A story of digital transformation: Accenture assists Carlsberg in cloud transition

Carlsberg is looking at new ways to create relevancy at scale by being more nimble and agile in how they interact with customers.

Jakob From, vice president of transformation, operation and CIO, Western Europe, at Carlsberg said: “We had the opportunity to make a major change because the maintenance contracts for our data centre infrastructure were up for renewal.

“The goal of the project was to create a foundation for our entire IT infrastructure. Carlsberg has existed for 171 years, and we must also be here 171 years more.”

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The desire to transform

Carlsberg’s digital transformation was established as part of the organisation’s five-year corporate strategy. They called it ‘Sail 22’, and it was set out by the new CEO, Cees ‘t Hart.

[The involvement of the CEO in digital transformation efforts is vital, as you can read in this article — Leading digital transformation: The CEO is vital.]

The strategy surrounds enhancing digital connectivity within Carlsberg internally and also for its end consumers, the whole set of partners they have in their supply chain, and the customers (the bar owners etcetera).

The Danish brewery wants to digitally connect between all those parts to help drive their growth and profitability as one of the world’s leading brewery groups. This was their business rationale for digitally transforming.

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The digital transformation consultant

To help on this digital transformation journey, Carlsberg selected Accenture (along with some other partners, such as Avanade) to help them achieve the vision.

Henrik Pedersen, a managing director at Accenture, explains how this process works.

“So, we operate and help clients in this space, which is what we did with Carlsberg, with something we call co-development.

“We take a business strategy and map it out. We define the organisation’s priorities and the order they want them rolled out, and then we explain the capabilities that need to be put in place to make that a reality.

“And from that roadmap, we develop the transformation strategy; from where they were to where they need to be.

“This is how we develop digital transformation strategies with our clients. It’s a highly interactive and very fast-track process.”

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In order to develop Carlsberg’s digital capability or roadmap — which combines agility, flexibility, emerging technologies — Accenture had to design this transformation strategy, which was essentially a journey to cloud.

[As we all know, digital transformation is causing the majority of organisations to move to the cloud]

“Carlsberg’s main driver in their transformation was the transition of their technology infrastructure to public cloud, to help them be digitally enabled,” said Pedersen

“Transitioning to the cloud is an important part of delivering against our ‘SAIL ’22’ priorities, where our focus is to drive sustainable and profitable growth. This is a highly dynamic and competitive industry. We now have a digital growth platform that enables us to deliver exceptional services and experiences” — Mark Dajani, CIO and SVP of Global Business Services

Henrik Pedersen explains how Accenture has helped Carlsberg on its digital transformation journey.
Henrik Pedersen explains how Accenture has helped Carlsberg on its digital transformation journey.

The transition to the cloud

The move to the cloud is fairly commonplace now. However, the larger the organisation and the more engrained it is in history and legacy, the larger the effort (with different engineering disciplines, for example).

That being said, organisations such as Accenture have a very strong ecosystem that contain all of the major hyper-scalers. “In this case, Carlsberg chose Microsoft Azure, but AWS, Google Cloud, Alibaba and more are available,” said Pedersen. These cloud providers are the experts in helping organisations to scale appropriately as increased demand is added to the system.

Carlsberg have been Microsoft and SAP centric in their business application portfolio, which is why they picked Azure

Accenture, in its role of digital transformation consultant, also has a set of assets and people that have the necessary experience that can help clients accelerate in their digital transformation pursuits.

“Most of our clients, including Carlsberg, are at some point in their digital transformation journey. But by virtue of our assets and experience and the ecosystem we have, we can basically help them in accelerating speed of value.

“We brought together three parties — Microsoft, SAP and Avanade — together with Carlsberg to attack some of the underlying engineering challenges to make sure that we could implement the transformation in a swift manner,” continued Pedersen.

“One area we are progressing with is using AI and AR to interact with and help our customers. Another area progressing well is personalising beer” — Jawaz Illavia, vice president commercial and digital in Carlsberg’s Global Business Services (GBS) business unit

Carlsberg’s transformation

This transformation has provided Carlsberg with the ability to create relevance at scale by enabling it to flex and respond to changing consumer and market demands.

The implementation of the strategy — led by Accenture — has offered enhanced security, simpler allocation of additional resources, less manual maintenance and a more agile infrastructure, one capable of supporting new applications.

As a result of the transformation, the business now manages its technology costs more effectively, because they avoid the large Capex expenditures and ongoing maintenance requirements found with traditional systems.

The new digital platform includes leading-edge capabilities, like artificial intelligence, DevOps and data analytics. For example, the brewery recently launched Carrie, a security chatbot developed by Avanade that provides employees with answers to security rules and regulations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...