Project Description

Distell reimagines employee engagement

ServiceNow lays foundations for South African drinks manufacturer's new digital approach to HR

Job to be done

Consolidate disparate employee systems for 4,500+ employees working across five different countries out of the 24 locations in which the company operates

Solutions to do it

What we did

Created a new employee portal with mobile access, connecting multiple business units and streamlining
employee as well as IT processes

Managing a global drinks business

Distell is a global alcoholic drinks manufacturer and distributor. Headquartered in Stellenbosch, South Africa, it has operations in 24 locations worldwide and manages more than 40 brands. The group employs more than 4,500 staff. Distell is Africa’s leading producer of spirits, wines, and ready-to-drinks (RTDs) as well as the world’s second largest producer of ciders.

Reimagining the employee experience

With operations worldwide and multiple business units, Distell saw an opportunity to standardize its HR functions. It wanted to consolidate disparate systems across payroll, onboarding, and leave. This would create cost savings but, more importantly, establish a new shared services platform—encouraging self-service and allowing tasks to be completed via mobile. Distell recognized the platform would open the door to ongoing automation and reimagined employee processes.

Wanda van der Bijl

Business Analyst, Distell

Anywhere employees are struggling to find information, or where we have multiple processes running with too many manual steps, we’ll look to bring those into ServiceNow. Personalised communication to employees, as well as where they need to take action or update information, has been automated and has saved the HR business partners many hours compiling and distributing information to our disparate workforce.


processes and ≈100 sub-processes


pages per appointment for each onboarding case


employees safely to the workplace

Developing a self-service culture

ServiceNow HR Service Delivery is the platform on which Distell’s shared services portal is built. It was designed and implemented alongside Quintica, a local ServiceNow partner. Today, holiday booking, payroll queries, and a host of HR FAQs can be found online. Self-serving tasks via mobile is standard for employees. Holiday requests can be submitted via SMS. It has created standard processes for a range of tasks and helped remove paper from the business.

Building confidence in a return to workplace

As COVID-19 hit, Distell immediately identified an opportunity to use its employee service portal as a means to update employees on the latest health guidance. When information was updated, alerts could be pushed to employees. Using the ServiceNow Safe Workplace suite, employees can manage capacity in office buildings, carry out contact tracing and send out health questionnaires and communications to the workforce. With Distell officers operating at 50% capacity, and therefore not enough desks for all staff, Safe Workplace allows office workers to book a desk for a given day. Distell can then determine who has been in the office and who they have sat next to in the event of any positive cases identified.

Distell also opened COVID-19 vaccination centers at four of its sites for which both registration and ongoing administration is performed on ServiceNow. Employees and spouses can register via ServiceNow and receive updated information on the rollout as well as appointment dates and reminders.

Connecting remote workers

The Now platform brings together multiple systems from across the Distell business. It links HR with payroll and facilities management for seamless cross-enterprise service delivery. Facilities teams know exactly who is on-site. HR can confirm receipt of the latest health updates. In a world where many staff continue to work remotely or have had to change address, mobile access ensures a consistent, timely engagement.

Download PDF

Quintica, our ServiceNow partner, has to be credited. We’ve asked a lot of them, pushing them hard to have the platform work for us. We’re now in a position where we can automate or set up new processes very quickly – and that’s thanks to the enablement lessons we’ve learned from Quintica.

Wanda van der Bijl
HR Business Analyst

Connect your employees and boost engagement no matter where they work.

Let’s Talk