Carlsberg brews innovation with cloud
Carlsberg transitions to a digital business with a scalable, flexible cloud infrastructure and automated application landscape.
Carlsberg was struggling to grow in an environment characterized by rising costs and evolving tastes. Consumers were shifting consumption from beer to wine, spirits and craft beers—or moving away from alcoholic beverages altogether. Traditional brewers were left to compete in a market that was growing steadily smaller. And they had to spend more to do so.
To break away from the pack, Carlsberg needed to take drastic action. Their CEO spearheaded an ambitious seven-year strategic plan, dubbed Sail ‘22, which had two main goals. The first was to cut operational costs by one-third to increase working capital and shareholder dividends. The second was to invest those savings in future growth.
Its leaders knew the company’s future rested on its ability to transform into a digital business, and they were confident that a move to the cloud was a necessary step in their transformation.
Since Accenture brought deep cloud expertise and was already working with the brewer to optimize its SAP applications, the two joined forces to map out Carlsberg’s transformation to the cloud.
The ultimate goal was to create a nimble, simplified digital business characterized by intelligent operations: data, applied intelligence and human ingenuity combined to drive better decisions, customer experiences and outcomes.
Moving to the cloud was the critical first step to carrying out its digital transformations and achieving its goal of intelligent operations. But the brewery group was not planning a typical cloud migration; it wanted to transition 100% of its global process workloads—previously managed with legacy systems and an on-premise data center—to a cloud environment. The solution would represent one of the largest and most complex transitions ever undertaken in the food and beverage industry. Given the scope of change at play, there was not a moment to waste.
“The people at Accenture were just as passionate about what we were trying to achieve as we were. Also, Accenture was able to provide the unbiased guidance we needed when it came to evaluating and ultimately choosing the right cloud solution.“
In just eight weeks, a team comprising Carlsberg and Accenture Technology professionals developed a one-of-a-kind cloud strategy and selected Microsoft Azure as the cloud platform of choice. As Haywood pointed out, Accenture’s agnostic approach was just what was needed.
Tapping the robust ecosystem of Accenture alliance partners, Avanade and Microsoft, Carlsberg built its Azure architecture in just 10 weeks, embedding automation and innovation wherever possible to create better service quality and user experiences. In just six months, Carlsberg migrated 1,300 servers and 650 critical business applications to the cloud. The global migration occurred in three waves—the last of which involved moving 40 terabytes of data—and was completed with no disruption to the business.
Ultimately, Carlsberg zeroed in on transformations designed to enhance customer experiences, improve agility in local markets and gain greater customer insights.
According to Sarah Haywood, CIO of Carlsberg, “In this day and age, companies are built in months, not years. It was critical that we moved quickly so we could start adding value fast.“
An application transformation focused on reducing technology costs and optimizing the application landscape. Carlsberg became one of the first companies in Europe to close its datacenter.
A “connected bar” solution introduced a new, sustainable, lighter-weight beer keg with IoT sensors to gauge real-time consumption and link directly with marketing campaigns—a first for the company.
A “smart brewery” solution uses IoT sensors to identify problems during the production process and automatically issue maintenance requests minimizing service disruptions and optimizing production.
A service delivery transformation includes a new service desk, standardizing processes, applying intelligent tools and automation, and optimizing team configurations.
Today, Carlsberg has the scalable, flexible cloud infrastructure and the simplified, automated application landscape needed to support its transition to a digital business. It has also shifted 100% of its systems and applications from a legacy to cloud environment. Major system incidents have already dropped from an average of 13 per month to just five. Better reliability, security and disaster recovery capabilities are just the beginning. With the cloud’s variable cost model, Carlsberg has been able to significantly reduce operating expenditures and achieve the benefits of the business case.
Another key advantage is the freedom to innovate and experiment. Carlsberg now has the ability to operate much more quickly. It is launching new initiatives and campaigns in hours, rather than months.
The ability to develop IT solutions quickly, with certainty, is allowing Carlsberg to deliver more satisfying user and customer experiences. In short, the move to the cloud has freed up savings and laid the foundation for growth.
And the best is yet to come: With its new cloud platform and an optimized application landscape, the company will continually look for ways to use its new computing environment to achieve greater efficiencies and grow its brand in new markets. Accenture, which recently renewed its strategic partnership with Carlsberg through 2025, will be with the brewer every step of the way—capturing the full potential of SAP, squeezing more value from the cloud, and creating innovative services and solutions that set Carlsberg apart as a leader in the digital world.
“With cloud, our network capacity is 10X what it was. Our people get to focus on things that make a difference for our customers. And, that is closing the gap.“