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MGM Resorts: Delivering Innovation at Unimaginable Scale

Gene Yasuda
Content Strategist

With more than 40,000 hotel rooms on the Las Vegas Strip alone, MGM Resorts International is fully aware of the need for innovation to meet the ever-changing needs and wants of its guests.

To underscore its commitment to digital transformation to drive enhanced guest experiences, MGM’s chief information officer, Sy Esfahani, shared a revealing statistic at this year’s Oracle Industry Connect, our cross-industry innovation summit:

In 1958, the average age of an S&P 500 company was 60. Today, it’s just 15.

The takeaway: If you’re not innovating in an era of constant disruption, your business life expectancy will be shortened.

“We are rebranding ourselves because our gaming business is not growing; it’s actually shrinking,” Esfahani said. “We’re becoming more of an entertainment company,” he added, noting MGM’s food & beverage revenue of $1.6 billion in 2016. “The people who come to Las Vegas are not elderly, sitting for hours in front of slot machines. They’re coming here wanting to be entertained; they go to events, they go to clubs, and they go shopping.”

The shifting marketplace spurred MGM to pursue a digital transformation. Embarking on such a journey, he said, requires the CEO and executive team to set the tone in establishing an organizational culture that embraces innovation. Without cultivating buy-in, the likelihood of failure increases significantly, Esfahani said, adding, “culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

It also is imperative to no longer consider technology as a support function and view it instead as a business unit. 

“Every CEO is looking at how technology can increase revenue,” Esfahani said. “As CIOs and CTOs, you need to look through that lens – how do you help your CEO drive revenue?”

With such objectives in mind, MGM upgraded to OPERA v5.5.0 e15 and gained performance benefits such as: transactions per day increased to 51.1 million (592 per second) from 30.3 million (351 per second); and night audit runtime average decreased to 1 hour from 6 hours.

By employing a well-defined, enterprise architecture and aligning an “IT roadmap” with business strategies, MGM accelerates technology delivery and offers guests innovations, ranging from smart rooms, sophisticated ecommerce and mobile app & digital keys to self-service check-in and mobile POS.

Esfahani attributed MGM’s success in IT strategic planning to the creation of “LOB Steering Councils” that translate business strategies into IT priorities. In essence, they define business strategy that drives the IT agenda and, in turn, help view business strategy through a technology lens.

In closing, Esfahani offered a final piece of advice, which he described as “digital Darwinism" and quote from Charles Darwin himself: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives,” he said. “It is the one that is the most adaptable to change."

MGM’s Golden Rules for Digital Business Transformation

  1. Every company is becoming a technology company, so technology is everyone’s business.
  2. Digital business transformation will impact your business dramatically. CIO/CTO must lead the change.
  3. Understand your business and your industry and form a closer partnership with your business leaders.
  4. Transform your IT organization (cloud, analytics, etc.) for innovation and accelerated delivery.
  5. Develop your digital journey one moment at a time; be a cautious early adopter.

View the full Oracle Industry Connect session on Oracle Hospitality's exclusive customer community, The Lounge.

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Comments ( 1 )
  • MSE Tuesday, August 14, 2018
    Interesante leer la experiencia de MGM. Difícil tarea para los CEOs salir adelante con "innovación tecnológica" si la sóla "renovación por caducidad tecnológica" en una organización ya es un problema. Innovar en esos ambientes, es simplemente infértil.
    Por otra parte, las organizaciones tecnológicas -incluyendo a Oracle- colaboran desde "la perspectiva de la venta" con sus clientes, y poco hacen para colaborar y estimular la innovación con ellas.

    Buen artículo, gracias.
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