Coke gets new global network



Antony Adshead

Coca-Cola has signed a five-year $47m (£70m) contract with Equant for the supply and management of a 289-site network...



Antony Adshead

Coca-Cola has signed a five-year $47m (£70m) contract with Equant for the supply and management of a 289-site network spanning 250 cities and 87 countries.

Coca-Cola chose a Frame Relay, rather than an Internet Protocol-based network.

Claude Marais, director of strategic relations for business systems at Coca-Cola, said, "We need a system which meets our needs as a company and the applications we run now. It can be upgraded to run IP in future."

The network replaces a wide area network of multiple supplier systems built over many years.

A key driver for the new network launch is the global roll-out of a customised SAP enterprise resource planning system, which requires increased bandwidth to function

The greatest challenge for Coca-Cola is that, given the sheer size of the network, it will be difficult to replace in a reasonable time and at a reasonable cost.

"Our capabilities vary worldwide - our systems in Nairobi are not the same as in Atlanta. The network is being designed as it is being rolled out," said Marais. "We wanted a supplier that could support us worldwide. That was a difficult thing to find."

"The aim is not to save money. The aim is to have a network that supports our strategy as a company."

Service level agreements specify different levels of reliability and availability in different locations. Jim Zavorski, Equant global accounts manager, said, "Some sites were designated as mission critical by Coca-Cola whereas others - say a sales operation with 20 people - they viewed as not so critical. The service level agreement was drawn up to reflect this."

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