Publicis Groupe this morning unveiled its new AI platform, named Marcel after group founder Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet, which is designed to connect the company’s 80,000 strong global workforce and create what it describes as a “borderless, frictionless enterprise workforce”.
Publicis says Marcel will help it transition from a holding company to a platform, by connecting up employees within all the different agencies that Publicis owns. The AI platform, which has been developed in partnership with Microsoft, will be available initially to Publicis employees as an app on their phones, with plans for it to be developed as a desktop app in the near future.
The group claims that employees will be able to crowdsource information and advice using Marcel, with the AI using data fed into it by Publicis to find employees and case studies that might be helpful when working on a particular product. In a demonstration video, an employee asks Marcel to find an expert in retail with experience in product launches, and the AI platform is then able to pull data on employees across all of Publicis’ holdings to find those who fit those criteria.
The platform will also be used for crowd sourcing ideas. Publicis says employees will be able ask for help with ideas on creative projects using the app, and Marcel will pick out who is most likely to have valuable input and send the question through to them. The platform will reportedly be used to help speed up labour intensive processes like timesheets and expenses too.
Publicis Groupe CEO Arthur Sadoun said that Marcel is designed to bring fundamental change to the company, as a response to changes in the industry. “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,” he said. “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. At Publicis Groupe, we haven’t waited to act. We have broken the divide between data, creativity and technology. We have broken our silos through the Power of One. Today, we are breaking the barriers between talent and opportunity with Marcel.”
Other holding groups, including WPP, have similarly been looking to increase cooperation between their agencies, and to break down barriers within the holding group structure. Marcel could be a clever way to achieve this, if it proves effective once launched. Currently Marcel is being tested by 100 alpha users, with a beta version being rolled out to 1,000 employees in June. Publicis Group’s aim is for 90 percent of its workforce to be using the platform by 2020.