Coca-Cola bottler seeks to put mission-critical systems on the cloud

Coca Cola bottling company is moving the company’s mission-critical workloads, including ERP systems on to the cloud

Coca-Cola bottling company’s CIO Onyeka Nchege is moving the company’s mission-critical workloads on to the cloud.

“We have already started this process and have just deployed the core services on the cloud at some of our locations,” Nchege told delegates at Cloud World Forum 2014. “In the next two to five years, we will move most of our core applications, including enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems to the cloud.”

But Nchege is adopting a private cloud strategy to run mission-critical workloads on a cloud platform.

“Currently, it is a private cloud strategy but in the next three to five years we would be using a lot of public cloud services.” For instance, Nchege is considering using Microsoft Office 365 for email services. “Some of our bottling brethren have been using Office 365 and we will do so too,” said Nchege.

The company has also invited tenders from several public cloud providers including Google, AWS and Microsoft, Nchege told Computer Weekly.

Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated is the largest independent Coca-Cola bottler in the US, producing, marketing, and distributing Coca-Cola beverages with revenues of about $1.5bn.

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Currently the company is using private cloud infrastructure for its HR systems, time keeping, recruitments and procurement systems.

Nchege is planning to migrate as much as 80% of the company IT on to the cloud. One of the biggest benefits of using cloud computing is that it makes IT simple and management easy, according to Nchege.

“Business stakeholders would come up to the IT team and ask for customised IT services,” Nchege said. “It then leads to more complex, less robust IT estate and there’s more downtime as the IT team takes time to develop those services.

“But with a standard cloud service, they don’t get to pick and choose but consume agile, on-demand IT in the way it is designed.”

But does that not lead to frustration among the business stakeholders? “Not if you educate them and tell them exactly what they will get and they will not get from the cloud,” Nchege said. “If IT team collaborates with other business heads to explain to them the benefits of using a standard cloud service with simple SLAs, then there won’t be too many complex IT demands from the business.”

One strategy the Coca-Cola bottler’s IT team uses is a five-point process to involve stakeholders in the cloud journey – ownership, collaboration, feedback, adaptability and execution, the CIO explained. “If you are moving to the cloud, spend time understanding what the business wants.”

Nchege also shared the biggest challenges his company faces on a cloud infrastructure with the delegates at the cloud event. “Technology per se has never been a problem. It is the processes and culture that are challenging,” he said. “I also don’t have control of my environment all the time which is another challenge.

“But the benefits far outweigh the challenges of using cloud services,” he added.

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