For companies such as Swire Coca Cola Hong Kong, operating across multiple global territories brings its own unique challenges and opportunities. Swire’s strong multi-cloud strategy and extensive market reach meant that having a platform which could be shared between different markets was crucial, as was laying the foundation to rapidly deploy future workloads to the cloud whilst enabling separate builds and billing.
The organisation is the leading beverage company in Hong Kong with the franchise to manufacture, market and distribute products from the Coca-Cola Company across eleven provinces including the Shanghai Municipality in the Chinese Mainland, the Taiwan region, Cambodia, Vietnam and an extensive area of the Western USA. Its nearly 15,000 geographically dispersed employees rely on technology to drive productivity and enable business outcomes as they go about their daily business and meet with clients
Already well advanced in their digital transformation, Swire Coca-Cola adopted a multi-cloud strategy last year, implementing Microsoft Azure as its second cloud engagement.
“As part of our strategy, we need to have multi-cloud and adopt different technologies into our infrastructure and let our application design have visibility to deploy different cloud technologies,” says Daniel Leung, Manager – Cloud Architect at Swire Coca-Cola Hong Kong.
Daniel was keen to engage a partner to help Swire Coca-Cola implement the Azure landing zones and ensure the technologies were deployed not only in alignment with best practice but also factoring in the different regions Swire operates in. Insight was selected to ensure the landing zone was refactored to meet Swire’s needs, deliver improved efficiency and, critically, to assist Swire in determining whether to deploy a solution into their own dedicated regional subscription or to a shared market one.
Insight was engaged to handle the project and also to enhance Swire’s security posture by implementing Microsoft Defender for Endpoint for the company.
It was a project that would throw up some interesting challenges for both Swire Coca-Cola and Insight as Daniel explains: “When we started the project I didn’t foresee any huge problems. I didn’t even imagine that Microsoft in Singapore would have resources shortages. But when we began the actual deployment Microsoft started to tell me "we cannot provide resources to provision like your unique firewall."
Without a firewall, Swire Coca-Cola couldn’t move forward with the project. “Our schedule was going too close to our launch date for my first application in the Azure environment and at that time I could not even permission the firewall for the landing zone. We needed Microsoft to help us to get the special approval to provide the resources for us,” Daniel says.
Insight’s partnership with Microsoft allowed the team to not only negotiate with Microsoft to gain approval to permission the resources, it also allowed them to ensure Swire Coca-Cola (which can access discount schemes via both Swire Group in Hong Kong and Coca-Cola Group in the US) got the best pricing in terms of Azure usage. Daniel admits that it was a complex process of negotiations with Microsoft’s internal teams in both the US and Hong Kong, but ultimately Insight ensured Swire Coca-Cola secured the best deal for its business.
Insight helped move Swire Coca-Cola to Azure landing zones based in Singapore, designing the security and technical architecture for the deployment. “With the landing zones we can deploy our applications into Azure cloud environments, which is part of our multi-cloud strategy, and our designs for different applications can be hosted in different cloud environments,” Daniel says.
Daniel says the new environment has enabled Swire Coca-Cola to separate some resources from China and move them to the Hong Kong and Singapore regions; allowing entities in Hong Kong and Taiwan to utilise their own budgets for their own uses.
“Previously all the resources were within the China region and the cost could not be efficiently allocated to Hong Kong and Taiwan. This meant we couldn’t leverage their team budgets in Azure to use their own resources in the Azure environment because there was no mechanism to do so in China Azure.That’s the big benefit to the business and the reason we needed to build another Azure environment in the Singapore region to serve the South East Asia market.”
With the new landing zones in play, Daniel says Swire Coca-Cola is now more agile, and able to provide new services, such as PowerBI, to their South East Asia markets.
Kris Chong, Insight Sales Manager – Cloud and Solution Business, says that the landing zones ensure Swire Coca-Cola can harness best practice in security and design whilst optimising their usage of workloads in Azure.
Insight implemented core principles for Swire’s lading zones including security controls, compliance measures and governance frameworks which will deliver enhanced business resiliency, better governance over sensitive data and a marked reduction in potential risks and failures.
There are also cost optimisation benefits, Kris adds, with the landing zones helping Swire reduce infrastructure costs, improve resource utilisation and optimise cloud spend.
“We analysed the costings to make sure that Swire are using the workload in the most efficient way, so they can save on the cost of Azure in each of their projects.”
The Azure Landing Zone deployment and configuration took six weeks, with fine-tuning and some network design taking a further two weeks.
Daniel says Insight also helped fix network infrastructure issues for the company and he points out that the ability to involve multiple Insight teams with unique areas of expertise on a project is one of the company’s key strengths.
For Daniel, there’s also that billing benefit. “Some of the workload currently is under our China regions, part of the resources that we need to segregate and implement into the Azure environment in the Singapore region so that we can separate the costs and obtain costs effectively to our Hong Kong and Taiwan customers,” he says. “We have some sharing pool on Azure especially on the network settings,” Kris adds. “This means all the separate projects can share the same network pool.”
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