Non-Traditional IT

Technology is all about changing the way people think and live. Over the years, companies like Apple and Google have found ways to get people excited about hardware and software they never knew they “needed”.  This is one view of IT; but, another one, often the focus of business, is using to enhance or lean the way people work or behave every day.

Even with all the publicity this week, some good, some not so good, Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) is a trailblazer in IT. While its primary product is coffee, Starbucks has found a way to use technology to meet its customers right where they are: on their mobile phones and on twitter. There are no new tools to buy or new processes to learn. The  company’s message? Not only is our brand cool and our coffee good, so is the user experience, thanks in part to IT!

Mobile Payments: Starbucks was one of the first companies to implement this feature. No more carrying around your rewards cards or your credit card. When you open the app, your card pops right up! You can add payment methods and even auto-reload your card when it drops below a certain balance. This app has really taken off: Starbucks recently reported that “more than 10% of its transactions in the U.S. are made with a phone.” (WSJ)

Twitter. The social media platform has 200 million+ users. Just in time for the biggest gift-giving season of the year, Starbucks  launched Tweet-a-Coffee. All you need is a twitter name linked to your Starbucks account and the Twitter handle (@bri_alys) of the person you want to send the gift to. Once you send the tweet (shown in the video below), the recipient will receive $5 to spend however they like at any Starbucks store. (Surely, the developers out there will love to ask for coffee instead of donations.)