Following Campari Australia’s rollout of HP ElitePad’s running Windows 8 within its sales and marketing teams, we caught up with Loic Herbin, IT Manager, APAC, Campari, to discuss the reasons behind their implementation, the success they’ve seen to date, and the beveraging company’s future plans with the Windows 8 platform.

 

Q: Given Campari Australia is still relatively new to the Australian market, what is the size of your operation? What Microsoft technology is being used?
A: Since launching in Australia in 2010 the team has grown from zero to more than 100, with sales offices in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. Three team members are a dedicated IT team responsible for managing our systems in this region. We’re probably best known for the Wild Turkey brand, but we also have American Honey, SKYY Vodka, Appleton Estate Rum, Coruba Rum, Aperol, Frangelico, Riccadonna, and our namesake, Campari , to name a few.

While the Australian market is still getting to know us, our company was established in 1860 and is one of the top ten global spirits companies. From a global perspective, the last 10 to 15 years has been an exciting time as we’ve grown and expanded our offerings through various acquisitions. We’re looking forward to continuing to grow our business and expand our footprint in the Australian market.

We’re a big Microsoft shop and recently supplied each member of our sales and marketing teams with an HP ElitePad 900 running Windows 8.  We have plans to upgrade each laptop and desktop PC in the business to Windows 8. On top of this our systems are running on Windows Server 2008, we use SharePoint 2010 and Microsoft Lync. Windows 8 integrates seamlessly in our infrastructure. You could say Microsoft is a crucial component of Campari’s IT platform and strategy.

Q: Why did you look to supply your sales and marketing teams with tablets running Windows 8?
A: Pure convenience. When using tablets, the software launches quickly, there’s no need for additional hardware like a mouse, and the user face is intuitive and interactive. Combined, these deliver a great user experience that supports our sales and marketing teams.

We’ve also introduced a new CRM system this year, so it was the ideal time to introduce a change in the way we do business. Previously our team had to store information locally on their laptops or present customers with hard copies of presentations. I’m sure you would agree that this isn’t the most compelling customer experience, which is why we’ve deployed tablets along with a new CRM platform to really bring the great work we’re doing to life.

Q: What’s the strategic value of adopting the HP tablet with Windows 8? What other options did you consider?
A: There’s a lot of options in the market and working with our IT team, we looked individually at all the options. HP’s Windows 8 Tablet gave us all of the functionality and productivity we needed in one device. For example, Office with Excel and PowerPoint is used by our team extensively and it was important to have these programs on the same device as opposed to our team using multiple devices to do their jobs. In the end, it was an easy choice from a sales perspective and an easy choice for our IT team as well.

Having said that, we did look at the iPad however we determined that we couldn’t achieve the same level of productivity compared to a Windows 8 tablet. Yes you can get email but, for example, you can’t add new slides to a PowerPoint presentation or use the full functionality of Excel or Word. At the end of the day Windows 8 had the functionality and workability which the iPad lacked.

Q: How did you drive user adoption of the HP tablets running Windows 8?
A: To ensure the widespread adoption of the HP tablets running Windows 8 among our sales and marketing teams, we trained a team member from each state who was then responsible for educating their state teams. Microsoft did a great job of showing our “super-users” how to get the most out of Windows 8 and, as a result of having internal staff championing the technology, uptake has been rapid.

It took around a week for users to get used to the new operating system but since then we’ve never looked back. The intuitive user face of Windows 8 was a critical factor in this. Furthermore, tablets are such a common form of technology today that it didn’t require staff to grasp a new concept or identify the benefits either.

Since going live with the devices the feedback has been very good. We’ll probably look to adopt tablets with bigger memory in the future but, in terms of user friendliness, it doesn’t compare. It’s great to see the sales and marketing teams coming to work with a smile on their face.

Q: Why did you opt to use tablets running Windows 8 rather than supplying your team with laptops?
A: Giving our team better tools often leads to better results. At the core, this was the reason behind supplying each member of Campari Australia’s sales and marketing teams with the devices. With a tablet users can quickly get up and running during customer presentations, the device is light-weight to carry around, and the battery life is impressive. What’s more, providing our team members with up-to-date technology ensures we look forward thinking in front of our customers, which is an important aspect of the service and values we aim to deliver.
 
I was always convinced that one day the services available through laptops and tablets would be unified, and it’s no surprise Microsoft is one of the companies leading the charge in this arena.

Q: How did Windows 8 help you overcome any security concerns related to using tablets?
A: Moving to Windows 8 was a natural progression for Campari’s IT team, and this really helped overcome any issues regarding security. Previously, we had a mix of XP and Windows 7 users, which delivered the required level of security at the time. Upgrading to Windows 8 prevents our staff from uploading applications to the tablets without authorisation, which allows us to efficiently manage the system and the services we deliver. Providing adequate security levels when building IT platforms must always be a key consideration, and using Windows 8 means we have no major headaches when doing so. At the end of the day Windows 8 is an OS that has fantastic workability and our transition to tablets has been smooth.

Q: What’s Gruppo Campari’s future plans for the Windows 8 platform?
A: Our head office team is closely watching the deployment in Australia and is considering Windows 8 globally as part of our global mobility strategy. China recently went live with Windows 8 running across a collection of Acer devices. For our sales and marketing teams in particular, they often need to access company information on the go and we’re looking to incorporate these abilities into the devices supplied. We’re also looking to integrate Microsoft Lync so that users can quickly and efficiently communicate with one another on the move.

The capabilities enabled by Windows 8 also mean that Campari is looking to build its own Windows 8 application, which will allow the sales team to easily show our customers how to make cocktails with a selection of Campari products. As I’ve said previously, better tools lead to better results, and Windows 8’s abilities are a perfect example.

Q: Does Gruppo Campari have plans to move to Windows 8.1, and what are you looking forward to most?
A: I think we’ll move to Windows 8.1 as soon as it’s commercially available. We’ve been really impressed with the functionality delivered by Windows 8, and we can’t wait to see what’s coming next. And if anything else, we’re looking forward to the return of the start button to the main menu.