Phillip Morris CTO scraps bimodal IT for consumer-centric model

The company’s technology transformation ties together back-office and customer-facing digital channels, says CTO Michael Voegele.

Phillip Morris CTO scraps bimodal IT for consumer-centric model
Phillip Morris International

Long the face of Big Tobacco, Phillip Morris International (PMI) is leaning into IT to remain relevant in an industry undergoing disruption. With light shed on its dark history of concealing scientific evidence of the health impacts of smoking, cigarette smoking has reached its lowest levels among adults in decades, spurring the $133 billion company to consolidate its corporate IT and customer-facing channels into one global IT function as part of a push to become a more vertically integrated company.

To facilitate this shift, CTO Michael Voegele is modernizing legacy systems and processes with cloud services and agile delivery models. Voegele, who was hired away from Adidas Group in early 2019 to orchestrate PMI’s tech overhaul, is also reskilling employees and hiring key tech talent to implement and manage these changes.

The transformation is hyper-focused on creating an omnichannel experience for consumers of the company’s e-cigarettes, commonly known as “vapes,” a smoke-free tobacco product.

Digital transformations have received greater urgency during the coronavirus pandemic as companies rush to adapt their business models to the New Normal. More than 80 percent of companies are accelerating their digital transformations in response to COVID-19, according to research BCG published in October. One critical factor for success is an integrated strategy with well-defined goals tied to specific, quantified business outcomes, says Patrick Forth, a BCG managing director and co-author of the research.

Bye-bye bimodal

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