DIA: Changing corporate culture via G Suite, with actionable insights to serve customers better

About DIA

International food and household goods retailer DIA operates in Spain, Portugal, Brazil, and Argentina, trading under five main brands. It has some 46,500 employees and 6,000 points of sale.

Industries: Retail & Consumer Goods
Location: Spain

About Intelligence Partner

Intelligence Partner is a Google Cloud Premier Partner for G Suite, Google Cloud, and Google Maps Platform and the first Spanish consultancy specializing in cloud computing technology and services.

DIA worked with Intelligence Partner to transform internal processes by using smart analytics and G Suite from Google Cloud to gamify personal productivity and reduce the use of email and meetings.

Google Cloud results

  • Decreases email volume and time spent in meetings by 20% through smart analytics dashboards
  • Improves meeting efficiency and efficacy through increased collaboration and timely feedback provided through Google webforms
  • Transforms workplace and increases productivity by empowering employees with actionable productivity insights

Gains €2m/yr in email and meeting efficiency costs

For many employees, juggling a large number of meetings and emails every day can be a full-time job in itself. At DIA (Distribuidora Internacional de Alimentación), one of the largest European grocery retailers, a team of innovative digital workplace technologists had an idea: What if they could improve daily efficiency and productivity simply by changing the company’s internal processes? Better still, what if it could repurpose the time spent dealing with meetings and emails, into time spent finding new ways to serve customers better?

Carlos Guinea Castillo, Head of Innovation at DIA, knew that email was a productivity drain and meetings were often inefficient. The company was working with a legacy email system that couldn’t provide the kind of granular analytics that could help his team identify potential areas for improvement. The company needed to improve productivity with better collaboration and communications tools, while at the same time avoiding internal spam and improving meeting efficiency. There was also a growing need for field employees to be able to communicate with colleagues at headquarters and have easy access to inventory and other data from their laptops and mobile devices.

The DIA Digital Workplace Area evaluates which technology the company can provide for employees to boost performance, intelligence, and cooperation. Research was being conducted on a huge amount of projects from chatbots to virtual reality, but the team felt they needed to focus on the basics first. DIA was spending a lot of money on advanced technology only to hear from employees that they didn’t have time to use it. The Digital Workplace team took a close look at where people were spending their time.

“Every day, DIA office employees sent 70 emails and spent an average of two hours in meetings. They didn’t collaborate enough. They answered the same email over and over. Other companies are unsuccessfully trying to fix this problem with training and lectures. We found a solution that works using G Suite and smart analytics.”

Carlos Guinea Castillo, Head of Innovation, DIA

Making actionable productivity insights with Google Cloud and G Suite

DIA consulted Google Cloud Premier Partner Intelligence Partner to see how it could leverage Google Cloud solutions to address these challenges. Specifically, Carlos wanted to use smart analytics to help drive true business transformation. With its previous experience with gamification, the digital workplace team was convinced that the key to changing behavior was to put data in the hands of individual users and make actionable insights fun. DIA had confidence that if individual employees could easily understand where they were being inefficient, they would take steps on their own to improve. Adding an element of competition between departments would provide visibility to the entire organization on the types of productivity gains being made and spur employees to keep getting better.

“Every day, DIA office employees sent 70 emails and spent an average of two hours in meetings. They didn’t collaborate enough. They answered the same email over and over,” says Carlos. “Other companies are unsuccessfully trying to fix this problem with training and lectures. We found a solution that works using G Suite and smart analytics.”

In order to even attempt this behavioral transformation, DIA needed to overhaul its email and office productivity solutions. Intelligence Partner recommended implementing Google Cloud solutions including G Suite, BigQuery, Compute Engine, and App Engine. With Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Sheets, and Slides being quickly adopted by DIA office employees, Intelligence Partners and DIA’s Digital Workplace team got to work developing a hybrid cloud smart analytics solution that would pull KPIs out of these tools and provide them to individual employees in the form of weekly dashboard reports. App Engine collects data from G Suite APIs such as Gmail, Calendar, and Drive APIs in BigQuery, which is turned into “scorecards” in Google Data Studio.

“DIA has plenty of people analytics data, but what were we doing with it? It was being analyzed by data scientists and wasn’t helping us. It needed to get directly to employees so they could make actionable insights. With weekly dashboard reports and competition with other departments, productivity increased.”

