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IT Leader Builds a Know-how Network

Dickie Oliver is on a mission to build an enterprise "know-how platform" so that 1.6 million employees across 110 countries can do a better job of selling chicken, pizza and tacos.

Oliver is vice president of global IT at Yum Brands, the $11 billion owner of the KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell restaurant chains.

In a highly competitive business, Yum has to continually generate profitable new ideas for domestic and international markets. Oliver said in an interview that he has a four-point IT strategy for getting employees at his "very spread-out global company" to break out of silos and share know-how. It includes the following elements:

• An internal social network, called iChing, based on the Jive software platform. Employees use the network to post documents, ask questions, collaborate and learn about successful strategies in other areas.

• Enterprise search technology from Coveo layered on top of iChing and other data repositories. This provides a user-friendly tool that employees use to glean insights from unstructured and structured data. In essence, the search technology stitches together multiple information sources without expensive data integration.

• A Saba online learning system that lets employees across the planet participate in training and webinars in several languages, eliminating the need for trips to the U.S.

• A high-definition Tandberg videoconferencing system that lets employees have virtual meetings so they don't have to travel as much.

Krushers, a slushy drink that tested well in Australia, is an example of an innovation that the new platform helped nurture, said Oliver. The concept was posted on the iChing network, which led to other markets rolling it out quickly and with great success, he said.

The next step, now in beta, could be using the Coveo search capability to pull information from various systems to provide a consolidated, 360-degree view of each employee and present it to managers in a single dashboard.

This version of this story was originally published in Computerworld's print edition. It was adapted from a blog post that appeared earlier on Computerworld.com.

Read more about applications in Computerworld's Applications Topic Center.


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