In this Run and Reinvent podcast I chat with Erica Dean, IT Governance System Administrator for Pernod Ricard about how her company is leveraging BMC Helix Remedyforce to create a globally connected organization. Pernod Ricard is headquartered in Paris and is a leading premium wine and spirits company with 19,000 employees worldwide. Below is a condensed transcript of our conversation.
John Fulton: For those not familiar with Pernod Ricard, can you give a little bit of background on your organization?
Erica Dean: Absolutely. So, Pernod Ricard is a leading premium wine and spirits company. It’s known for having the most comprehensive portfolio in the industry. Pernod Ricard supports its consumer-centric strategy with a decentralized model that enables each market to focus on their own consumers, based on cultural preferences and local ways of working.
John: The one thing you mentioned about the customer-centric strategy – Could you maybe give a little bit more background on that? The reason I ask is I’m seeing more and more organizations really focus on customer-centric. And it’s not to say that organizations didn’t focus on customers in the past. But it just seems to be, to have been elevated, and a much bigger focus. Can you elaborate a little bit on that?
Erica: I think that today’s consumer has access to so much more information, to so many more products, and so, ultimately, what we can’t rely on as an organization is someone knowing what product we provide, and just kind of sticking with them. Not just from a loyalty point of view, but from an information point of view.
And so, by focusing our business strategies on the consumer, we’re focusing on what it is that they need, so that we’re creating that relationship between the consumer themselves and our product. And creating a kind of, more of a meaningful connection to the product, versus one, I think, that’s established just because it’s a brand, or it’s a particular type of product, that they’re generally aware of, without being aware of the other options that are available to them.
John: No, that makes perfect sense. You think of, in today’s world, customers have more options, right? And it’s obviously important to have that differentiation, and have that connection. So, that’s interesting. In terms of Pernod Ricard, and the business challenges, can you maybe highlight some of the challenges at a higher level that you guys are facing today, in terms of sort of growth and competition?
Erica: Yes, so, Pernod Ricard is well known for its decentralized model. Just about any time you hear Alexandre Ricard speak, he talks about the fact that we focused on a noncentralized model that allows our individual markets to cater to their base of consumers. Again, kind of reinforcing the notion that we’re centered around the consumers themselves.
However, from an IT point of view, it presented a little bit of a challenge, because in a decentralized model, which enabled people to work in, I guess, relative to their local preferences, and then their local ways of working, that decentralized model presents a little bit of a challenge to our IT organization, which is aimed at providing consistent and efficient support across the business itself.
We have 19,000 business employees worldwide, and ultimately, what we saw was the need for global processes and global ways of working, to establish that streamlined, seamlessness, and the efficiencies, but in such a way that we were able to still accommodate local processes, and be sure to continue to align with the decentralized approach that the organization as a whole, of course, is so focused on.
John: Yeah. That’s interesting, because, again, not being in this market, but I can see how this applies to other markets, where, especially as a global company as Pernod Ricard is, and the differences, right, in the different regions, with sort of interests and cultures, I think, obviously, it makes a lot of sense, sort of, the strategy of making those connections. And having this agility, right? We talk about agility a lot of times, more from a maybe development perspective, but also from an organizational perspective, and customer-facing perspective, to understand your customers and how to best interact with them. So, that sounds like a very strong approach that you guys are taking?
Erica: Yeah. And I always kind of say, when it comes to sales and marketing, of course, the way that you sell a product in the US versus the way that you sell a product in France, it absolutely makes sense to have a decentralized approach. But, when you kind of shift that concept into the IT world, the way that you fix a computer in the US, given it’s the same model, it’s the same way that you fix that same computer in France.
And so, that was kind of what we started to realize and recognize, and that kind of sent us into a little bit of this journey, to establish those global processes, again, while still maintaining the opportunity to localize where necessary.
John: Right. And to this point, we sort of kind of focused on the customer side, but now we talk about your organization from an IT perspective. Can you sort of characterize your team, and the IT group, across the globe?
Erica: Sure. So, as a global company, we do have fairly comprehensive IT environments, that supports both global and local applications. I think we’d be here all afternoon if I were to give an attempt to list all of them out. We have several different data centers, globally, of course, with 86 affiliates worldwide. We’re looking at different networks, all sorts of different localized components. And that environment ultimately supports our 19,000 employees across, as I mentioned, 86 affiliates, and we’re doing that with an internal IT staff of about 600 people.