Customer insight wins out at 2011 Real IT Awards

The Corporate IT Forum’s Real IT Awards recognized data-focused projects by Pizza Express and Whitbread – Costa Coffee.

Pizza Express and Costa Coffee walked off with plaudits ringing in their ears at this year’s Real IT Awards for data-focused customer insight projects. The Awards, held in London on 9th March, and organised by The Corporate IT Forum, seek to recognise real business IT projects.

The Pizza Express Customer Insight project and the Costa Coffee Club Card project both capitalise on the analysis of customer data.

Pizza Express, overall runner up in 2009, emerged as the overall winner this time with its ‘Customer Insight’ project. This has, the company said, revolutionised the way promotions are governed in the hospitality sector, moving from one-size-fits-all promotions, to targeted campaigns based upon customer behaviour and local restaurant needs. The system, which is cloud-based, has replaced paper promotional codes. Unique digital codes are delivered directly to customers’ smart phones. Codes are validated at the till and the correct discounts applied. Marketing teams now have a database related to individual customer behaviours, enabling them to respond with appropriately targeted offers.

The project was runner up in the Innovation category, playing second fiddle to Whitbread’s Premier Inn Automated Check-in project. And it was another Whitbread project, the Costa Coffee Club Card that claimed a runner up place behind Pizza Express in the Delivering Business Value category.

The IT and marketing teams at Whitbread worked together to introduce a Loyalty Club card for customers in order to build their brand, and increase the number of visits, and spend by those card holders. The project began in April 2010 and there were 4 million card holders by December.

Chas Tomsett, Business Analyst at Costa Coffee, said “the key thing was understanding our customer. Previously they were anonymous to us, especially since we are so much of a cash business.” The company now knows that 8% of its customers generate 48% of sales.

Other awards winners were Volkswagen Group, Marks and Spencer, Severn Trent Water, Nursing Midwifery Council and Westminster City Council. The judges included IT leaders from GlaxoSmithKline, Balfour Beatty, BUPA, John Lewis Partnership, and Laing O’Rourke.

The Forum’s Chairman, John Harris, said: “We were absolutely blown away by the submissions for the 2011 Real IT Awards. Never before have we seen such a range of clever thinking and innovative approaches to using IT to benefit the business. Despite the economic climate and the general focus on austerity, it is clear that corporate IT is in good health. We are seeing companies being visionary and investing in the future, focusing not only on reducing future costs but also on building future capability.”

The winners of the 7th Real IT Awards

Overall winner – Project of the Year 2010

Winner: Pizza Express – Customer Insight

Runner-up: Whitbread – Premier Inn Automated Check In


Innovation in an IT Project Category

Winner: Whitbread – Premier Inn Automated Check In

Runner-up: Pizza Express – Customer Insight

Runner-up: State Street – 21st century infrastructure


Partnership Projects Category

Winner: Volkswagen Group – New Vehicle System Programme

Runner-up: National Grid – Project Fusion

Runner-up: Signet – Future Fit


Service Improvement Projects Category

Winner: Marks & Spencer – Non Production Transformation

Runner-up: The Co-operative Financial Services – Improved DR Services

Runner-up: British Sugar – Complaints System


Corporate Social and Environmental Responsibility in IT Category

Winner: Westminster City Council – Digital Inclusion Framework

Runner-up: Severn Trent Water – Desktop Refresh

Runner-up: Whitbread – IS Good Together


Working Smarter Category

Winner: Severn Trent Water – SAP Programme

Runner-up: Laing O’Rourke – Project Juggler

Runner-up: Marks & Spencer – Non Production Transformation


Rapid Response Projects Category

Winner: Nursing Midwifery Council – On line Payments

Runner-up: Ace Insurance SPL (02) Claims Handling

Runner-up: Huntsworth – Branding for Growth


Delivering Business Value Category

Winner: Pizza Express – Customer Insight

Runner-up: E.ON UK – UNIX to Linux

Runner-up: Whitbread – Costa Coffee Club Card

Read more on Business intelligence and analytics