The chain has a number of district managers who are constantly out in the field and need data to do their jobs effectively, Lieber said. They are now receiving daily one-page reports that give them "very pertinent information about sales and labor," she said. "If they had a big Excel spreadsheet with all their data on it, they would use it. But that's not that productive."
Papa Gino's is also looking at developing an iPad application for managers, she said.
It was crucial for Papa Gino's to work with systems integrator QueBIT on the project, she said. "Having a strong partner ended up being very important," she said. "We simply don't have the expertise or visibility into everything that's out there. Frequently, the tools out there are very similar; it's difficult to distinguish the best choice. It's not always cost, although cost does play a part."
Papa Gino's weighed a number of other products, including Oracle Hyperion and SAP Business Objects, before settling on IBM, Lieber said in an interview after the discussion.
"We didn't see it so much as getting a return on investment as we did as a cost of doing business," Lieber said. "It gives us a lot of visibility that helps us keep costs down."
While Papa Gino's is getting good results already, it has only just started tapping the potential of analytics, according to Lieber. "The more data we have, the more we want more data," she said during the panel talk.
Overall, analytics are giving the chain an edge it needs, according to Lieber.
"The pizza business is very competitive," she said. "A lot of local mom-and-pops can be flexible and react to their neighborhoods. We have to be very nimble. We're also competing with larger brands."
Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com