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