MEET THE TECH EXEC
Vice President & Chief Information Officer
Jack in the Box Inc.
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Drew Martin is Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Jack in the Box Inc. He oversees the information technology functions across the enterprise, including both Jack in the Box® and QDOBA Mexican Eats® brands.
Mr. Martin joined Jack in the Box Inc. in 2016 with extensive experience in similar leadership positions with prominent companies like Sony, PepsiCo, Accenture and most recently, Lytx Inc. where he was Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer. Before that, Mr. Martin was Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Sony Electronics.
Mr. Martin is also the founder of Silicon Beach Advisors, Inc and co-founder of Seenager, Inc. He serves on the IT Advisory Board for Sharp Healthcare.
Mr. Martin has a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Cornell University.
When you go out to eat, what do you order as your side?
What song best describes your work ethic?
Tom Waits, Get Behind the Mule.
If you were stranded on a deserted island what you would bring and why?
A Stand Up Paddleboard for fun … and to get home eventually.
What superpower do you want most?
That one is easy … time travel. I could go back and make sure some bad things didn’t happen.
What did you want to grow up to be when you were a kid?
I wanted to be a writer because my parents were both writers.
What’s the #1 area of focus CIO’s should be concentrating on?
Initially, I focus on building relationships and partnering with stakeholders, but ultimately I concentrate on getting aligned on strategies and priorities. In our case, we’ve really shifted to more franchise-owned restaurants. We need to provide our franchisees with solid IT systems and capabilities. We approach this like we’re a professional IT services provider to them.
What’s your take on Public Cloud?
I think the challenge with new technologies, whether they’re public cloud, big data or artificial intelligence, is always about understanding the potential and how to apply it to what you’re trying to accomplish as an enterprise. It’s not about getting caught up in the hype or doing it just because everyone else is. Within public cloud there is certainly game-changing scale leverage, but it also creates new challenges around security, integration and custody of data. It’s something that every CIO is at least looking at, if they’re not already doing something with.
Do you feel IT still carries the title of a cost center rather than revenue driver?
IT is still a cost center from an accounting point of view, but we should also have a revenue driver mindset. IT should be extremely focused on ROI and supporting sales growth. Also, I think what’s changed is that these days, digital is part of the product and customer experience. There’s hardly a product I can think of where the customer experience doesn’t have some element of digital in the product offering and we’re no different in that regard. That’s forced IT to get out of a predominately support role and more engaged with helping to enable the digital guest experience. In our industry, Domino’s says they are a technology company that happens to deliver pizza and Starbucks has invested a lot in its mobile app user experience. Our industry is just like others in that it’s clearly investing in IT to drive revenue.
What are you (the CIO) doing to support innovation in the company and its own organization to deliver better solutions?
To deliver better solutions, I’m trying to make sure we’re engaged in the conversations around innovation. We have to be collaborative and balanced in our approach. CIOs can’t be too far out ahead of the conversations. We can’t do innovation for innovation’s sake or fall in love with a particular technology. It has to be in the context of what the strategic objectives of the company are. On the other hand, when CIOs aren’t involved in those conversations, companies can get caught having issues with speed to market, security, integration or support.
What kind of messaging is coming down from the CEO/Key Executives about their partnership with IT?
Senior management is trying to provide clear direction to the entire company and set the tone. Our company mission is to Nourish the Pursuit of Dreams. On the Jack in the Box brand, the purpose is to Make Busy Lives Better and Qdoba’s to Bring Flavor to Life. The messaging coming from key executives is for IT to partner to deliver on this corporate mission and on the brand promises.
Are there any hiring challenges in general?
It’s always a challenge to get the right skill set and match in terms of culture and career objectives. And the best candidates usually have several options, so having a fun and engaging corporate culture can really help. In hiring for IT, it’s also important for us to have a clear idea what’s core to what we do and where we’ll partner instead of hiring. Candidates want to understand that along with the broader IT vision so they can get comfortable and excited about what it could mean to their potential career path with the company.
How is hiring millennials different from traditional hiring?
From an IT perspective, we have to provide tools the millennials are used to. This includes things like chat, cloud based email, and collaborative team sites. I’m personally very comfortable on primarily using email to communicate whereas millennials may want to operate differently. Millennials are also very interested in the social aspect of the job so we need to make sure the tools are engaging and allow them to collaborate with their peers while also getting the job done. Of course, we hire a lot of millennials in our restaurants. We have to provide them with mobile capabilities that help make their busy lives better. This includes capabilities like being able to check their schedules and swap shifts with peers on their phones and not have to always call into the restaurant manager.