Security tool delivers surprise insights to Domino's Pizza

Marketers at Domino's Pizza are gaining new and more immediate insights into online coupon usage from an unexpected source: a security management tool used by the national chain's IT department.

The Splunk Enterprise security information-and-event management (SIEM) tool that Domino's IT department started using earlier this year was intended to simply log data as part of system monitoring, says Russ Turner, Domino's manager of site reliability engineering. And Splunk Enterprise has been logging about 30GB of data per day.

But in the course of experimentation, Turner says it was discovered that the tool could also see and analyze some business data coming into the Domino's website that would help the marketing department.

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"The user gives us information for pizza delivery and now we can pull a log of how many times a coupon was used," says Turner about what he found out experimenting a bit with Splunk.

Previously, coupon usage online was a lot harder to quickly present to marketing, he points out.

"Before we had a mountain of data and had to comb through it," says Turner. The marketing department had to pull reports at a later time from the company's data warehouse. The warehouse still is a trove of information for marketing people, but they naturally want to know what the impact of online promotional campaigns are right away, Turner indicated. The IT department has found it can easily pull out coupon data and other metrics in real-time for them via Splunk as the coupon codes flow through the Domino's website.

Domino's, with more than 10,000 pizza locales, is looking further into how the SIEM product can be used to help visualize business trends across geographic locations, such as orders per minute, number of transactions per store, what types of pizza and other food customers order, along with the coupons they use.

Of course, the Splunk SIEM at Domino's is also carrying out the more mundane IT-related tasks one might expect: Along with monitoring and amassing security events, it can flag network bandwidth, latency and payment-processing issues across stores.

Ellen Messmer is senior editor at Network World, an IDG publication and website, where she covers news and technology trends related to information security. Twitter: MessmerE. E-mail:

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