McDonalds SA turns to converged comms


Image: By BiztechAfrica
McDonalds SA turns to converged comms

McDonald's South Africa, part of the global leading global food service retailer, is using IBM social business software to embrace the convergence of social, mobile and cloud facilitating its expansion to new markets and enabling its employees to collaborate more effectively.

McDonald's is working with IBM and its Business Partner, Knowledge Dimension, to transform the way its almost 200 restaurants and 8000 employees communicate and collaborate, thereby helping the company communicate and operate more effectively. McDonald's will begin transforming into a social enterprise to help geographically dispersed employees to communicate more effectively, sharing ideas that will allow them to deliver exceptional customer service.

Established in South Africa in November 1995, this market is considered one of the most successful markets for McDonald's international and initially opened 30 restaurants in just 23 months. The company has trained and employed almost 8000 South Africans at various levels, including franchisees, restaurant managers and crew.

"With our intended aggressive expansion plans – growing the number of restaurants by approximately 25 restaurants a year – improved communications is undoubtedly a business imperative," says Greg Solomon , Managing Director for McDonald's South Africa. "Equipping our employees with a social network to improve communication is critical in helping us fulfill our brand promise to customers for quality, service, cleanliness, and value."

Challenged by having to communicate across this vastly dispersed organisation, the company sought a more effective way to reach every one of their crew, driving engagement and collaboration across the system.

"The company's 'Engagement with our People' initiative kick started in 2011, intended to implement processes and tools between head office, Owner Operators (Franchisees), restaurant managers and crew (employees) to increase productivity, improve decision-making and achieve measurable business results has been hugely accelerated with this solution, giving management and staff a new way of interacting, collaborating and sharing information and expertise," says Gary Swale, Director, Business Development, Knowledge Dimension.

McDonald's SA is currently using IBM Connections and IBM Sametime instant messaging software to support internal communication and training requirements across their branch network.

The McDonald's crew (staff at restaurant level) will access the platform via an innovative, first-to-market in South Africa, mobile solution, supplemented by in-restaurant touch screen docking stations. This phase is scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2013.

"McDonald's decision to embrace social business is pioneering and is reflective of the need to find smarter ways of working," says Alistair Rennie , general manager, social business, IBM. "McDonald's is taking a purposeful approach, using social technologies to engage employees, empower customers and drive organizational performance to secure a competitive advantage."

The agreement with McDonald's was signed in late 2012.

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