SHARE 2012 Keynote Case Study – RedCentral: Automating Coke Consolidated’s Salesforce

This morning's second keynote at SHARE was RedCentral: Automating Coke Consolidated's Salesforce, a case study co-presented by Jody Billiard, VP, Operations Finance & Chief Accounting Officer, and Shawn Olsen, Senior Business Systems and CMS Manager, both of Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated.  Given the business user-focus of the conference, it makes perfect sense to include case studies among the keynotes, and Coke Consolidated's was delivered with verve by both presenters.

(Come to think of it, "Verve" would be a pretty great name for a soft drink, don't you think?)

Regarding Coke Consolidated, Jody explained at some length that while they "are not the Coca-Cola company," Coca-Cola is a 35% owner, and Coke products represent 88% of their bottling business.  Coke Consolidated also invented those nifty "fridgepacks" (which have since become the industry-standard for packaging twelve-packs of cans), so they're more than "just" a bottling company. 

RedCentral (or RED for short) is what they call SharePoint internally at Coke Consolidated, and the RED stands for "Right Execution Daily."  It seems they're rather big on acronyms at Coke.   Of their 2,000 daily users, Jody explained that they "have over 1,500 workflows operating in our SharePoint environment [and that] at any given time, there are over 1,200 workflows active."

Shawn took the reins at this point, and described as an early innovation on SharePoint his having turned the annual employee performance review process into an ongoing automated survey process to help chart employee's performance throughout the year.  With that process in place, and a data set from which to pull, dashboards were easily created to surface different survey types, with stoplight performance indicators (red, yellow, green) for review-at-a-glance.   All of which functionality uses PowerPivot and SharePoint to assemble and visually display the data.

Tapping into their Large Store Database (one can only imagine it's referred to internally as an "LSD" – or perhaps not, given the potential association, eh?), a team creates yes/no survey questions for large store customers in the database (think Walmart).  Upon completion of surveys, scores are assigned to large store customers based on their responses.  Completed survey results are automatically delivered via a workflow to the responsible Customer Account Manager and can then be automatically copied to various levels of management (based on checkboxes on the survey results form), providing instant feedback on what's going on with that particular customer.

Shawn extolled the virtues of exporting data to PowerPivot, then being able to use Excel 2010 Slicers to turn one automated chart into "a thousand" individual charts by slicing data to drill down, for example, by region or territory.  Shawn wrapped up his show-and-tell with their Customer Data Search form.  This form is available on mobile devices, as most of the Coke Consolidated workforce is mobile, using tablets and smartphones most frequently to perform their jobs.  Shawn referred to the Customer Data Search form as being "like a mini-CRM solution," since it supplies up-to-the-minute customer information on the fly to the workforce in the field.

Jody returned to the stage to sum up that "[SharePoint] has been an empowering technology for Coke Consolidated [and is] the single most critical technology environment for our sales force."

During the Q&A, it was asked if there were any particular challenges implementing the BI solutions that had been shown, and/or in training users.  Shawn explained that "The business came to IT and said 'we want SharePoint.' "  IT then went to Mindsharp for SharePoint training and came back to work two weeks later, prepared for their deployment.  Shawn addressed the training of their users portion of the question by saying that everything they design in SharePoint is crafted to be user-friendly, so an email generally suffices to "train" the workforce on new tools or features.

At Coke Consolidated, Jody said, "We encourage collaboration for best-in-class performance," and SharePoint has been critical to their success in that endeavor.