Publicis Groupe’s Marcel Is Finally Here

What can be called as one of its more ambitious bets under its Chairman and CEO, Arthur Sadoun, Publicis Groupe has finally ‘unboxed’ Marcel with the objective to transform from a holding company to an enterprise platform.

Marcel, named after Publicis Groupe founder Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet, is an AI-powered innovation that will accelerate this transformation, creating a borderless, frictionless enterprise workforce, comprising 80,000 employees worldwide.

“In June last year, Publicis Groupe announced the creation of Marcel, to connect our 80,000 employees and completely reinvent the way that we work, for ourselves and our clients. Since then, our industry has gone through unprecedented challenges, demonstrating that incremental change is not a solution. The need for reinvention is stronger than ever,” said Mr Sadoun.

He reminded that Publicis Groupe has been on a path of integration for some time now. The Groupe broken the divide between data, creativity and technology, and broke its silos through the Power of One. With Marcel, it is dissolving the barriers between talent and opportunity.

“Marcel is a journey to shift Publicis Groupe from a holding company to a platform and give creative minds the freedom to progress and thrive in this ever-changing industry. Marcel is the proof of our commitment to our people. Marcel is the proof of our commitment to our clients. They will be able to leverage our incredible diversity of talent to bring to life the ideas they need to grow their business. And, of course, Marcel is the proof of our commitment to our industry. We will be a force for good, by leading the change,” Mr Sadoun added.

He acknowledged that tying the development of Marcel to the Groupe’s one-year industry event hiatus was controversial, but a necessary decision. “It drew a line in the sand and left no doubt that we are determined to do whatever it takes to reinvent an industry that has struggled to evolve over the past 40 years,” he said.

Microsoft AI is being used to power the knowledge graph behind Marcel, and the conversational AI experience that is bringing this knowledge to every employee. Microsoft’s technical knowledge and industry-leading cloud capabilities including Azure and Office 365 were used for this.

People-First Focus
In a world where people no longer want to work for companies and instead expect companies to work for them, Marcel is an enterprise platform designed with people-first benefits and experiences in mind. At its core, Marcel is about empowering every single Publicis employee to the power of 80,000. Founded in a belief that an augmented workforce leads to higher engagement, which in turn leads to better work and results for clients, Marcel is built on the foundation of four key pillars: knowledge, connectivity, opportunity and productivity.

The power of knowledge serves to educate and inspire Publicis’ people through creative work and business, industry, account and cultural intelligence.
The power of connectivity finds, matches, casts and suggests the most appropriate people within the Groupe to connect, depending on people’s needs, interests, behavioral patterns and desires.
The power of opportunity provides a multitude of ways that each person can contribute, participate and flex their skills and passions on other projects beyond their day-to-day accounts.
The power of productivity turns the often tedious and highly-manual processes like timesheets and expenses into seamless and incredibly easy tasks. Fueled by a live organizational data graph and Microsoft AI technology, Marcel will deliver a fluid, intuitive, intelligent and rich experience for the 80,000-strong workforce.

Enterprise-level Innovation
The ambition to transform Publicis Groupe into a platform required that the Groupe take on very significant enterprise business challenges. One challenge was around data. Publicis Groupe estimates well more than five billion data files.

In order to unlock the value of this data, the Groupe created the Marcel AI Platform built on Microsoft AI and Knowledge Graph technologies. This Knowledge Graph connects both structured and unstructured data that exist across the organization and then maps relationships within it.

This centralized, integrated source of data will power Marcel as well as other enterprise initiatives. The Groupe will use Microsoft’s AI tools to process, filter, connect and organize the data to make it useful for its people.

All Hands On Deck
The creation of Marcel leverages the Power of One, with Publicis.Sapient developing the Marcel user design and experience to build the Marcel platform. BBH (Bartle Bogle Hegarty) created Marcel’s brand identity. This undertaking brings together the expertise and inputs from a team of more than 100 people across the company including Publicis.Sapient, Publicis Communications, Publicis Media, Re:Sources, IT, legal, data privacy, procurement, and human resources.

Publicis Groupe’s data privacy and security offices have also been involved in building Marcel from the beginning, to ensure compliance with privacy requirements including GDPR. Employees are not required to use Marcel and all of the interaction and data employees provide is fully opt-in.

Available Across By Jan 2019
At present, Marcel is tested by a team of 100 alpha users. In June, the Groupe will release a beta version to 1,000 people selected as an exact Publicis Groupe representation, by agency, role and geography. This group, will provide feedback that will help refine the app.

This beta phase will include a precise onboarding process defined to ensure beta user profiles are complete, a training module available to get the individual familiar with the Marcel platform and a feedback function included for employees to provide real-time feedback.

The aim of this real-time exercise will allow Publicis Groupe to refine the app, course correct as needed, improve the user’s experience and add functionality along the way.

There will be multiple, updated versions until the optimal state-of-the-art product developed for rollout to the entire Publicis Groupe. Publicis Groupe will begin Marcel rollout to 80,000-person workforce in January 2019.

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