The last half century has seen an increase in revenues and profits for multinational companies. The trend is expected to accelerate in the future as globalization plays a significant role in managing revenue and reducing costs. Globalization allows multinational corporations to expand their operations in new geographical areas, therefore, increasing profitability and reducing costs through the economies of scale and scope (Hart, 2015). Apart from cost reduction and greater profitability, globalization presents strategic opportunities to multinational firms that may not exist to purely domestic firms. However, despite the advantages that globalization offers to multinational firms, several risks suffice when managing operations in multiple countries (Hart, 2015). To effectively manage these risks, many multinational firms employ a broad range of techniques, with efficient information technology being the most prioritized one. Coca-Cola, a large multinational firm, utilizes a wide range of information technologies which are in line with its vision, mission, and goals, so as to improve their business operations.
Coca-Colas Mission, Vision, and Goals
Just like other multinational firms, Coca-Colas aim is to maximize profit while building and sustaining a long-term sustainable growth within the industry. The mission statement of the company states that Coca-Cola seeks to refresh the world in mind, body and spirit, to inspire moments of optimism and happiness through their brands, and to create value and make a difference (Coca-Cola, n.d.). The company has developed goals encompassing six aspects so as to achieve its mission. The six elements which can be described as the 6 Ps are people, portfolio, partners, planet, profit, and productivity (Coca-Cola, n.d.). For people, the company aims at ensuring mutual inspirations so as to be the best in what they do. The company also aims to offer a portfolio of beverage brands to the world so as to satisfy the needs and desires of consumers. With partners, the company seeks to foster a winning network of partners as well as build mutual loyalty. The company takes serious consideration to issues concerning the planet and aims at building and supporting sustainable communities. While focusing on profits and maximizing shareholders returns, the company stays aware of their overall responsibilities. Finally, the company aims to increase productivity and be a highly efficient and fast-moving organization in their industry.
IT architecture is a high-level plan that describes the information needs of a firm. Two kinds of information are crucial for designing an efficient IT architecture; the business needs of the firm and, the current information system that the firm uses and how they can be linked with future systems to meet the firms information needs. Coca-Cola IT architecture consists of databases and data warehouse, network system, IT security systems, e-commerce, Web 2.0 and social media, and enterprise systems and applications. The information technology systems are aimed at ensuring that the company meets its strategic goals, improve business processes in all its locations around the world, and improve and sustain customer satisfaction throughout its operations globally.
Data Warehouse and Data Mining
Since Coca-Cola is one of the largest multinational companies in the world, it generates huge amounts of data from various sources. Some of the data sources include social media data, competitor data, customer profile data, supply chain data, and sales and shipment data (Rijmenam, 2016). Collecting such huge chunks of data calls for the company to have efficient data management systems so that they can derive value from it. Rather than taking a tactical approach, the company takes a strategic approach to its data. The company has embraced big data technologies and moved to a centralized approach so as to make the data available across shared platforms (Rijmenam, 2016). They have developed an efficient enterprise data warehousing which is capable of generating all multichannel information quickly and accurately. The company standardizes all its data from various sources using a chain of master data management processes which allows them to become more efficient and effective hence increase sales and improve the experience for consumers.
With operations in many countries around the world, Coca-Cola needs to have a network system that connects all its branches so as to ensure efficiency in its business operations. Recently, the company signed a five-year contract with Equant who now manage a 289-site network that spans 250 cities across 87 countries (Adshead, 2000). Rather than choosing an Internet Protocol-based network, Coca-Cola chose a Frame Relay so as to have a system that meets the needs of the company as well as their applications. The network replaced the previously used wide area network that consisted of multiple supplier systems. A key feature of the new network system is the introduction of a customized Systems Application Product (SAP) enterprise resource planning that needs more bandwidth to function (Adshead, 2000). The greatest challenge that the company faced in rolling out the new system was the sheer size of its network which resulted in challenges of replacing it at a reasonable cost and time. However, the important thing was to ensure that the new network system efficiently supports the strategy of the company.
