Can you give us a snapshot of what areas your IT department oversees?
We oversee all areas of technology for Mohegan Sun. The property currently has 300,000 square feet of gaming space – over 5000 slots and 300 table games. We have a 34-story, 1,200-room hotel tower and just broke ground on another tower which is set to add 400 more rooms to our total count. Our entertainment factor on property stretches well beyond gaming with, over 40 stores, 30 dining options, 100,000 square foot of convention space and a 10,000 square foot arena that hosts the CT Sun WNBA team, NE Black Wolves lacrosse team and an impressive lineup of entertainment.
How is your IT team structured to provide support and service to all those areas?
We have a staff of 85 in IT, broken into three main groups- technical services, business services and security. In the CIO role at Mohegan Sun, my goal is to be a strategic partner with the business and focus on vision building for the organization. I come from a philosophy that if you focus on your team first, everything else will follow, and it does. I have an amazing team, and after we restructured from a flat organizational structure to a hierarchical one we are better positioned to provide the best support and service to the organization while aligning our goals with the business now and for the future.
What are some of the “new and cool” technologies you are working on implementing?
We have the mindset that technology is what is going to be the factor in raising the bar higher for the guest’s experience. Our company has pride in providing the best guest service possible and within IT we need to implement technology that can help make that distinction. Whether it’s enhancing A/V to trigger excitement on the floor or cool and convenient kiosks that guests can print tickets from for our loyalty club- it all adds up. One of the “wow factor” technology initiatives we are working on with the new build of the hotel tower is complete in-room automation. The goal is to be able to control your entire room experience with an in-room tablet including IPTV, DND system, smart energy and lighting. That same tablet will also be your hotel compendium and will contain everything you need to know about the property. SmartCON and iRiS are our partners in this technology and we are excited to launch this with the opening of the new hotel tower. Guest-facing technology isn’t our only strategy in providing excellent guest service. The technology we deploy internally for operations translates to a better guest experience as well. An example is enhancing our business intelligence tools to give our executives and staff improved ability to view real-time data and make decisions for the business. Managers see snapshots of what’s really happening on the floor and what’s really in play. No more guessing, the data is in their hands. Consistently putting technology at the forefront of improving the overall experience of the guest.
As a CIO overseeing 85 individuals on your team, what is your time most spent on?
Strategy and vision, my big focus right now is on evaluation of the entire IT landscape and defining enterprise standards. As we grow, we need to have the right partners in place, a solid foundation to build on and the tools to make the best decisions possible. Decisions we make now need to set us up for the future. We recently had a huge undertaking of deploying 100% end to end Wi-Fi coverage in our Arena. It was a big confidence check in extending coverage to the rest of our campus. With the right pieces in place for our infrastructure we are giving ourselves capability for future mobile initiatives on the horizon. Additionally we want to make sure the systems we are putting in place for gaming and hospitality are models to replicate for the future. One of our bigger hospitality projects, converting to RFID door locks, was done in May with the intent to replicate that in the new tower when construction is complete. We have launched iGaming in the play for fun social arena, Mohegan branded so that we are establishing our presence in the market and are ready when it’s ready. Sometimes the pace of the industry and the juggling of multiple projects can take your time away from focusing on the strategy and vision but it’s that which will allow us to set ourselves apart from our competition.