Imperial Tobacco lists Davidoff, Gauloises, West, JPS, Drum, Rizla and Montecristo amongst its smoking products. By market share it is the fourth largest cigarette maker and the world’s largest cigar manufacturer. Listed on the London Stock Exchange and headquartered in the UK the company has 51 factories around the world. It manufactures 320 billion cigarettes a year and in 2011 had a reported capitalisation of £24.3 billion.

IT Leader: René Hoondert, Head of Group IS

In role since: October 2010

Reporting line: Reports to the FD

Board level seat: No

IT budget:  Between one  and two per cent of revenues

IT estate and or number of log on accounts under the control of the IT leader: 15,000 login accounts

Level of the workforce that relies on technology to carry out their tasks: About 75 per cent of the workforce rely on some form of IT technology. Total of 38,000 employees

IT staff currently employed: About 450 IS staff on the payroll globally

Split between in-house/outsourced staff: A balance of 75 per cent internal staff  and 25 per cent contractors  and IS consultants not on the payroll.

IT management team and reporting structure:  Group IS Management Team consists of nine people:

-        IS Director Manufacturing & Supply Chain

-        Global IS Relations & Compliance Manager

-        Group IS Corporate Services manager

-        Centre of Excellence Managers for Sales & Marketing, Supply Chain and Manufacturing.

-        IS Directors Legacy systems in France & Spain

Everyone in the Group IS management team is responsible for IS governance, stakeholder management, senior business relationships and ensuring IS priorities are aligned with business needs and priorities.

Primary technology platforms at the organisation:

  • ERP for Manufacturing, Sales & Distribution, Accounting and Supply Chain planning & execution.
  • CRM for sales force automation and managing the relationship with the trade.
  • Office Automation, personal productivity & collaboration tools.

Primary technology suppliers:  SAP, QAD, Siebel/Oracle, Microsoft, DELL, KPNi and Info AG.

Significant strategic technology deals been struck in the last 12 months: Renewal of international network infrastructure contract (with KPNi) & datacentre hosting contract with Info AG.

Technologies considered by the leader to offer their organisation potential: Emerging technologies that are strategically important for Imperial Tobacco are Cloud computing, SOA, Mobility, Consumerisation of IT, Advanced Analytics, Collaboration Tools, Virtualisation/Green IT.

Future transformation and technology vision for the organisation:  There’s a long list of strategic IS objectives but some of the aims are:

-        Further integration, standardisation & optimisation of the business applications landscape (SAP, QAD and Siebel).

-        Improve the use of office automation, personal productivity tools and collaboration tools.

-        Implement and upgrade advanced Business Intelligence solutions across the Group.

Future transformation and technology vision for the organisation:  I don’t believe that emerging technology will make revolutionary changes to our company’s business model or transform the way that we operate. I do believe that technology can make a significant contribution to the efficiency of our operations and the way people interact and collaborate.