Coca-Cola European Partners signs multi-year hybrid cloud deal with IBM

Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) has signed a multi-year hybrid cloud deal with IBM to support its push to improve the operational efficiency of its business by making better use of its data.

The company is responsible for the marketing, distribution and bottling of Coca-Cola products across Europe, and employs more than 23,000 people.

It is also in the midst of a “cloud-first digital transformation” that is focused on bolstering the ability of the company to put its business data to good use, while reducing the risk of supplier lock-in with the use of open source technologies.

To this end, the company has enlisted the help of IBM to support its push to create an open, hybrid cloud environment based on Red Hat OpenShift and its Enterprise Linux distribution that will pave the way for its to modernise its applications and run them in the IBM Cloud, and potentially embrace a multi-cloud strategy in future.

For example, the company intends to draw on Red Hat OpenShift’s Kubernetes containerisation technology to build cloud-native apps that can run in the IBM Cloud, while tapping into Big Blue’s Multi-Cloud Management platform so its on-premise, legacy workloads can be integrated and managed alongside its private and public cloud-based ones from the same portal.

The two entities already have something of a shared history, having started working together back in 2018 when they embarked on a cloud migration project centred on moving one third of CCEP’s enterprise workloads from a dedicated datacentre in the US to the IBM Cloud in Europe.

“Our successful collaboration with IBM over the last few years has given us the confidence to take the next step in our strategic cloud-first digital transformation,” said CCEP CIO Peter Brickley. “The selection of IBM’s hybrid cloud architecture with Red Hat OpenShift gives us the flexibility to optimise across different public cloud platforms according to our future needs.”

Aside from future-proofing its cloud setup, this work will also centre on bolstering the resiliency of CCEP’s operations, and positioning the company so that it can use big data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and internet of things (IoT) technologies to streamline its operations.

Howard Boville, senior vice-president of IBM Cloud, said the company will be on hand to help CCEP move more of its “mission-critical” workloads to the cloud, while negotiating any industry-specific challenges that are likely to emerge along the way.

“By selecting IBM for its hybrid cloud environment with decades of industry expertise and experience, CCEP is embarking on a journey towards an open and secure cloud architecture driving greater digital advancement,” said Boville.

As detailed in CCEP’s half-year results, technology is set to play an important role in the company’s ongoing response to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, but also in its ability connect with customers and build on its position as the world’s biggest bottler of Coca-Cola products by revenue.

“We are innovating in online capabilities, enabling us to be more analytical about what really works so we can target our spending better and improve cut through with consumers,” said the company in its half-year trading statement.   

“We want to have a presence in every channel – we’re seeing the increased use of digital platforms in convenience, discounters and a number of other important channels, as well as grocery. Food aggregators will also be of increased importance as people look to use home food delivery services more and more,” it added.

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