Jye Sutton

Jye Sutton

Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Security Factory Director for Rexel Group

Rexel
Developing innovative and sustainable solutions to respond to customer needs, security and connectivity are central to Rexel’s hybrid cloud journey

With a mission to offer customers worldwide innovative and sustainable solutions to improve the comfort, security and energy performance of installations, infrastructure and buildings, Rexel has been a major player in the professional electrical supplies distribution market in France and worldwide for nearly 50 years.

In an energy world undergoing transition, Rexel develops custom solutions to respond to all its customers' needs, every day. The company is a worldwide expert in the professional multichannel distribution of products and services for the energy world, with a revenue of €19.2bn (US$20.7bn) revenue in 2023.

One of the main challenges Rexel faces today is staying ahead of rapidly evolving cybersecurity threats. “New threats and techniques emerge every day, so we need to continually conduct research and raise awareness on this topic,” says Pierre-Emmanuel Leriche, Group Chief Information Security Officer. Additionally, as he highlights, instilling a consistent cybersecurity culture across Rexel's multi-local business model is an ongoing priority.

Jye Sutton, the company's CTO, highlights talent management and development on a global scale as a key challenge, along with ensuring consistency and standardisation across regions with differing technology maturity levels.

“Our top priority is maintaining stable and secure technology to support the business operations. From this clear mandate, two key challenges arise. One is talent management and development on a global scale, and the second is ensuring consistency and standardisation across our many regions with differing maturity levels.”

As a global company, Rexel operates across over 19 countries, necessitating a constant embrace of change. The centralisation of IT has enabled better security controls and economies of scale.

Kaya Demircigil, Rexel’s Head of Cloud, has witnessed Rexel's transformation from a classical legacy IT firm to an IT company driving transformation and leveraging data.

“We need a robust IT backbone that supports the business. Because if we have problems there, it could hugely impact our revenue. We must secure those platforms, and ensure they are scalable on demand, agile enough, with a fast time-to-market.

“When I joined Rexel, we started talking about these digital transformation needs. But our backbone wasn't ready, so we moved from a more classical legacy IT company to an IT company driving transformation and using data to improve.”

According to Bruno de La Bretèche, Head of Digital Technologies at Rexel, one of the biggest challenges is scaling both IT and the organisation to support Rexel's target for digital sales to reach 40% of its total revenue by 2025, all while maintaining agility. “The point of cloudification is that it's helping us stay and be agile at scale,” he says.

“We need to scale our organisation, but also our way of working, while staying super agile. That's the main challenge my team faces today, and I'd say it's Rexel's main challenge overall.” 

Looking to the future, Leriche envisions a continued cloudification trend, with an emphasis on identity, data protection, and cloud security posture advancement as threats evolve.

“I think this trend of moving to the cloud, which we call 'cloudification', will continue for a while. Again, we don't have a strict 'move to cloud' strategy - we're building in the cloud only. As we put security barriers and measures in place, attackers will constantly try to find new ways to attack and reach their goals. So I'm envisioning a quite stable trend in cloudification based on what we've seen over the last few years.”

Sutton anticipates managing disruptors like AI, which could aid containerisation and orchestration but must be implemented securely. Greater serverless computing adoption and a focus on sustainable IT practices are also expected to shape future cloud strategies.

“There will also likely be a push towards greater serverless computing adoption. But we need to understand that serverless doesn't mean servers disappear - we still need to look at how to secure operations. And I think this is where the developer and coder roles are changing. They need to be more savvy about security and infrastructure, to have more of a full stack skillset including infrastructure and security layers, to operate future cloud models.”

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