It’s increasingly clear that no company escapes the tractor beam of digital disruption. The need for agility and flexibility is paramount. For Rémy Cointreau, the French alcoholic beverage company that produces cognacs, liqueurs, wines and spirits, these concepts are at the center of everything.
“A key element for success in today’s business environment is the ability to move swiftly,” says chief technology officer Sébastien Huet. “Agility is in our DNA, and we continue to push the limits so that we can react to the market and innovate on a constant basis.”
The company, which employs about 1,800 people globally and boasts revenues of about €1 billion per year, was hamstrung by legacy systems and changing employee work patterns. As the company added software and services, many employees found themselves navigating through 20 or more different cloud- and web-based applications every day.
Not surprisingly, frustrations began to mount, particularly as employees attempted to sign on to systems from different devices at different locations. Rémy Cointreau has a presence in 30 countries.
Building a More Agile and Flexible IT Framework
About a year ago, the company began exploring ways to build a more agile and flexible IT framework. “We wanted to move from IT functioning as a technical manufacturing tool to a service model,” Huet explains. “The goal was for IT to focus on delivering services rather than managing technical layers.”
At the same time, Huet wanted to engage the IT team and tap their knowledge and expertise in order to drive digital transformation. Together, they defined three-year and five-year strategic targets. The common denominator? “We decided to move every application to a web-based model so that it was possible to access data anywhere, anytime and from any device,” he says.
That, in turn, created new challenges. “When you push everything to the internet, you increase the service level and convenience level for users, but you also introduce a huge risk around security,” Huet points out. “There was a need to manage and control access to applications.”
As a result, Rémy Cointreau turned to identity management software and cloud-based Identity-as-a-Service provider Centrify to stitch together the IT and business framework. It went live with the new system at the beginning of 2016.
Single sign-on through Centrify Identity Service (CIS) has alleviated pressure on IT to manage resources, and it expanded the scope of technology available. The system uses multifactor authentication to deliver the protection necessary for digital business.
“We required a framework that didn’t force users to obtain several types of tokens in order to access an application,” Huet says. ”We now have a system in place that is easy to use and does not disturb users unless there is a security risk.”
The company also recently rolled out a Centrify multifactor mobile device management (MDM) solution. “We have a security dashboard in place where we can view all applications and devices,” Huet says, adding that the transition to the new environment went smoothly, and the initiative has helped the IT department become more strategic and responsive to business needs. “The approach is helping the company embrace digital transformation,” he concludes.