Heineken brews up 'democratic' knowledge management

Mark Samuels Profile picture for user Mark Samuels June 22, 2023
The multi-national brewer is using Stravito’s enterprise insights platform to ensure everyone in the organisation has easy access to the data they need.


Brewing giant Heineken recently launched a two-year evergreen business strategy that’s focused on the creation of a consumer-centric mindset across the organization. To support this, it has implemented an enterprise insights platform to enable users across the business to access and share key data points.

The multi-national, which operates as a de-centralized business with more than 90 operating companies around the world, is using Stravito’s technology to share insights through an internally branded platform, known as Knowledge & Insight Management (KIM). 

Lalo Luna, Global Head of Strategy and Insights at Heineken, says KIM opens up access to information and boosts agility, making it easier for internal users to get hold of key insights quickly and effectively:

It's an advanced cloud-based insights platform. It's not only a nice and simple repository, but also more than that. It's helping us to centralise all the information, yet we're not just using it to collect data. It’s a user-friendly and intuitive platform that helps us to democratise information and unlock our objectives.

Making the change

KIM isn’t Heineken’s first attempt to centralize information. The company had a legacy knowledge management platform that required too much manual intervention. Luna says people stopped using the technology because it had a poor user interface and was too complicated. The company wanted something simpler that provided a single source of truth for people across the enterprise:

Part of this work is to ignite the curiosity of people in terms of understanding how to use our data. It's been quite a challenge, of course, but one of the key pillars of this endeavor has been to find a simple way to centralise consumer and company knowledge in one place.

The idea here is that people in marketing, sales, finance or logistics can use insight to inform their own projects. One of the key lessons  learned from running the legacy platform was that Heineken  needed to develop a strong platform with a seamless user experience. 

Stravito was selected in consultation with stakeholders and interested parties across the company, including the data and technology teams. Luna explains: 

They were very helpful in helping us understand the requirements from Heineken in terms of connection, security and everything else. And then the scoring and discussion process was not difficult, but very rigorous. 

The project took six months from RFP to implementation, with go-live in March 2022. By branding the platform as KIM, it was hoped that giving the platform a personality within Heineken would help people to see the benefits quicker, recalls Luna: 

When you brand a platform, the adoption is higher. When people feel that it's not an external tool, but a Heineken tool, then it's easier to push adoption. We wanted a name that reflects the essence of the platform. We didn't want it to just be identified as an insight repository where you can go and find a report.

Reaping the benefits


In the first 12 months since going live, Luna says KIM has reached 1,300 users, 30% of whom log in and use the platform every month. Luna says those usage patterns are a big break from the legacy systems of the past:

Senior directors and our C-level executives are using KIM and they are getting instant access to information. That's amazing – they don't need to wait one or two days. If they are working on something, they can get access to insight. And we’re receiving a lot of nice feedback from users.

Now, the aim is to ensure that the Stravito technology is as fully connected as possible with other digital systems and services in Heineken. On a day-to-day business, the platform already delivers a range of benefits, says Luna: 

KIM is normalized now. Everyone in the organization knows it. Now, for example, if a user wants to share information with someone, instead of sending a traditional email, they send a link to KIM.

KIM also provides data to Heineken’s dispersed global markets. Previously, some of these units might not have had the budget to run research. Now, they can access knowledge quickly, easily and cost effectively, notes Luna: 

People have discovered that there’s research all around the world that could be helpful for regional teams as part of the innovation process. These people can use KIM and, instead of spending money on new research, they can just reuse insights.

The plan, says Luna, is to continually develop KIM and to ensure the platform sits at the heart of Heineken’s data ecosystem. One of his team’s priorities will be to think about how they start exploiting generative AI:

We have thousands of reports and thousands of things that could be helpful. By embedding generative AI, we're going to be able to deliver a better, simpler experience and the teams are going to be able to digest the information easily. 

Luna advises other digital and business leaders who are looking to make the most of data to be similarly aware of new opportunities:

Be open to experimentation. As part of this journey, we faced people who were resilient at the beginning. But once tnekin prioritize partners who deliver a user-friendly experience and who want to embed new technologies.

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