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Adidas: “A state-of-the-art workplace is a key success factor” Article

Marc van der Heijden senior vice president of global IT at Adidas, discusses the company’s vision for a truly mobile first corporate culture…

Enterprise AppsWorld: Tell us about how Adidas is letting technology influence and evolve its professional culture?

Marc van der Heijden:  It’s a bit of a cliché, but we have, among our senior management team for IT and supply chain, agreed that we go mobile first. We reached that agreement nine months ago. We are now operationalising this approach on various levels and are very serious about it. It’s in-sync with an HR initiative too.

We believe that having a really state-of-the-art workplace – which the young staff of today can relate to – we believe this is a key success factor for our company, to be an employer of choice, to drive productivity etc.

So where’s the emphasis going to be?

It will be centred on connectivity, and enhancing the productivity of our people. We have 46,000 people, roughly half of that is office staff, the other half is mainly retail. Mobile is an important enabler for further enhancing connectivity, collaboration and choice: those are the ‘three cs’ on which we have based our workplace strategy that we’re now unfolding and starting to implement piece by piece.

Can you share any examples with us?

It starts with the strategy, so when we say ‘connectivity, collaboration and choice,’ that means we are working towards a workplace which is truly any place, any device, any time. That implies a few things. It implies that your data is always centrally stored. It implies that the applications you want to use are device agnostic, including your mobile devices like iPhones and iPads. Those are the two really important implications, and then when we choose solutions. We take certain core applications which people want to access even while travelling and we make them available on iPhones; we change our telephony contract in view of the fact that we believe we will abandon landlines – those are the some examples, but there’s more.

It terms of demonstrable successes, are there any, or is it still early days?

I would say it’s still early days. The feedback on some of the initiatives we’re now in the middle of is very positive. The feedback for example for a video conferencing solution we’re offering across iPhones, laptops and conference rooms – it is very, very positive. The same for retail when we say we’ll make Lync available on mobile and add on group chat functionality: people truly believe that that will drive the collaboration between the store managers in the retail stores we have, so they can talk real time about topics and operational issues they have. I don’t have numbers but it’s more about being connected in real time and making decisions on all levels not restricted by hierarchy.

What are you looking forward to learning at Enterprise AppsWorld?

I want to see where others are going. I’m not an infrastructure guy by heart at all: I like to work in broad strokes, so what I’m looking for in a forum like this is to understand the practicalities, to learn about some of the practical constraints and solutions.

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