Anheuser-Busch InBev brews data-driven transformation to lure talent

Brewing conglomerate AB InBev believes it has crafted a winning recipe to attract top Silicon Valley talent: decades of data and a commitment to emerging tech to help solve business challenges.

CIOs at large enterprises are quick to blame Silicon Valley stalwarts and startups for why they struggle to lure top tech talent. But that narrative doesn't sit well with Tassilo Festetics, vice president of global solutions for $132 billion brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), who believes it's incumbent on IT leaders to change the narrative.

In his view, the uphill battles facing enterprises that weren't born digital present technologists an opportunity to burnish their resumes. AB InBev, which formed in 2008 from a three-way merger between Interbrew, AmBev and Anheuser-Busch, offers data scientists a trove of "real-life" data sets they couldn't tap into elsewhere.

"We offer a lot that tech companies don't have today," in terms of opportunity to solve business challenges, Festetics tells CIO.com. On that score, AB InBev, whose flagship Anheuser-Busch brand launched in 1852, is mining decades worth of data while leveraging artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IoT) and blockchain to propel its business into the future.

Drinking the digital Kool-Aid

The track record for legacy companies reinventing themselves as digital leaders isn't great. Emboldened by the idea of transforming itself as a digital industrial company, General Electric lured techies from the likes of Cisco Systems, Microsoft, and Google, only to watch its aspirations fizzle out in recent years. Nike, Ford and Procter & Gamble experienced fits and starts and reshuffled management teams in pursuit of shiny tech products and services, according to Harvard Business Review.

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