Coca-Cola: a focus on failure is key

After 129 years, Coca-Cola is still one of the world's biggest brands. According to the head of the company's Cloud Brokerage Ecosystem department, a change in focus and learning from your failures sees you remain competitive in 2015.

Failure is the key to success, according to Mariano Maluf, Lead for Cloud Brokerage Ecosystem at The Coca-Cola Company.

As part of one of the largest organisations in the world, Maluf said the reasons for his company being where it is today is its approach to technology, a startup mentality, and the ability to focus on mistakes and learn quickly from them.

"We have these things called failure conferences, would you believe it. It's not that we're all happy that we fail, but we need to take the lessons learned very quickly and apply them," he said. "I believe there's power in doing that, recognising failures to learn fast and pivot fast and move quickly," Maluf said.

Maluf said a company the size of Coca-Cola needs to innovate quickly.

"The [Coca-Cola] conglomerate is one of the top ten employers in the world, with 700,000 people, 24 million customers -- you and I are not customers, AMC, Walmart are -- 1.9 billion servings, across over 200 countries, so truly a global company," he said.

"If you look at our history over 129 years, there's constant innovation, and you can say that Coke has been ready for anything for 129 years, otherwise we wouldn't be here."

According to Maluf, the key to success is experimentation, having brought concepts such as startup weekends to the company, with the intention of changing cultures and the mindset within the company.

"We're trying to immerse Coca-Cola -- which is a traditional, heritage type of company -- into this startup world. There are exciting things happening in the startup community and we want to be part of that," Maluf said.

Previously, Alan Boehme, CIO of Coca-Cola, said he looks for technologies that can give Coca-Cola at least a six-month lead over competitors, because he can quickly leverage that advantage across the entire organisation and its partners.

Maluf said that from an innovation perspective, the traditional role of the IT department needs to be reconsidered.

"I think the imperative there is for IT to become more of a catalyst, and a digital transformation engine for the business, as opposed to just being a trusted operator for the business."

Coca-Cola is a cloud-first organisation, according to Maluf. "We have been for the past two years or so," he added.

"Our future requires a hybrid cloud for obvious reasons for product formulation and product IP, which requires secure, simple access, so we will have those on-prem. But consumer facing applications -- we've been moving those to the public cloud for a number of years, and it's like almost all of those that you see, small and big. Even the FIFA campaign starts with a public cloud entity."