by Swati Sinha, Analytics Strategic Product Marketing, SAP

Germany, Bavaria, Upper Bavaria, Young people in beer garden, close-upSummer celebrations aren’t complete without a chilled beer. Molson Coors Brewing Company brews the world’s favorite beer brands. This summer, I got the chance to talk to Alexandre Rivet Papagiannidis, global business intelligence (BI) business partner at Molson Coors. He shared with me the technology journey the company has taken over the years, the challenges they’ve faced, how business processes have improved, and how that’s given them the edge over others.

  1. What key changes in information technology do you think have had the greatest impact on your organization over the last 10 years?

When I look back on our BI journey and what has had the biggest impact, the first thing that comes to mind is how our organization is consuming information. By consumption, I mean to use the tools like SAP Business Warehouse (BW) and SAP BusinessObjects, and how fast SAP HANA (and previously the BW Accelerator) have allowed us to get information quickly.

For instance, our supply chain department monitors production key performance indicators (KPIs) with a near real-time dashboard. The KPIs are broadcasted on a big screen at the vice president’s office. Critical bottling and distribution channels are closely monitored to take rapid action if necessary.

Our sales organization has also greatly benefited from BI. They went from having a paper and annual business review of their sales territory to a weekly interactive digital report with SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence. They now have sales information at their fingertips to seize new opportunities, track their sales plan, and offer the best mix of products to each client and sell great tasting beer.

Our finance, sales and supply chain organizations have better collaboration now with one source of the truth for actual, plan, and forecasted volumes and dollars. This monumental task of breaking down those numbers by brand/format, week and by customer, could be only achieved with the help of technology. With the recent implementation of SAP HANA, some steps in the overall process run 50% quicker, helping in raising the end-user’s perception and overall satisfaction of the BI solutions implemented at Molson Coors.

2. What were some of the challenges?

When I started my career at Molson’s, I clearly remember how impressed I was by the amount of information available to leverage against the need and make actionable decisions: marketing researches, focus groups, surveys, sales data, financials, etc. You name it, we had it.

It was, however, scattered across the organization in multiple local databases, excel spreadsheets, and external vendors’ reports. People focused on one area and rarely combined it with another. Information and analytics were controlled by a specific department and took weeks to produce it, unless you knew the right people.

3. How have you overcome these challenges?

Overcoming these challenges took time and a lot of change in management. Technology enabled and facilitated some of the changes by allowing departments and functions to collaborate in the process and understand the impact of such a change. For example, finding the perfect mix of brand and customer helped determined if the brand profitability would meet annual targets.

Sharing master data across company functions revealed the importance of the quality of information being pulled and entered into our system. But the speed of response time was still a challenge.

The first major breakthrough for our organization, as well as our BI team, was implementing the SAP Business Warehouse Accelerator. This move allowed the business to get answers quickly. “Business User: Is the data good? It came back too fast!”

It also had a positive impact on our back-end support team, since time was no longer spent on maintaining cube aggregates, but rather on architecting information to gain more insight with the data we owned.

A few years later, the business requirements evolved and got more complex. Our sales organization needed an offline solution to sell more beer and conduct informed discussions with their clients. Implementing SAP BusinessObjects on top of SAP Business Warehouse in seven weeks was a huge success, which allowed for a personalized weekly report for all of our sales organizations across Canada. Because of the ease of use and quick learning curve, it has had the biggest adoption rate for any tool deployed in our organization.

Fast-forward to a couple of mergers and acquisitions, and the explosion of data (internal and external), our current architecture, and our service and support model are beginning to be a concern for our organization.

One of the challenges that come with embarking other companies in our central ERP and business warehouse system is the question of how to align the master data and make sure it’s kept clean. For example, if a change is required, what will the impact be?

Master data is the pillar of quality reporting. For years we have kept a tight and highly regimented protocol to ensure that it remains at the highest quality.

Today, many projects are underway to consolidate data with financial information. For many of these projects, consultants are joining in to help us for a short period of time. We also have resources that input our day-to-day changes to master data. They are working remotely, away from the local reality. We realized that we needed a smarter way to maintain and monitor our master data quality so as to ensure that our customers are getting the same level of quality.

My department is playing an active role in governing these changes on a global scale. We are also enabling the business to monitor ongoing quality of master data with the help of SAP tools such as SAP Information Steward to provide even more speed and quality information to our global organization

4. With increased competition how are you empowering your sales team?

We are undertaking a global initiative that will align all of our sales organization of the beer-selling process so as to manage that special customer relationship the Molson Coors way. A big part of the initiative will tackle BI sales reporting and move away from providing the sales team with 10,000 reports and more towards exception reporting. Sometimes less is more.

We will be providing these market and customer insights with some of the BI tools (SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence, SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio) part of the SAP BusinessObjects Mobile and smart phone application.

By guiding our global sales team on the how to manage the customers and make the process simple, we will help our sales do what they do best: Sell great-tasting beer.

The organization took a giant leap forward by implementing SAP Business Warehouse on SAP HANA this past November. From day one, we were receiving e-mails from the business users thanking us for the added speed. They can now get the information quicker to provide insight on how our brands are performing against our targets.

On our back-end daily schedule, load time decreased exponentially, allowing us to regain windows of downtime for maintenance and other tasks.

I’ll share the remainder of our conversation in my next blog.  Alexandre will explain Molson Coors’ implementation of SAP BusinessObjects and SAP Business Warehouse on SAP HANA, and their BI strategy.


Bio: Alexandre Rivet Papagiannidis

alexDeveloping an expertise in the implementation of SAP front-end tools has been Alexandre’s’ passion for over a decade. Initially a business user, his proficiency in creating solutions with the SAP Business Explorer suite as well as the array of BI tools from Business Objects solidified his reputation as an innovative specialist.  As a BI Business Partner for Molson Coors, he tutors super-users globally, and advises numerous departments in their information deployment strategies. An SAP Mentor in BI, he revels in sharing his knowledge through lectures for ASUG and SAP events such as SAPPHIRE and TECHED.