At Sapphire NOW 2013, the JD-OD team sat down with Ralph Steinbach, Director Software Architecture of Danone Group – known in the U.S. for making Dannon yogurt – to ask what cloud could do for the world’s market leader in dairy products.

In Ralph’s view, cloud matters because his company is a loosely coupled one with a lot of local business units. Since Danone places emphasis on cash flow management, they’re not interested in investing in significant CapEx upfront.

But why the  HANA Cloud? Ralph likes the convergence of technologies at SAP.  Through HANA, SAP focuses on big data. Their cloud platform allows you to run your IT business outside your own company. And they have a solution for mobile, which means you can address your consumers globally – all while staying on the same platform. Which is exactly what Danone needed. Further down the road, Ralph has found that the  major benefit, other than farming out IT, comes back to mobile, which allows Danone to address a billion or more consumers with the same cloud apps.

Danone’s first cloud project built on the HANA Cloud, presented by Ralph at Sapphire, is a customer call center. Why build it on the cloud? Because it was faster. And they could leverage the latest SAP UI5  technology. The advantage to having CRM on the cloud? Ralph says that today, they can use it in-house. Tomorrow they might want to use it in a remote call center. Or to extend the access to their hotels. With a cloud deployment, everyone can use the same application.

The guys talk about old-school versus new-school developers. Jon has a hard time imagining the old school ABAPpers easily making the transition to  Java. On the contrary, Ralph says, the old schoolers at Danone were more than happy to embrace something new, working practically day and night to master the code. Perhaps even more important, Ralph adds, marketing and IT are doing more than finally saying “Good morning” in the elevator. They’re working together because each side sees the benefits in using the latest technologies.

Show Notes

:43 Danone’s global footprint

1:48 Why cloud?  Because it lets companies start small and then pay as you go

3:01 HANA Cloud’s features fit with Danone’s digital marketing strategy

4:22 SAP’s shift into B to C helped Danone in its quest to reach customers; so did mobile

4:57 Danone’s new CRM system was built on cloud because it was faster

5:59 Having CRM call system on cloud allows for in-house use today, flexible tomorrow

6:37 Next cloud project is a web app where customers can buy medical products online

7:40 Old-school developers embraced the challenges of working in a new environment

8:12 Marketing and IT finally see the opportunities in working together