Steve Sharp, director at Searchlight Consulting, who worked with Costa to devise, manage and deliver the programme recalls how it all started: “In November 2015, Costa’s CIO undertook a review of the company’s IT capability. He brought us in to look at Costa’s IT strategy and align it with the business strategy, and from there we worked together to take it to the Board and draw up a roadmap for delivery in 2016.”
Plan and Value Delivered
“At the heart of the programme is how Costa seamlessly interacts with their customer using a Cloud-based integration platform to enable different channels and technologies to come together to provide a consistent business process,” explains Searchlight’s Chief Digital Officer. “Costa has introduced 106 API’s in three months, which should usually have taken about two years at three times the cost. People said it couldn’t be done, but we delivered an exemplary integration platform at pace.”
The digital proposition has been further enhanced with a new app, developed by Costa’s new digital team at parent company Whitbread’s headquarters. Searchlight worked with Costa CIO to bring digital development capability back in-house, after it had been sourced to a third party, and have worked with the team to identify features and requirements and crucially, to integrate the app with back-end solutions such as finance, the new EPOS system, and the loyalty platform.
Not only will the app fulfil the functions of a loyalty card – customers will simply swipe it at the new till system to receive points, offers and review their balances, it will enable other services such as store finding, pre-ordering and pre-payment. Searchlight’s CTO, explains some of the thinking behind it. “The art of customer experience is emotion – when you have a coffee, you’re giving yourself a treat. You feel good, and the goal was to make the experience as positive as possible. Today’s customers have very specific sets of wants and needs. Busy professionals want to be able to order and pay for their coffee while still on the train, for example. People working on their laptops in the coffee shops prefer to order from their tables, and nobody likes queuing so we aimed to make transactions quicker, easier and more convenient than ever before.”
A new EPOS system underpins the programme, which started to be rolled out in February 2017. Searchlight’s CTO says: “The old platform was outdated and slow moving, and by the end of 2017 would have been unsupported by the original solution provider as well, so there were over 2,000 tills that needed to be replaced. The new tills have had to be integrated with the rest of the new systems we were introducing, and we’ve also had to train staff to use them, which was a massive undertaking.”