At last week's SOA Summit hosted by Software AG, we heard a compelling case study that had all the elements of perseverance and belief in what service orientation can accomplish.
Kevin Flowers, director of enabling enterprises for Coca-Cola
Enterprises, described his SOA journey, which began with the
service-enablement of merchandisers through mobile technologies.
Previously, all 11,000 merchandisers -- who work out in the field, visiting stores -- keep in touch via an 800 call-in number and paperwork forms. Flowers pointed out that there were charges associated with line usage, and that the FCC charges for payphone usage alone -- keep in mind that 11,000 people were doing this everyday -- amounted to more than $2 million a year.
The solution was to provide Blackberries with links to all merchandising
services, and in the process save tens of millions of dollars in phone
charges and travel expenses. Along with reduced phone charges in the millions of dollars, Coca-Cola's merchandising operations saved more than $3 million a year in travel costs, Flowers added.
Interestingly, corporate management wanted to pull the plug on the
project, but Kevin's team believed in the project so much they just
plowed ahead with it. Now, he says, the effort is delivering so well
and efficiently that the sales organization is demanding that they get
the same kind of solution as well. "Our sales vice president demanded to know why merchandising people now had more capability than the salespeople," he said.
Coca-Cola also adopted geo-spatial management capabilities as part of its rollout. Planners can now view mashup maps of various retail outlets to assess the impact of weather and other events.
"The defacto communication method within an company is going to be services," Flowers pointed out. He is also a strong believer in cloud-based services. He noted that "If you don;t figure out a way to manage your resources better, the cloud will."