The increased usage of digital technologies to carry out various operations of business has made many companies susceptible to cyber attacks. Regardless of the size company, infiltrators may target various sections of the company either for individual purposes or other reasons only known to them. Coca-Cola experienced such an incident in 2009 when cyber-attacks on the companys systems allowed the infiltrators to have access to sensitive information of the company (Tiro Security, 2012). The infiltrators were able to compromise the system because of a skillfully targeted email which they sent to the deputy president of the Coca-Cola Pacific group, Paul Etchells (Tiro Security, 2012). After clicking the malicious link, the attackers were able to gain access and download the companys data from Pauls compromised computer. Such a breach of security can cause a lot of harm to a company and even at times result in loss of credibility. It was imperative for Coca-Cola to tackle the security challenge and develop a comprehensive and scalable security solutions across all its systems. Though the company is in business optimism, they continue to design and develop protocols while planning for the worst (Finan, 2016). This is the only way that they can ensure every stakeholder takes security threats seriously and act with caution when performing various company duties.
The internet has made it possible for many companies to build a strong relationship with partners and consumers. Although companies and individuals may be different entities, the internet enables them to interact with each other in an efficient manner (Anderson & Anderson, 2002). Coca-Cola company uses a Business to Consumer (B2C) e-Commerce model to build stronger relationships to improve distribution, order processing, consumer fulfillment and customer care (Anderson & Anderson, 2002). The cocacola.com online shop is designed to expand the reach of Coca-Cola branded merchandise. Apart from beverages, the platform also features products ranging from cookware to clothing and other collectibles. The company accepts different types of payments on its e-commerce platform including American Express, MasterCard, Visa, Discover, Paypal and electronic gift certificates. Customers thus have a variety of payment options to choose from on a system that caters to their needs and has encryption security.
Web 2.0 and Social Media
Just like many multinational firms, Coca-Cola has used Web 2.0 and social media to reach to more audience across the globe. Some of the web platforms that Coca-Cola uses are Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and its conversation blog (Stringer, 2015). The improvements in the two popular social media sites that allow users to share videos with each other have been a benefit to Coca-Cola and other international firms. On Facebook, Coca-Cola posts latest videos that include events, updates and Coca-Cola products around the globe. Fans also express their passion for Coca-Cola products by commenting on the companys Facebook wall as well as posting images and videos that express their love for Coca-Cola. On the other hand, the company uses Twitter for the same purposes as Facebook, that is, to reach a wide audience. 140 characters are just enough for the company to convey their message to their fans. Also, they share photos and videos with the fans which promote their products to global audiences. The next Web 2.0 platform is Youtube which offers an opportunity for the company to post latest video commercial and live company events. With millions of people around the world using Youtube on a daily basis, Coca-Cola can promote its products globally. Finally, Coca-Cola has also ventured in the blogosphere to share a wide variety of topics as well as posting new product information and receive comments from fans. With Web 2.0 platforms, Coca-Cola reaches fans and consumers all around the globe, therefore, promoting its brand and products.
Enterprise System and Applications
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems allow companies to streamline and integrate operation procedures as well as the flow of information so as to amalgamate the companys resources. The core subsystems of an ERP system include financial accounting, logistics, asset management, purchasing, shop floor control, bill of materials, purchasing, material requirement planning, capacity requirement planning, master scheduling, and sales and marketing (Parker, 2007). The Coca-Cola ERP system was developed by Computer Science Corporation (CSC) so as to ensure a more modern supply chain, a consistent acquisition process and netter integration of manufacturing and retail operations (CSC, n.d.). The new SAP Enterprise Resource Planning solution replaced and automated many of the supply chain processes of Coca-Cola and thus increased the speed of deployment.
IT Strategy, Sourcing, and Vendor Relationships
The IT strategy of the company is to use technology to improve business operations and drive sales of its products all over the world and influence the community in a positive way. The company has spent a lot in improving its data management systems, security systems, e-commerce platforms, enterprise management systems and Web 2.0 so as to allow efficient processes in all its activities and ensure that all stakeholders are satisfied. The use of such technologies has improved vendor relationships in that they can easily get information on various issues as well as have their queries and concerns sorted on time (Tallant, 2013). Apart from the technology improving customer and vendor relationships, it has also improved the process of sourcing for talent. Sourcing is an important aspect of any company that aims at acquiring successful talent. Undoubtedly, companies are incapable of recruiting top talent without proactively identifying the top talent. With a deficiency of key skills in the market, uncovering top talent has become a great challenge for many companies. However, innovation in information technologies can assist companies in broadening their reach, therefore, improve efficiency in talent recruitment. Coca-Cola has selected efficient sourcing technologies to make it easier to acquire talent that meets the company specifications (Moye, 2013). The company uses...
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