Compass Group is a major foodservice company, with annual revenues of around £11 billion. With an extensive geographic and market sector coverage and employing over 400,000 people, the group’s business is diverse, operating in different regions and cultural environments. The global caterer expected a jump in margins in most regions around the world in the six months to the end of March, but exposure to weakening currencies had impacted its recovery.

Compass is in the middle of a restructuring programme that it hopes will help drive revenue in a more disciplined way, with greater focus on like-for-like growth and on cost reduction. Part of this restructuring extends to IT, where the company intends to focus on corporate IT governance rather than just corporate governance. Gerhard Eygelaar, director of IT for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) who has since left the firm, said the aim was to make information management more democratic and transparent by opening up decision-making and giving technology an independent status.

Eygelaar’s information management strategy is based on consensus and involves all the business units in the decision making process. “IT will still include the CFO, but other business and services units will be represented on the IT governance council. The decisions are made by stakeholders, so IT will become more aligned with the business. The business changes every single day and an information management policy must respond to this.”

Email management forms a crucial part of the company’s IT management strategy. It is the core method of doing business, hosting 80 per cent of business activity. With this reliance on email and with many operations in remote sites, the organisation chose to use a hosted email service from Cobweb Solutions. The service allows remote access in sites with no PC availability, using multiple methods including BlackBerry devices and PDAs. Key to the company’s new business initiatives is 4D2 Camp Configurator, a business intelligence tool that was developed inhouse.

“The business changes every single day and an information management policy must respond
to this”
– Gerhard Eygelaar, director of IT EMEA, Compass Group