of ADSL in the second half of the year, which Foxley said will significantly save on telecoms costs. The company will also introduce e-training so that staff can do their management training online.

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