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How Starbucks Flipped the Switch from IT to ST

How Starbucks Flipped the Switch from IT to ST

What is ST, you might ask? It stands for Starbucks Technology – their way of reminding all employees that technology is involved in every aspect of the organization. With 300,000 employees in 26,000 stores worldwide and each company store running somewhat independently, how does Starbucks do it?

Here are the 4 key ways Starbucks integrates technology into the coffee experience.

Change the Name, Change the Perception

When Gerri Martin-Flickinger joined Starbucks in 2015, the first thing she did was change the department’s name from Information Technology (IT) to Starbucks Technology (ST). The rebranding occurred because IT had a negative connotation with employees. She wanted to take away any artificial barriers associated with the implementation and support of technology and it worked. Most individuals, inside and outside of the company, refer to Starbucks as a “technology company that sells coffee.”

What is the name of your technology department? Are you limiting support to your end users who need technology to improve their productivity and experience?

Breaking Technology Down into Segments

Rather than having a centralized department, Starbucks has three technology segments:

  • Retail: All the technology inside every store including POS and inventory systems
  • Corporate: Focused on everything that runs the business, such as payroll, A/R and A/P
  • Customer: The technology that supports the client including mobile ordering & pay and expansion of the My Starbucks app to include AI

The intent is to be more responsive to the user needs in each of these areas rather than funneling everything through one department and waiting several months or even years for implementation.

Is your technology department aligned with your business structure? How are you providing technology to your employees, vendors and customers? Is there a bottleneck?

Stakeholders Weekly Meeting

Each segment meets weekly with the CFO, Chief Strategy Officer and Head of Retail Operations to discuss current projects and the needs within each segment. By involving these individuals, the project manager conveys the business value, strategy and benefits in a language the stakeholders can understand. The discussions move from “tech speak” to “business speak”.

Are you involving the stakeholders regularly in your project? Are you conveying the value of the technology in a language the user can understand?

Coupling the Cloud with Technology Stacks

Rather than using the cloud as a backup and redundancy platform, the cloud is interconnected between diverse stacks and implemented based on the sensitivity of the data and how the user interfaces with this information.  

How is your organization using the cloud today? Are you interconnecting it effectively with your onsite systems?

In conclusion, Starbucks has found by implementing their technology strategy in this way they have broken down barriers among their users and positioned the organization for growth over the next several years.

Hartford Technology Rental Can Support Your Company’s Plan

We are available 24/7 to answer any questions that might arise about technology. Call us today at 888-520-5667 or contact us online and let us show you how we can help your organization embrace and implement these Starbucks standards.