1. What management, organization, and technology factors were behind the Cincinnati Zoo losing opportunities to increase revenue?
Management Factor: Managers’ limited knowledge and understanding [of what was happening in the zoo on a day-to-day basis, other than how many people visited every day and the Zoo’s total revenue] proved costly. Marketing managers were spending their budget in ways that did not necessarily produce the returns worth the investment (or target specific individuals once inside the park), retail managers were not aware of which products were most popular on which days/at which times (and lost the opportunity to appropriately capitalize), and thanks to weather unknowns, staffing managers were wasting budget on overstaffing and losing opportunities for upsell (or helping promote repeat business) when understaffed.
Organization Factor: The lacking technological infrastructure to support the different “arms” of the organization (marketing, retail, admissions, labor, etc.) seemed to suggest that there was a plan to simply “carry out” operations – not to strategically increase revenue. The lack of a weather forecasting system negatively affected the labor budget and retail sales (if under-staffed). The legacy point-of-sale system and manual cash registers gathered little to no intelligence to be used for performance analysis for future planning, targeting, and goal-setting. The complete lack of data for analysis and strategic planning for marketing and overall business performance were also factors in missed opportunities to increase revenue.
Technology Factor: The four different revenue streams all used their own individual PoS (point of sale) system which meant that information systems weren’t integrated which provided another hurdle. It was necessary to replace the legacy point-of-sale systems into one coherent platform which was the Galaxy POS from Gateway Ticketing Systems. IBM and BrightStar Partners built a centralized data warehouse where all data was gathered and implemented IBM’s Cognos Business Intelligence to report real-time data. This new information system solution allowed the Zoo to transform their data into substantial information with the help of analytics.
2. Why was replacing legacy point-of-sale systems and implementing a data warehouse essential to an information system solution?
The legacy point-of-sale system gathered limited data in a limited capacity. The data was static and stagnant. Manual cash registers providing paper receipts (and not communicating to a larger database in real time) put the onus of collecting intelligence on the humans (essentially wasting labor on mindless and error-ridden procedures if it were collected at all). Implementing a data warehouse provided fluid, progressive real-time analysis and “dot connecting,” allowing managers to see the data from a higher intelligence level. The following questions regarding spending patterns could now be answered: “Who is coming to...