Dr Sami Ben Jamaa, CIO of Coca-Cola East Japan, explains how a move to cloud infrastructure has given the company greater flexibility and control over its costs.
Established more than a decade ago, The Coca-Cola Company’s Bottling Investments Group (BIG) brings together bottling franchise operations in 18 markets around the world.
With a diverse group of bottlers, including operations in emerging markets such as Myanmar, Nepal and Bangladesh, the business faced the challenge of how to meet the unique requirements of these operators while maintaining efficient infrastructure and implementing standardised processes.
One area of focus was reducing the complexity, rigidity and costs of running mission-critical applications, including SAP systems. Seeking to gain efficiency, BIG initially outsourced the hosting of these applications.
Coca-Cola East Japan, an independent bottler in Japan benefiting from BIG operational excellence and system templates, was the first however to take the technological step and begin transitioning SAP to the cloud.
Dr Sami Ben Jamaa, senior executive officer and CIO of Coca-Cola East Japan, said when he began the process of investigating partners to move its SAP BI system onto SAP HANA in the cloud in 2014, Virtustream was the only company which could clearly demonstrate experience with HANA and a close relationship with SAP.
“At Coca-Cola East Japan, we didn’t have anyone who knew HANA. We were new to the platform and we didn’t have enough engineers who could understand it. Virtustream was the only one who gave us a very comprehensive picture and managed services around that,” Dr Ben Jamaa says.
Another major advantage for Coca-Cola East Japan was gaining access to Virtustream’s xStream cloud management software via the Virtustream Enterprise Cloud, to help actively monitor their cloud consumption and respond accordingly. Virtustream’s platform also automatically and dynamically optimises service requirement to meet the demands of the IT environment or application.
“I still believe it was a big leap in innovation,” says Dr Ben Jamaa. “If you manage your cloud very well, you can save a lot of money every month.”
BIG has now transitioned seven of its international bottlers to the Virtustream Enterprise Cloud. By adopting a consumption-based model, the operators have reduced the total cost of ownership of their software, and it is expected that future optimisation could yield even more cost reductions.
Recently, Coca-Cola’s East Japan and West Japan bottlers have merged. Dr Ben Jamaa says all of the West Japan systems are still on-premise.
“The challenge over the next months is to move all the remaining mission-critical applications onto the Enterprise Cloud, with transformation and optimisation of that landscape,” he says.
In the future Coca-Cola East Japan is also planning to move its BI system to S/4HANA around the end of 2018 or beginning of 2019. Virtustream Enterprise Cloud is a great candidate for this journey.
“They have the skills, they have the people, and we have also developed our own internal people to do that. I think it’s very important for us as a business to have that confidence in the vendor and going on the next stage of the journey, without a feeling of risk, because we succeeded in going onto HANA together,” says Dr Ben Jamaa.
Advice on migrating SAP systems to the cloud
Dr Ben Jamaa says there are three key lessons other organisations seeking to move SAP systems into a cloud environment.
1. Migration is not a partner/vendor job, it must be a partnership.
“The business knows their systems, they know the availability they need for that, and what are the issues they have faced before. If you only have management and executive committee from the business, and engineers from the vendor, it will not work. You need to have engineers from both sides working together.”
2. Be prepared to face and respond to unexpected problems in the lead-up to migration.
“During the preparation for the migration, there will be a lot of issues – the testing will be done and you will find that you missed a security port, the batch is not right, and other things. It’s very important to have top managers aligned for very quick decision-making at the time. You cannot be deterred by the risks and back off at this time. Everything comes with its own risks, but you may have regret if you don’t face them.”
3. Don’t necessarily start moving SAP ECC systems first, and then satellite systems later.
“You don’t need to move your enterprise system first – you could put other system onto the cloud first and then SAP can come later. People will stop the process because their ECC system is new or very complicated. You can go for things that are easier and faster, and move to the cloud over time. But you need to have the full picture of the architecture together.”