A company’s most precious asset is its people: Interview with Emmanuel Dreux, Sodexo

11-03-2020 | Interview

Interview with Emmanuel Dreux, Payments Project Leader for Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services (BRS).

“A company’s most precious asset is its people. Fulfilled, motivated people are the key to your ongoing success. We partner with companies to build within and beyond the workplace distinctive Employee Experiences and seamless Mobility and Expense Management solutions, proven to boost engagement and drive business success. Our services are leading the way. Every day, we serve 440,000 clients and 36 million consumers, relying on a strong network of 1.3 million affiliated merchants. Payment being a key enabler of our products, we have set up a dedicated team to ensure that we rely on the right capabilities. The team is also responsible for developing and deploying global digital payment solutions in all the countries where we operate”.

Emmanuel, tell us a bit about your background in payments, and why you joined Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services payment team 2 years ago?

In my previous experience as CEO of Smart Prepaid, I designed, developed and launched B2C and B2B gift cards from scratch. Enabling payment was at the core of the solution. It was new to me at that time and it was a very challenging and interesting journey. When I was offered the opportunity to lead payment initiatives within Sodexo BRS Digital Transformation, it was an opportunity to leverage my expertise and a challenge I look on with enthusiasm.

Sodexo is undergoing a digital transformation. What role has the payments team played in this process and how have you approached this huge task?

Indeed, the task is huge and complex. We work with many countries from different regions (Latin America, Asia, and Europe) to build payment solutions that are relevant for all. With the payment landscapes often being very different from one country to another, the team has played a key role in managing this complexity. Our digital transformation aims at embracing the digital world by creating high-quality payment solutions to deliver the best in class customer experiences. The role of our team is to design, develop and deploy global payment solutions across all of our geographies. These solutions allow Sodexo BRS countries to benefit from our global expertise and practices and thus to focus on their core activity. Our approach is based on co-designing solutions with local teams, following the agile methodology to be able to test, adjust and accelerate our time to market.

What have been some of the main successes you have experienced, and also some of the biggest challenges you have encountered within the payment project?

Our biggest challenge is our legacy. It makes the journey towards our target solutions more complex, yet very interesting. So far, our main success has been to build a highly effective, multicultural team, with complementary capabilities, expertise and ways of thinking. This is a key success factor in a global environment, and PaymentGenes has been of great help in sourcing the best profiles. Thanks to this team, we have successfully designed and developed our first global solution that is already running in Brazil and Romania. Beyond being a technical provider, I can proudly say that, with the team, we have successfully grown into a business partner.

Are there any exciting projects, product launches or other big news from Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services that we should keep an eye out for?

We are keeping busy by following the latest payment trends. Every day, we see new players and new technologies coming in. It can be scary but it’s very exciting too. There are lots of new opportunities to catch!

As a payments professional, what do you think will be the biggest trend in the payments industry in 2020?

Payment will be everywhere and no longer unilateral. This will contribute to reinforcing competition between closed and open payments platforms where new standards should appear.

You have worked closely with PaymentGenes to build your payments team. Can you tell us about your experience so far and how we have have been able to achieve joint success?

Finding the right person for the right position is critical in this competitive payment environment, and PaymentGenes has played the role of a business partner in that sense. We’ve always had insightful discussions to help us define our needs and then formalise job descriptions. We have benefited from their expertise and international exposure to have a better view of the market.

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