Central American Bottling Company (CBC) moves to Office 365 to streamline IT operations and simplify regulatory compliance

Today’s post on Office 365 was written by Rafael Bardales, Shared Services Director at CBC.

TCBC Profile pixhe Central American Bottling Company (CBC) has been bottling and distributing beverages since 1885, and in the past 130 years we’ve seen many changes to the business and the world. From our initial roots in Guatemala, we’ve expanded operations to eight countries around Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. We’ve been distributing PepsiCo products since 1942, and we now also deliver drinks from major brands like AmBev and LivSmart to our 455,000 customers, most of which are small independent grocers.

Building and managing an efficient distribution network that can reliably deliver products to so many customers in multiple countries presents many challenges.  We need to make sure that everyone in the company—from delivery drivers to executives—always has access to the information they need to keep the business running smoothly and keep our customers happy. Because of our affiliation with PepsiCo, we also need to ensure that we conform with U.S. regulations around data access and security. I manage the company’s Shared Services Center, which runs all of the company’s IT operations out of our Guatemala datacenter.  In 2009, we decided to move some of those operations to the cloud so we could better control our IT costs and make it easier to deploy new software quickly when we expand into new markets.

We chose another vendor to provide our first cloud productivity platform, and while many aspects of their solution worked great for us, our employees found that it was missing a lot of the functionality they had come to rely on with Microsoft Office. So even after we migrated our email system, our employees continued using Word, Excel and PowerPoint.  Plus, we found we didn’t have the rights-management functionality we needed to meet U.S. regulatory demands and ended up using a workaround in order to comply. It was less than ideal, so we decided it was time to move on.

When we evaluated our options, Office 365 was an obvious contender given our existing relationship with Microsoft and our use of Windows and SQL Server. After a successful pilot, we knew Office 365 was right for us and we signed on to begin the migration. Our IT staff is now on Exchange Online, and during 2015 we will migrate the rest of our 2,000 employees who use email. Grupo Sega will assist us as we roll out additional features like OneDrive for Business, SharePoint Online and Skype for Business.

The choice of Office 365 is streamlining our IT operations, because we can now replace single-function applications that we license for activities like web conferencing. As we consolidate more of our IT infrastructure on Microsoft products, systems administration becomes easier, and we make it simple for employees in different offices to work better together.  We’re currently expanding our use of mobile devices, and the commitment Microsoft has made to supporting all major mobile platforms will help our employees be productive anytime and anywhere.

We’re excited about the benefits CBC will realize by strengthening our technology partnership with Microsoft through our Office 365 investment. Not long ago, I attended a forum where Microsoft demonstrated its current offerings and gave insight into future plans, including its emphasis on “cloud first, mobile first” development. I believe that Microsoft is taking the right approach, and I feel very comfortable that our partnership will allow us to fully support our IT and business goals.

For more information, read the full story here at Why Microsoft.