Case study: PepsiCo Europe’s digital transformation journey

Posted: 05/31/2017

In just four years, PepsiCo underwent huge internal changes to become more digitally focused, the Senior Director Digital takes us on their transformative journey

At the recent Millennial 20/20 summit at the Old Truman Brewery in London, the focus was unsurprisingly on all things digital. After all, millennials are often referred to as the first true digital generation.

The event provided attendees the chance to hear first-hand experiences, insights and expertise from big brands such as Revlon, Air France, Aldo Group, Buzzfeed, Lego, Facebook, BBC and many more, and how they’ve adapted to the ever-changing customer and digital landscape.

SEE ALSO: The biggest CX and marketing learnings from Millennial 20/20

One multi-national corporation sharing their transformative journey was PepsiCo. Their Senior Director Digital, Becky Taylor, presented a case study on four years of digital transformation, including their biggest learnings along the way.

They key to a successful digital transformation according to Taylor? Blending sales, marketing and IT with a revamped company culture that has digital front of mind.

PepsiCo’s four-year journey

Looking at the PepsiCo journey specifically over the last few years, to help achieve this, the scale and scope of the digital journey has understandable changed over the years:

  • Pre-2013 they were in the explore stage (ad hoc leader-led digital initiatives and roles)
  • 2013-2014 marked the test phase (proof of concept and creating a cross-functional team in the UK)
  • 2015-2016 saw the build of the digital ecosystem (including investments to step change capability in Europe)
  • In 2017-2018 they aim to accelerate this structure (though embedding a digital culture in the way they work)

While PepsiCo now has a good foundation in place for a digital ecosystem, Taylor said that they’re only 1 per cent complete and they still need to do more to actually embed this change into the entire business culture.

One cross-functional team to unlock digital advantage

One key way in which PepsiCo is aiming to build that digital business culture and unlock a commercial advantage is through their cross-functional team. Their digital team encompasses three core strands: ecommerce sales, digital marketing and IT. The UX, data and technology functions sit underneath all these three branches.

Together they form ONE digital team, with ONE standing for:

  • Open (regular, transparent communications)
  • Networked (collaborate to learn faster together)
  • Effective (empowered team with joint goals)

“The digital agenda moves so fast, if we’re joined up we can move faster together and be more agile,” Taylor explained.

A digital framework to fuel growth

Taylor continued to say that their digital framework is what now shapes their mission and priorities, and they’re fuelling growth through an integrated digital transformation. These five pillars are:

    1. Integrating ways of working (embedding new processes)
    2. Delivering the basics (meeting new standards)
    3. Shaping, testing and learning (scaling or failing)
    4. Leveraging data (unlocking insight)
    5. And underlining all of these is: building capability (skilled to succeed)

The future of PepsiCo’s digital journey

They don’t stop with these five pillars at PepsiCo though, as Taylor said their mission is to “continue to raise the floor” in the digital space in the coming years through:

  • Top down support from senior leaders
  • Continuous and consistent communication
  • Formal documentation (best practise definitions, example case studies, clear actions to replicate)
  • Governance with regular reporting
  • Celebrating successes

In addition to this, the PepsiCo digital team will also continue to look for opportunities to go one step further and “raise the ceiling” through:

  • Finding a team who have a need for change
  • Focussing on improving 1-2 major impact areas
  • Building strategic external relationships to share expertise
  • Leveraging diverse experience and thinking internally
  • Testing and learning
  • Scaling lessons learnt fast
  • Generating internal fame and visibility for those leaning in

What have been the key elements to unlock success in your digital transformation journey? Are you going through a similar process as PepsiCo or have you taken a completely different approach? Let us and your peers know in the comments below or email the editor on

Posted: 05/31/2017