Winning the digital battle at Pernod Ricard Premium

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Pernod Ricard’s head of digital, Maël Tannou, explains to Business Digest how this French giant is executing a digital transformation as part of its goal to be the company that leads growth and changes the rules of the game in its industry.

Maël TANNOU 17-10-2013

Digital transformation starts with employees
As a globally decentralized company, with 18,000 employees spread over 80 markets, Pernod Ricard is disparate by nature, adapting group strategies to local contexts as needed. This means that to succeed at a Group-level digital transformation, they first needed to create stronger links between all of their dispersed employees. “Before being able to change the way we engage with consumers and other external stakeholders, our digital transformation needed to start with our employees,” says Maël. “We needed to raise our global digital IQ and overcome internal silos in order to be able to share information and specific business practices quickly. So, in 2012, our first investment in the digital transformation was to create and launch a company-wide social network, called PR Chatter.” Deputy CEO Alexandre Ricard directly sponsored the project and heavily promoted adoption. His vision for the enterprise social network was to make decentralization a strength, not a source of silos across which information does not get shared. “He communicated that the point of being active on the platform is to be able to replicate local successes quickly,” explains Maël. “There are many great applications available out there now, so the challenge wasn’t technical. The big challenge initially was adoption. It was about changing how people work.” During the adoption phase, top managers sponsored, encouraged, and led the way on the enterprise social network. In addition, the executive committee gave KPIs to all Group executives, such as percentage of employees active on the platform per affiliate. “During this phase, we measured activity. It was about level of engagement and content generation – how many, how big, how much.”

Based on Leading Digital: Turning Technology into Business Transformation by George Westerman, Didier Bonnet and Andrew McAfee (Harvard Business Review Press, October 2014) and the Interview with Maël Tannou, Head of Digital, Sales and Marketing Solutions, Pernod Ricard Group, January 2015.

The Pernod Ricard Group was Maël Tannou’s last client at CapGemini Consulting. He worked to help Pernod Ricard build a digital transformation roadmap before being hired in January 2014 as Head of Digital, Sales and Marketing Solutions. In 2011-2012, he was seconded as a visiting research scientist at the MIT Sloan School of Management, where he led the second phase of a global research program on digital transformation for brick-and-mortar companies.