Digital transformation is popular, even trendy. Everyone wants to be in on it, including the government, which commissioned Philippe Lemoine to produce a report on the digital transformation of the French economy. For technology solution providers, it is also difficult to miss the point.

However, the digital transformation of businesses is not just a good seam to exploit. In fact, Paris Mutuel Urbain has not waited for the formula to become fashionable before embarking on the evolution of the company and the development of uses based on digital means.

“We have carried out our revolution (…) by making the Internet a multi-channel channel”


Paris Mutuel what? The PMU, the historic player in online betting. And if it has had to rethink itself, it is mainly due to the opening of the market to competition – enshrined in a law of May 2010.

“100% of the PMU’s business is digital, meaning that 100% of the turnover is generated through IT transactions, regardless of the acquisition channel, either Internet or point of sale,” says the company’s CIO, Christophe Leray – or DOSI for Director of Organization and Information Systems – immediately.

The Internet channel, however, is vast. And PMU therefore markets its products online, i.e. on the Web, as well as on smartphones – particularly via mobile applications – and tablets. “We have been very present on the Internet channel for almost five years. We were already before, but it was really five years ago that we made our revolution by diversifying our offer and making multichannel in the Internet channel,” says the IS manager.

And why is that? It’s simple, the emergence of new uses and the diversification of terminals. If the digital transformation is the ability to use technologies or exploit them as enablers to develop new sources of income, there is no doubt that PMU is well on its way to doing so.

In terms of activity, smartphones and tablets thus account for more than 40% of its online sports betting revenue. In the equestrian activity, these mobile terminals contribute 25%.


“These new devices have completely exploded in use and volume in the space of two years. We released our first iPhone application at the end of 2009. Today, we have more than 10 applications or sites adapted to this galaxy of smartphones and tablets. For us, the digital transformation on the Web really means the arrival of mobility and the development of permanent uses for our customers around these terminals,” explains Christophe Leray.

“We are going to deploy more and more technological means” at the point of sale

Transformation completed, then. No, not really. PMU is now interested in the “socialisation” of the betting offer, i.e. combining marketing and social networks. But beware, the digital transformation does not mean for the company that its historic canal, the physical point of sale, represents the model of the past when mobility and the Web would be the future.

Indeed, PMU is also working to transform the store. And once again, the company intends to rely, in particular, on uses borrowed from mobile phones. “We have started tests on a few dozen points of sale, which we call network digitization. We are going to deploy more and more technological resources in this channel, which still represents a significant part of our business,” says the CIO.

“This translates into interactive or passive devices that allow players, among other things, to consult information. Betting is an information-based game. The most sophisticated case we’ve worked on involves large interactive screens with tablet-style ergonomics. We started with 10 and we are now close to a thousand outlets. And we will continue to deploy them”.


And if these modes of access are adopted “immediately” by players, it is largely because they are based on smartphone-type ergonomics, which are now widespread enough among the population.

Note that the PMU also has thousands of interactive terminals allowing players to place their games themselves. These will continue to be functionally enriched and exploited more intensively to enable the company to interact directly with its customers, in particular to “push and collect information”.

Finally, the betting company is working on combining sales channels, in particular through the use of mobile phones at the point of sale. “We are working on a complete customer journey through a smartphone. Thus, upstream at the point of sale, the player prepares his game on his smartphone, then always passes it from his smartphone to a terminal or a terminal, ensuring a payment that is not necessarily digital, and receives in return his dematerialized game receipt” describes Christophe Leray.

This is still a future scenario, which is currently being tested. Its implementation and industrialization should take place within a few years. “It’s a way to offer a coherent customer journey, in the long term totally dematerialized, and also to interact with the customer” he justifies.

“Putting the customer at the centre of our preoccupations imposes cultural revolutions internally”

But the digital transformation does not only affect the means of interacting with customers. It also operates internally, within the teams, well beyond the information systems department alone. And with good reason, since now, on the Web, the PMU is in direct contact with the user of its services and aims to be more and more so at the point of sale.

“Putting the customer at the centre of our concerns imposes cultural revolutions internally: for marketing, for example, not only product marketing but also customer marketing; this affects the way we conceive products or customer itineraries […] These are reflexes that are gradually being acquired. Habits do not change overnight in a company that has been product-oriented for decades. It involves a little footwork. So training, messages, organisational changes, consisting in particular of bringing marketing and customer relations closer together or having each design validated by people who reason with the customer,” says the PMU’s DOSI.


And on the information systems management side, the customer is the same as the company, i.e. the player. Its primary concern is therefore the generation of business through daily revenue generation and contribution to the development of the activity. Every new product, service or offer” always results in an IT project. »

A priori, there is no risk of ISD being sidelined due to the digital transformation of the PMU. “The IS is above all a revenue-generating IS and is upstream of the company’s value chain,” says Christophe Leray. The counterpart: constant pressure on the IS, its availability and the CIO teams.

For all that, the information systems department does not intend to be the sole guarantor of business continuity and confine itself to its regalian missions. At the same time, it is part of a “co-creation” or “co-design” approach alongside the business lines. And one of the contributions of the ISD thus concerns, for example, the real-time analysis of data flows in order to identify behaviours that can then be exploited by marketing.

“I’m convinced that the professions will become more and more technological and the technicians more and more professional, and that all this will gradually spread throughout organizations, as new generations enter the job market,” says Christophe Leray.

(image credit: PMU)