How do you keep your workforce engaged and collaborating when you have nearly 20,000 employees spread around the globe?

For spirits and wine giant Pernod Ricard, this wasn’t a typical people management challenge. The French group uses a decentralized approach to managing its 85 global subsidiaries so they can be closer to customers and keep their brand identities.

It’s a smart strategy, given the group’s diverse portfolio of brands, from Absolut Vodka, Ricard pastis, and Martell cognac to Ballantine’s, Chivas Regal, Royal Salute, and The Glenlivet Scotch whiskies. But it also brings a challenge: how to ensure these dispersed teams work together. Pernod Ricard knows that when offices and people are siloed, it’s much harder for them to collaborate.

“There was a realization that we had to improve the way we communicated; the way we collaborated across teams and countries,” says Antonio Eguizabal, Pernod Ricard’s Head of IT Operations Global Services.

One of the first steps Eguizabal and his team took was to roll out modern video conferencing systems across all Pernod Ricard offices. This greatly eased the way staff communicated and collaborated.

Then the group began exploring Microsoft Teams’ potential. It decided to use this technology as its sole collaboration tool, to do away with the complexity of having multiple platforms. However, this led to another challenge: how would Pernod Ricard link its hundreds of standards-based meeting rooms and devices to Teams? Replacing them with Teams-certified devices wasn’t an option.

“We weren’t interested in doing a massive replacement. It would have been too costly and time-consuming,” says Eguizabal. “We wanted to keep our legacy devices for as long as possible.”

Seamlessly linking room systems to Teams

Thankfully for Pernod Ricard, BlueJeans had the solution. Through BlueJeans Gateway for Microsoft Teams, the group could quickly and easily connect existing devices and conference rooms to Teams.

Although Eguizabal looked at other available solutions, he preferred BlueJeans Gateway’s cloud-based architecture. He also liked the fact that the solution could support any type of video conferencing hardware.

“We have nearly all brands of video conferencing devices. And this was why we looked for a solution that was hardware agnostic.”

Pernod Ricard deployed BlueJeans Gateway in mid-2020 — enabling each of its 400 meeting rooms across its offices to connect to Teams in just a matter of minutes.

“If we had to replace those 400 meeting rooms and get new devices that are Teams-compatible, it would have taken us more than a year. So we saved not just in terms of hardware costs, but also time, money, and effort to replace our devices,” says Eguizabal. “The benefits of that are amazing.”

Boosting workplace collaboration

Regardless of the systems used in their conference rooms, 19,000 Pernod Ricard employees can now join Teams meetings with the touch of a button. They don’t have to deal with delays in getting on a video conference and can enjoy more productive meetings.

Their ability to seamlessly join meetings from any device has become even more important since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Whether they’re working from home or the office, they’ve been able to continue communicating and collaborating from anywhere in the world.

“We were lucky because before lockdowns happened, we were ready. We had enabled remote work through tools such as Teams,” says Eguizabal.

“In some ways, the pandemic has forced everybody to use technologies like Teams to keep working despite disruption. They’ve realized that there’s no reason they can’t keep doing what they’ve been doing remotely.”

Now, Pernod Ricard is ready to move to the next stage in its journey to becoming more collaborative: using Teams’ advanced capabilities, with BlueJeans Gateway as a connector.

We can’t wait to see what it achieves next!

Read the full case study and learn how BlueJeans can speed up your adoption of Microsoft Teams. To learn more about BlueJeans Gateway for Microsoft Teams and sign up a free trial, visit this page.