Barry Callebaut

Chocolate maker Barry Callebaut gets sweet on cloud

Chocolate maker Barry Callebaut is increasingly using cloud-based apps to improve productivity and reduce costs

Swiss chocolate maker Barry Callebaut has committed its IT to the cloud with a move to Google’s cloud-based apps, as it bids to provide staff with access to all the business apps they need no matter where they are.

So far the company has replaced Lotus Notes Collaboration software after 20 years of use, and made Google’s G-suite apps available to its 10,000 staff. The project followed cloud projects to move field sales to Salesforce, expense management to Concur and human resources (HR) to SAP SuccessFactors.

Steven Vandamme, CIO at Barry Callebaut, said the company is using cloud-based software to build a platform to support disparate and mobile workers.

“Over the past five years, we have adopted a cloud strategy aimed at addressing the needs of our travelling workers. We call this the digital workspace,” he said.

“As we continued to grow in size and scope, more of our employees were becoming travelling nomads, working from home, the airport or a hotel room rather than in the office.”

The organisation needed a platform that could support this. “We needed something that would cover traditional email, calendar and instant messaging features, personal video conferencing, meeting room video conferencing, and document sharing and collaboration,” said Vandamme.

He said Google G-Suite fitted the bill and also offered an attractive pay-as-you-use contract. The company spent a year migrating to the new system, with support from its IT services supplier Capgemini.

Vandamme said the migration, which was the company’s biggest ever, went smoothly. “As we hadn’t attempted anything on this scale before, the prospect of changing approach, backing up our systems and migrating all our employees without error was initially daunting,” he said.

This was the reason the company decided to outsource the project to Capgemini. “We had no prior knowledge of how to install, implement or use sophisticated technology of this kind. It’s because of this that we thought it was best to bring in outside help from Capgemini, which has considerable experience in migrating large organisations to Google G-Suite.”

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From a productivity perspective, the G-suite has enabled the company to bring people together from locations across the world and enabled for more interactions and a quicker exchange of information. This, in turn, has reduced travel and data-roaming costs.

Sharing information in real-time is also helping the operation improve efficiency. “We have seen improvements and cost reductions when it comes to the sharing of information instantly by Google Sites. For example, having 53 sites and factories globally means that if one factory finds a way to reduce its energy through internal improvements, they can quickly share this new best practice with other factories via G-Suite,” said Vandamme.

The company plans to look at further opportunities in the cloud, according to Vandamme. “The migration to a cloud-based platform has been a very successful one for us, and extremely beneficial to the business.

“We’ll certainly analyse the long-term impact that this migration is having on our business, and explore what other areas of the business that this partnership can benefit from. This may well include implementing additional applications hosted on the Google Cloud Platform, further improving the organisation’s operations and the productivity of our teams.”

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