How Sogrape is evolving with Microsoft Solutions

About Sogrape

Sogrape is a group of companies and brands founded in 1942 by Fernando Van Zeller Guedes. The company produces wines in Portugal, Spain, Argentina, Chile, and New Zealand. With distribution companies in Europe, America, Africa, and Asia, its wines are currently sold in about 120 countries. To be admired as the most successful family-owned wine company in the world—it’s a bold dream, but Sogrape does not do things by halves.

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The key word in this context is “family.” Founded in 1942 by visionary Fernando Van Zeller Guedes, Sogrape today is led by his grandson, Fernando da Cunha Guedes. For Sogrape, family is not just about leadership or shareholders; it’s about culture, and all its stakeholders.

The company considers all of its 1,000 employees—who work all over the world—to be part of the Sogrape family. This philosophy is reflected in the level of personal care that goes into every step of Sogrape’s end-to-end operations, from grape cultivation to distribution. Thanks to these efforts, many of Sogrape’s products have achieved global acclaim. In fact, its flagship Mateus Rosé brand has been famously endorsed by the likes of Elton John and the late Jimi Hendrix.

Challenges faced by Sogrape

Always seeking to innovate and leverage technology, the company identified a global program to maximize collaboration between all employees based on two streams. The first was to create a global digital ID, ensuring a robust identity management process and integration. The second was to create a brand-new intranet based on modern paradigms. Both streams are on a worldwide platform that ensures better communication, information sharing, identity security, and people inclusion. According to Carlos Alves, Information Systems Director at Sogrape, “This program was very audacious due to its global aspect. It required a more agile way to manage each stream, ensuring integrations and dependencies, and brought a higher technical complexity. We made it happen and the great results are there to be seen. Our vision is now a reality.” Yet, collaborating across time zones and languages brought its challenges. Inconsistencies in tooling and processes made it difficult for Sogrape’s siloed departments and subsidiaries to effectively communicate and work together. What’s more, as the company launched its GDPR compliance project, it found that it had room to further enhance security.

How Microsoft Solutions helped Sogrape

Using Teams as we are now, we can reach any employee in the Sogrape group and collaborate with them in a straightforward and secure way. - Vitor Martins: Business Solutions and Technology Manager, Sogrape

Sogrape built a global intranet portal with SharePoint Online and unified employee identities and access management through Azure Active Directory Premium P1, which is offered as part of Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security E3. Within six months, Sogrape migrated all its 1,000 employees to the Microsoft platform—and it did so without disruption to ongoing operations. A global technological foundation was created, allowing the company to deploy new collaborative functionalities, including enterprise resource planning (ERP) integration and identity lifecycle management based on Microsoft Identity Manager. Project planning was challenging and an important key due to all time zones, different spoken languages, and the introduction of new technical functionalities such as multifactor authentication and documents classification.

True global collaboration, internally and externally

Before this project, Sogrape employees in different locations using different tools struggled to set up easy and secure collaboration with colleagues elsewhere in the company. Now, Microsoft Teams enables project groups drawn worldwide to connect seamlessly through a single hub for all project-related communications and file sharing.

Martins confirms that “Having a unique and global digital identity for everyone and using Teams as we are now, we can reach any employee in the Sogrape group and collaborate with them in a straightforward and secure way.”

Teams was one of the solutions that Sogrape deployed, putting the tool to work immediately as the collaboration hub for the identity management transformation and intranet creation projects. Employees increasingly are using Teams to share documents, chat, make calls, and host web conferences.

“Teams has proven to be very useful for managing continuous communication and collaboration within the project team in one place without any risk of information loss,” notes Antonio Pereira, Innovation and Development Manager at Sogrape.

1,000 users, three languages

For maximum usability and inclusivity, the SharePoint Intranet portal is available in all three languages spoken by the company’s 1,000 employees: Portuguese, Spanish, and English. DevScope delivered a multi-language, user-centered experience with dynamic content tailored to business units, geography, and preferences, and a set of features developed to simplify processes and tools geared towards productivity. WINet uses several other Microsoft Office 365 applications, namely Teams, Forms, Flow, PowerApps, and Microsoft Stream.

Joana Pais, Head of Communication and PR at Sogrape, adds, “Employees overseas are happy to be part of something that, despite having been developed in Portugal, has a global reach. Having contributed to it, they also feel it as theirs and most importantly, they feel like part of the family.” Employees can access WINet using their new, unique IDs, which are created and managed through Enterprise Mobility + Security E3. Every single member of the Sogrape family has an ID and can take advantage of new Microsoft tools.

Security and compliance

Rather than a single solution, Enterprise Mobility + Security E3 is a platform made up of an array of powerful security tools—and Sogrape is taking advantage of these tools to transform its security landscape.
To maximize file sharing security, the company is using Azure Information Protection to assign levels of classification to each document. In addition, it has implemented an automated system that flags potentially sensitive information that should not be shared directly. Together, these measures helped to change the approach to the company’s first GDPR compliance.

To secure user identities, Sogrape chose Azure AD Identity Protection, which not only monitors activity and detects vulnerabilities, but also provides intelligent user protection through Risk-Based Conditional Access policies. Based on a user’s risk level, Conditional Access challenges them with Multi-Factor Authentication—ensuring that real users can seamlessly access the systems they need, while “bad guys” are kept out.

“With identity protection and Multi-Factor Authentication, we’ve reached a level of protection that we didn’t have before, and we keep going further,” says Martins.

Cultivating a connected future

Sogrape’s dream of a modern workplace is now a reality. Departments and subsidiaries around the world that previously operated in silos are now centralized and empowered with Microsoft tools—fueling new heights of productivity and collaboration.

“Using Teams as we are now, we can reach any employee in the Sogrape group and collaborate with them in a straightforward and secure way. This wasn’t a reality before Teams,” notes Martins. The next steps for Sogrape will be rolling out Teams to all functional and project groups throughout the business and expanding its use of WINet with local content for each region. “Our growth is driven by a combination of family spirit and high-performing team culture,” concludes Martins. “From a technology perspective, Microsoft solutions are proving to be key components of that approach. They are fundamentally changing the way we work to be better, more efficient, and more secure.

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