DANONE presentation #PLA2020

Danone R&I Lab Digitalization: beyond the hype, from injunction to user reality


In Fast Moving Consumer Goods - FMCG - sector, as in others, “Digitalise” is currently one of the most common injunction. Often perceived as an evidence and a must-do, the complexity to grasp what is behind this concept definitively destabilizes the organizations. Destabilising not only IT departments that were quite focused on process enablement for a while through ERP based approaches but also  the labs and R&I departments who are wondering how to embrace this “for good” preventing from the stratification of solutions over the time.

For the first ones, the challenge is to develop new behaviors and skills to explore, understand an ecosystem of providers & tech trends that is rapidly evolving, in order to identify the solutions that can bring value “in”.

For the others, the labs,  digital technologies are ubiquitous and supposed to solve on the paper many (if not all) issues and even, unlock some business potential. Without having clear assignment to “digitalize”, they however have to focus on their day to day activities without awareness on technologies and their added value.

Within Danone, we started 3 years ago the journey to digitalize R&I and its laboratories. Taking one step back, the objective of our talk is to share how we dealt with the “Digitalize injunction” to make a real step change happen. We made, amongst others, the choice of a bottom up & user experience approach under the impulsion of IT function. The benefits of this approach as well as the questions it raises in the light of the growing digital maturity of the company will also be discussed.

We will first detail our user centric methodology, based on co-constructions with our business partners. We will then give examples of solutions developed and aimed at either facilitating, improving or transforming user journeys.  This will be an opportunity to show how some tech trends (AI, Machine learning, IoT, Virtual Reality, Big Data, RPA ... ) have been leveraged. We will share the main key success factors of this journey: building on existing internal processes, promoting technological trends initiatives, leveraging proximity with users, acting within the company with an intrapreneurship mindset... We will conclude on the current limits of our approach – necessity of a strong business partner on boarding and necessity to combine both user centric and more global program approaches – and how we intend to overcome them.


Clara Kao Danone presenting at PLA2020

Name: Clara Kao

Title: IT Team Leader for Research & Innovation

Clara has a background in Microbiology, Food Sciences and Information System. She started her career within Danone in 2000 after her PhD in  the “Cultures and Fermentation” R&D department. She then moved to Quality and Food Safety where she has been working on biological risks assessment. During these years, she has always been an information systems activist,  implementing solutions aimed at optimizing the management of knowledge. After several roles of both business project leader and change manager  on IS projects, she decided in 2013 to devote herself to IS.

She is now managing the IS team delivering service for Danone R&D, having in her scope amongst others LIMS, ELN…. She is also acting to leverage the value of new technologies for the R&D laboratories and is a strong promotor of a sustainable and responsible digitalization.

eric gressier Danone presenting PLA2020

Name: Eric Gressier 

Title: IT Director for Research & Innovation


Graduated of the EM Lyon Business School with a specialization in information systems and controlling, Eric Gressier began his career at Gattefossé GmbH in 2002 before joining Evian and then the Danone Group in France and in the Netherlands. After 6 years of experience in information systems as products owner (SAP, SFA, BI tools) and business analyst for the sales department, Eric joined the IT teams to successively manage the support and third-party application maintenance of the French & corporate digital enterprise department and then lead the worldwide set-up & deployment of HR systems such as Cornerstone & SuccessFactors. Eric took the responsibility of IT Director for Research & Innovation in 2016  on a global scope (Paris, Utrecht, Singapore) to enable the digital transformation.

danone at paperless lab academy

Danone’s commitment to bringing health through food is as old as the company itself. In 1919, Isaac Carasso began making yogurt to help children with intestinal infections, using cultures from the Pasteur Institute. In the 1920s, he sold his first yogurts in Barcelona pharmacies before expanding into grocery stores. Even prior to this, in the late 1890's, Nutricia - which joined forces with Danone in 2007 - was pioneering discoveries that have transformed people's lives around the world

For a century, we’ve been faithful to his original purpose, selling healthy, delicious products tailored to the nutritional needs and eating habits of our consumers. Essential Dairy and Plant-Based Products, Waters, Early Life Nutrition and Medical Nutrition–all of our ranges share the same goal: offering innovative, top-quality products that meet the expectations of consumers at every stage of life. And while our business is about nourishing people and helping them take care of their health, we never forget that it’s also about helping them live better lives and share their enjoyment with others.

Now more than ever, consumers are concerned with food. The revolution now underway is shaping how products are made and consumed, as well as our approach to preserving resources and protecting the environment.

danone mission