Pablo Maximiliano Benitez, CIO Spain, DIA

Combining gamification and analytics to transform corporate culture

The result was the Smarteam Analytics platform built on BigQuery and Compute Engine. The platform extracts G Suite metrics and presents a series of individual dashboards to measure and continuously improve productivity and efficiency. KPIs include email quantity and the level of anxiety individual emails create, meeting effectiveness, and the degree of collaboration across shared documents. Smarteam Analytics allows DIA to increase its return on investment for the company’s biggest expense, human resources, by freeing employees from non-productive tasks like repetitive email loops. The result has been true culture transformation as measured by engagement with Smarteam Analytics, increased productivity, and new focus on higher value tasks.

“DIA has plenty of people analytics data, but what were we doing with it? It was being analyzed by data scientists and wasn’t helping us,” says Pablo. “It needed to get directly to employees so they could make actionable insights. With weekly dashboard reports and competition with other departments, productivity increased.”

DIA was able to launch the Smarteam Analytics platform with just a 30-minute kickoff, designed not as regular training, but as an interactive and practical session. The time was spent on helping employees take stock of what the challenges were and showing them how to look at the data. Introducing the element of competition by comparing KPIs at the department level has proven enough to get the needle moving on behavioral change. Despite originating in the IT department, the project soon became a collaboration with the HR department as well. As the project’s greatest supporter, HR worked with Technology to get good traction for behavioral change. Sent email volume is down by 22%, while received emails are 19% lower. Meetings are 20% more efficient in terms of punctuality, attendees, and actionability. A full 97% of employees say that using G Suite tools such as Docs, Sheets, and Slides makes them more efficient.

Collaboration has also increased offline. Empowered with their individual productivity data, employees see exactly where they can make changes to improve their efficiency. They’re making team agreements that go directly towards reducing redundant email load. For instance, an employee who sees that their manager is sending a lot of emails each week might ask them to schedule a 15-minute meeting each Friday to talk about things in person instead. This is boosting efficiency all around DIA.

Not content to stop with efficiency KPIs, the Digital Workplace team decided to create a Google webform to measure the efficacy of each meeting conducted at DIA. They already had data about how many hours per week people were spending in meetings as well as the resources they were consuming in terms of energy and facilities. But they wanted to get at the data that G Suite couldn’t provide. Were the right people being invited? Were the agendas effective? With responses to just three questions that meeting attendees evaluate on a scale of one to five, the Smarteam Analytics platform adds meeting efficacy as a KPI.

DIA gamification system used by employees
DIA gamification system and cards used by employees
DIA gamification cards used by employees

Transforming corporate culture by empowering employees with data

DIA piloted the Smarteam Analytics platform with 300 office workers in two countries. They saw an immediate gain of six to eight hours per month per employee and were able to extrapolate a projected €2 million efficiency gain company-wide once the platform was fully implemented. Now that office and field employees in Spain have all been onboarded, the next step is for DIA to roll out the platform to their Argentinian and Brazilian colleagues.

“Google Cloud and G Suite have helped us to democratize data analytics at DIA. We may be a grocery business, but we understand that productivity gains start with individuals, not by company mandate. Giving our employees access to their own data has changed everything.”

Alejandro Grande, Chief Human Resources Officer, DIA

Though DIA remains a successful international grocery retailer, the Smarteam Analytics platform has opened up new horizons for the company. Together with Intelligence Partner, it is commercializing the platform so that other companies can start to drive cultural change in their organizations with smart analytics. The commercialization project has two objectives: to auto-fund other projects from the innovation portfolio and to break internal walls to build business from technology, internal developments, and solutions. DIA plans to use its current array of Google Cloud products to build the solution and enable it to be installed by any large corporation via the Google Cloud Console.

For now, DIA is focused on transforming the culture among its office and mobile employees for a happier, more productive workforce. But in its next phase, the project will bring the same principles of people, analytics, and gamification to store operations, giving its customers something new to be happy about as well. “Google Cloud and G Suite have helped us to democratize data analytics at DIA,” adds Carlos. “We may be a grocery business, but we understand that productivity gains start with individuals, not by company mandate. Giving our employees access to their own data has changed everything.”

About DIA

International food and household goods retailer DIA operates in Spain, Portugal, Brazil, and Argentina, trading under five main brands. It has some 46,500 employees and 6,000 points of sale.

Industries: Retail & Consumer Goods
Location: Spain

About Intelligence Partner

Intelligence Partner is a Google Cloud Premier Partner for G Suite, Google Cloud, and Google Maps Platform and the first Spanish consultancy specializing in cloud computing technology and services.