Three Reasons Your Franchise Brand Needs a Chief Technology Officer

Articles > Three Reasons Your Franchise Brand Needs a Chief Technology Officer

Technology is supposed to make everyone’s life easier. As a franchisor, you invest in technology to grow and support your franchise system. As a franchisee, you invest in technology to grow and support your unit(s).

With such a demand for technology, it makes sense that roughly a third of the suppliers at #IFA2015 are providing or supporting technology in some way. There will be many contracts signed at or after #IFA2015 as new investments in technology are made and previous investments are replaced.

So it’s all good right?

Not so fast. The investment made in technology goes WAY beyond the contracts that are signed. When I’m talking with CEOs and business owners, I describe a technology investment life-cycle that has three phases:

  1. Implementation – getting technology up and running
  2. Retention – managing the technology you have
  3. Innovation – enhancing/upgrading technology to support growth

Unfortunately, most businesses only focus on Phase 1. New projects are assigned to a department manager or the overworked “IT guy” and once the new system is up and running, they check the box and move on. The result? Six or twelve months down the road, the CEO is asking why they are spending money on systems that everyone hates and that no one is using correctly.

For a franchise system with different technologies at both the franchisor and franchisee level, the result can be a long list of failed projects. This is why the role of Chief Technology Officer (CTO) is so critical. An experienced CTO focuses on all three phases of technology investment with respect to overall business objectives. Additionally, the CTO can see above the day-to-day technology issues and address problems at a strategic level.

For a franchise system, let’s look at three compelling reasons to have a Franchise CTO in place:

  1. Franchise Development – Your franchise development team should be focused on sales and marketing. If they are responsible for managing the systems they depend on – CRM, lead generation, marketing automation, etc – who’s doing the selling? The CTO will manage the technology vendors, make sure staff get trained on a regular basis, and monitor system performance against objectives.
  2. Franchisee Management – Supporting your franchisees is a multi-department effort and franchisees need dependable, streamlined communication. While trying to manage the technology “by committee” simply doesn’t work, the CTO will manage across stakeholder boundaries. This greatly improves the interaction with the technology vendors and improves overall project results.
  3. Franchisee Guidance – Technology requirements and recommendations from a franchisor need to be communicated effectively to franchisees. Discussions about technology are often contentious and frustrating to franchisees. Instead of having the CEO or Director of Operations handling these conversations, imagine having a CTO present the technology roadmap at the annual franchisee summit.

Why don’t more franchisors have CTOs on their management team? The primary reason is cost. Most franchisors recognize the need but they can’t justify the cost of a full-time CTO.

CTO Nation was founded to address this very challenge. We provide experienced Chief Technology Officers on a part-time, fixed-fee basis. No more watching the clock on a high-priced consultant. Hire a Franchise CTO to make sure you maximize the return on investment in technology for your franchise system.


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