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Coca-Cola buzzing with hybrid cloud


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How can a hybrid cloud strategy prove to be the best option for the largest soft drink manufacturer in the Asia-Pacific region?

With more customers and users than most industries, Coca-Cola Amatil provides mobile data to a workforce with extremely diverse local network conditions. And to manage them, the business needs the power of cloud computing.

Warwick Hutton, DSI Australia to Coca-Cola Amatil

Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) is one of the largest soft drink manufacturers in the Asia-Pacific region and one of the top five Coca-Cola manufacturers in the world. Present in six countries with 14,900 employees, 700,000 active customers and 270 million end users, the company used what Warwick Hutton, DSI Australia, describes as “an aging Lotus Notes system”. There was no doubt that cloud computing, including a hybrid environment, was the best alternative.

In 2010, under the leadership of Barry Simpson, CIO of the group, CCA was an early adopter of the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) cloud-based e-mail platform. This was the company’s first experience with large-scale shared public cloud applications. Warwick Hutton and his team were very pleased with the results, so many other projects running public, private and hybrid cloud computing platforms came into being.

Employees have been extremely successful in migrating to email in the cloud in the early days, he says. The most telling factor in the success of the project was the ability of employees to communicate at any time from any device. “This has radically transformed the way we work and has opened our eyes to the possibilities of cloud computing platforms and all that they can offer,” said Warwick Hutton. “Since then, we’ve migrated to the latest Office 365 service and we’re harnessing hybrid cloud capabilities more than ever.”

Today, CCA follows a mobile approach in all its activities and cloud technology provides new capabilities faster, more cost-effectively to maximize business profits. This is the culmination of a long-standing program that was born with the decision to outsource treatment centers.

“We did not want to have to manage the infrastructure ourselves,” says Warwick Hutton. “We have centralized much of our processing and used virtualization to achieve economies of scale in these environments.” He says that CCA’s IT operations team is rather small, which means that traditional hosting models are too expensive and tedious. The company’s strategy now is to leverage cloud computing platforms as much as possible to drive down cost and gain flexibility.

Although pre-existing concerns, such as security and data integrity, remain important to operations, the IT department recognizes that it cannot keep everything locked behind the company’s firewalls if it wants to provide innovative solutions.

“Whether public, private or hybrid, access to the system must be simple and available from any device, and the security and authentication requirements for provision are hidden as much as possible.”

– Warwick Hutton, CIO Australia, Coca-Cola Amatil

“That’s where we see the usefulness of hybrid cloud computing models for us,” warns Hutton. “When workloads are highly standardized, widely used, and need to be mobile (such as e-mail, office productivity, and software as a service, or SaaS), it makes sense to take advantage of Scale and Savings of the Public Cloud When applications are niche, require a lot of customization or when we need test and development environments, we usually use the private cloud”.

In most cases, for mobile or general use, CCA systems use a combination of public and private hybrid cloud computing to provide an end-to-end application. Warwick Hutton points out that the important point for this to work is to hide the complexities of the system from the end user.

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