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CIO Perspectives: Pilot Flying J Drives Customer Loyalty through Culture

Pilot Flying J (video clip) operates a chain of  more than 700 truck stops in North America. The high growth company commands roughly 40% of the Diesel fuel market and has transformed its business into a network of travel centers offering diverse food items and other amenities (e.g. showers) for its clientele. At the recent Infor Inforum 2017 event in NYC, we sat down with CIO Mike Rodgers to discuss his migration from a legacy Lawson Software platform to a cloud-based HCM SaaS offering from Infor, running on the AWS public cloud.

Rodgers came to Pilot Flying J about two years ago and told us that the company embarked on an initiative to replace its financial and HCM systems after building up decades of technical debt in siloed systems. This initiative involved a migration, but there was not much in the area of human capital management other than some homegrown code. The move to Infor cloud has allowed Pilot Flying J to eliminate 26 systems (video clip).

According to Rodgers, a key decision point and appeal of Infor is the level of integration offered within the Infor Cloud Suite, particularly with respect to human capital management…that’s the good news. But migrations are a topic that Wikibon analysts have written about and consulted with clients on for decades. Migrations are painful and the longer you wait the more painful they get. I asked Rodgers about this issue and he shared some excellent insights (video clip) on how do deal with difficult migrations, particularly with respect to involving the lines of business (video clip) and the partnership with a vendor.

One of the more interesting angles of this interview was understanding how a highly distributed operation like Pilot Flying J, with employees all over the country, deals with some of its HR challenges. What was most relevant was how the company connects its human capital and culture to its mission of providing great services for truckers (video clip).

We also asked Rodgers about how he’s using data and analytics to drive customer loyalty. This is another topic that we’ve always explored on theCUBE. Pilot Flying J is learning rapidly and iterating — it’s becoming very much a data-oriented company, particularly as it relates to understanding and responding to the customer journey (video clip) and providing the right service at the right time for truckers.

Finally, we wanted to understand a CIO’s perspective on security and protecting data in the cloud, using Infor/AWS relative to managing things on prem. Rodgers was clear on this point that he believes AWS is a better solution (video clip) with respect to his ability to manage data protection alone.

Thanks for Mike Rodgers for sharing his experience and insights with theCUBE. Here’s a video clip summary of the interview:



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