Coca-Cola sees intelligent automation as the secret ingredient [Podcast]

Katie Sadler

“We’re looking for tools and technologies to get further up the intelligent automation continuum.” - Coca-Cola’s Richie Daigle

coca cola hero
Photo by Jordan Whitfield on Unsplash

"In every position that I've been in within Coca-Cola, whether it be in finance, supply chain, IT analytics and sales and marketing analytics, it's always been in building business solutions, typically using technology," said Richie Daigle, group director of automation and analytics, Coca-Cola Refreshments.

"About 18 months ago we came to a conference and heard a lot about automation. At the time my team was made up of a group of application developers, process engineers and advanced analytics type analysts. For us, this was just the next step in the evolution from a technology perspective," he explained to AIIA Network Podcast host, Seth Adler.

“You need the process subject matter experts to help you define the processes, help you test the processes once they've been developed”

“Automation has been challenging because so much of what you need in automation is standardized target systems that you want to automate processes against. You need standardized processes.”

“You need the process subject matter experts to help you define the processes, help you test the processes once they've been developed,” advises Daigle.

Working with KPMG, the robotic process automation (RPA) software vendor market was surveyed for the best solutions and a business case for automation was built. Guidance on what an automation center of excellence (COE) might look like was also created.

“We have been automating processes through other means for a very long time. RPA was just another tool in the toolbox”

However, Daigle kept in mind that RPA was just another method.  “We have been automating processes through other means for a very long time. This [RPA] was just another tool in the toolbox.”

“Our COE is centralized,” explained Daigle. “We decided to move forward with the centralized model versus federated or hybrid. We felt like it was the right way to maintain tight control over the development standards, and the delivery methodology. We wanted to get that done right before we started to federate.”

“We now have over 20 attended automations in production and another 30 in the pipeline. However, we’ve got the capacity to deliver 50 to 60 next year.”

“As we move farther into the call centers, farther into HR shared services. We're looking for opportunities that we couldn't capture with basic RPA. We're looking for other tools and technologies to get a little farther up the intelligent automation continuum, whether it's machine learning or some other artificial intelligence type capabilities.


3 key takeaways from this week’s AIIA podcast

Ensure entrepreneurial spirit in a corporate world

“Good managers who will listen to you put you in a position to win. Taking that leap of faith and giving you that opportunity has been important”. Maintaining his entrepreneurial spirit has given him greater vision to see “where the opportunities are coming from and always looking to see how [he] can add value to the business.”

Stay on trend

“Stay abreast of all the trends—automation is certainly a big one. Look for the game changers. Focus on those, especially the ones that you're passionate about. If you can connect those dots for people you'll get the opportunities.”

Be passionate about your ideas

"You have to be passionate about it but don’t be afraid to bring them back to your manager or management team, always from the perspective of how's it going to impact the business and impact business performance. Align with corporate strategy."

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