By Alessandra Skarlatos, Marketing Manager at Arts Alliance Media

    Alessandra recently contributed an article to Cinema Technology Magazine about the value of aligning your technology strategy to your business goals. We have re-posted it here with permission for our readers.


    Alessandra Skarlatos

    It can be difficult to justify investing in something as vague as agility, flexibility, or corporate culture. But financial institutions are beginning to assign these aptly named “intangible assets” very real cash values when estimating what a business is “worth”. It isn’t as easy to prove as the ROI on your latest marketing campaign - but your company values, your employees, and your ability to weather changing market conditions have a direct impact on your brand reputation, and therefore your revenues.  

    It’s essential that exhibitors, like any other business, evaluate their goals and values regularly and assess whether they are effectively embedding them into both their day-to-day operations, and longer term strategy. Interrogating the priorities that you are communicating to employees can reveal a gap between what you’re doing today and where you’d like to be tomorrow. This practice should extend to analysing your relationship with, and attitudes towards, the technology and services you have invested in. For instance:

    • Does your business rely on proactive employees with a ‘can do’ working attitude? Think about how your technology partners empower them; do they offer flexible training options that encourage your staff to become more self-sufficient?  
    • Does head office incentivise your site managers with bonuses based on their concessions revenue? Consider what their working day looks like; how long do they spend on back office tasks that could be automated? Do your software solutions help them prioritise revenue generating activities by removing repetitive admin and minimising technical errors? 
    • Is your brand reputation key to your future success? How do your technology partners help you protect your competitive advantage; whether as an art house cinema, a cutting-edge innovator, or all-in-one entertainment centre? Can they offer you any professional services that let you focus on your customer experience instead of the technical details for your growing range of software and hardware solutions?

    Cinemas are a fast-paced workplace with challenging deadlines, last minute changes, and increasingly complex technology. Sometimes you’re operating with lean margins, and facing a clientele whose attention has fragmented as their entertainment options have exploded. In this environment it’s more important than ever that exhibitors continue to ask themselves whether they are keeping pace with changing consumer behaviour by choosing to work smarter, or work harder. One of these options is sustainable, the other should only be a temporary solution.

    "Your approach to technology is a key component in your multi-pronged plan for reaching your goals."

    To take a common hypothetical scenario and apply it to our industry; contrast these two film bookers. One spent all day chasing every site in their chain after a feature was updated mid-release. The other film booker spent a few minutes using their Circuit Management System (CMS) to update the feature and publish the playlist centrally. Who worked harder?

    Defining your priorities and principles, then consciously aligning every aspect of your business in the same direction nurtures a collaborative environment where you can more easily achieve your strategic ambitions. Your approach to technology is a key component in your multi-pronged plan for reaching your goals; whether they are about driving operational efficiency, boosting your brand reputation, or exploring new revenue streams. 

    Operational efficiency, for example, is about much more than simply cutting costs. It is about making sure that your company can react to new situations quickly, unhampered by any lumbering processes that have accumulated over the years. Translated into a set of objectives for your technology, exhibitors seeking efficiencies should pursue software solutions that reinforce a culture of flexibility, deft decision-making, and simplified process. In practice, you could engage in anything from centralising your playlist-building using a CMS, to linking your loyalty scheme data to your email marketing campaigns, to keeping track of projector lamp life across your circuit using hardware monitoring software.

    Ultimately, working harder can yield the results you need at critical moments, but it also has natural limits. Your staff can only be in so many places at once, and if weighed down by too many tasks, they won’t be able to give any of them the attention they need. In the long term, that creates more problems than it solves. Technology is a powerful tool you can wield to shape your corporate culture. Businesses that strive to align their culture with their strategy by embracing change, valuing adaptability, and encouraging communication at all levels - those are the ones that succeed. 


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