Having worked in IT and franchising for over 25 years, I only wish the “Cloud” was around a few decades ago like it is today. I remember it well, dealing with IT people, and hardware and software infrastructure that required many resources and delivered little in the way of quality solutions in a reasonable time frame. Mobility – wishful thinking or perhaps impossible unless you had a budget the size of the national debt. Does anyone recall IBM’s RPG code ?
Amid rapid technological change, investments in hardware and software development left executives like dogs chasing their tails: as soon as you thought you had the answer, a new technology brought into question the investment. As a result, quality IT solutions didn’t receive a lot of attention in franchising. Many that did failed. This was particularly true for small to mid sized companies with limited resources.
As an early adopter of the “Franchise Intranet”, I’ve always had a great appreciation for what technology’s promise offered the franchising world. But alas, providing field consultants with a detailed 360 degree view on a smart phone was not an option in that past. Monitoring social media chatter or using it to handle franchise or customer support was even more of a fantasy. Thankfully there is a whole new world and a better opportunity to deliver solutions that can make a difference in today’s world.
When you think about what IT should be for franchisors, a way to make a REAL impact to how the business functions by lowering costs, and improving efficiency, you’re thinking of the Cloud. The Cloud helps deliver this with little consideration for the software and hardware investment obstacles that use to impede progress. It also does this in record time, with little need for overly technical developers and at an unbelievably inexpensive cost. Locking in with a third party proprietary solution that holds you over a barrel for the rest of your organization’s days – forget about it. Yes its that good.
In this day of limited resources, the need to use technologies to generate REAL business results is essential to successful franchise companies. Ironically, many franchisors aren’t using open system cloud solutions like they could. They are over paying for software or worse off in the hands of a closed proprietary system that keeps them from realizing huge benefits. This is where salesforce.com can and franchise flywheel can deliver tremendous options to revolutionize a franchise business model.