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Rémy Cointreau drives customer centricity with SAP on Google Cloud

October 14, 2020
Snehanshu Shah

Managing Director, SAP

Imagine the challenge of supply chain planning and meeting changing consumer needs when you have products that can take up to one-hundred years to produce. That’s the case for Rémy Cointreau, a family-owned maker of fine spirits whose roots go back to 1724. 

With rapidly evolving consumer expectations and heavy competition from premium beverage brands, Rémy Cointreau set out on a strategy to put the customer at the center of their business. Offering more than a premium beverage, key brands such as Rémy Martin cognac, Louis XIII cognac, Cointreau and St-Rémy brandy instead would offer customers a taste of luxury. “The idea is not to simply sell Cognac,” explains Sebastien Huet, the company’s CTO. “We want to sell a French way of living. For that, we needed to shift from selling products to selling an experience.”

To make this a reality, Rémy Cointreau realized all elements of its business would need to be more agile. It needed more flexibility in its SAP systems, which drive Finance, Manufacturing and Supply Chain, and easy access to valuable SAP system data for business decision making and innovative customer approaches. As a result, Rémy Cointreau determined they’d need to move to the cloud to enable such a transformation. 

First, Rémy Cointreau elicited the help of long-time partner oXya. The Rémy Cointreau/oXya collaboration dates back 10 years, including the move of the on-prem SAP environment to oXya where they provided managed services. oXya deeply understood the pain points of Rémy Cointreau’s SAP landscape and worked with the company to capture and translate their business and functional requirements, followed by benchmarking various cloud solutions. Rémy Cointreau’s business was spread over two SAP landscapes, with interface and data consistency challenges, which needed to be unified to one SAP system and migrated to S/4HANA. Choosing the right cloud platform was critical to drive the SAP environment to deliver more value. 

“Scalability, flexibility and cost savings were important to Rémy Cointreau but also they had a strong desire to focus on data aspects beyond SAP,” says Matthieu Petitprez, Deputy Chief Technology Officer, oXya, a Hitachi Group Company. “Google Cloud, with its specific data analysis and management tools, completely met this objective. It allows integration of SAP with BigQuery and artificial intelligence services, bringing more value to the SAP solution.” 

“Just as it takes years to create a great cognac, we value partners who will be by our side for a long time,” says Huet, noting that it’s not unusual for the company to enter into 30- or 40-year agreements with suppliers. “The strategic alliance between Google Cloud and SAP made us confident they were the right choice for us. Google Cloud has a more comprehensive strategic partnership with SAP than its competitors and is clearly adding value to SAP.” 

Although the pandemic forced them to drive the migration remotely, Rémy Cointreau, oXya and Google Cloud’s Professional Services Organization (PSO) collaborated to achieve the European operations go-live in April 2020. “I was worried that COVID-19 would delay our launch, but migration was fast, easy, and on-schedule,” says Mr. Huet. “The technology played a part, but it also helped that we had two partners who we believed in.”

Improved manufacturing and service with business agility

The SAP S/4HANA deployment on Google Cloud Platform is now live for Rémy Cointreau’s Europe based operations. In addition to S/4, it also migrated the SAP supply chain planning tool, Advanced Planner and Optimizer (APO), as well as SAP’s Business Warehouse to Google Cloud. Similar deployments will launch soon globally. 

While the environment is still new, Rémy Cointreau already sees big steps towards greater agility with Google Cloud. For instance, Google Cloud makes it much faster and easier to adjust the technical operating environment. If a team wants to start performing a new resource-heavy analysis, Rémy Cointreau can expand capacity to meet demands within minutes. The team can also roll back capacity so that it is only using the resources it needs.

This newfound agility takes the pressure off the IT team when it comes to provisioning a new implementation for future capacity. Rather than try to build capacity for potential peaks, the team can deploy for expected demand, then easily adjust afterward to compensate for actual loads. “It makes capacity planning so much easier,” Mr. Huet says. “Not long after go-live, we had to perform some updates—increasing memory and so on,” he recalls. “In the past, the process would take about a month to do. Now it takes a few minutes. We literally went from five weeks to five minutes. This is a tremendous improvement.” 

Another critical factor in Rémy Cointreau’s decision to move to Google Cloud was the ability to connect its SAP backbone to key SaaS applications such as Salesforce. As the company began to put more focus on the customer experience, creating strong, long-term relationships with customers would be essential. By being able to create this 360 degree view of data among SAP, Salesforce, and its ecommerce platform, Rémy Cointreau can more easily create personalized experiences for its customers that simply weren’t possible before.

A data-driven future

Rémy Cointreau business users are already reaping benefits from the cloud deployment. “One of the key improvements is the ability to analyze live data,” Huet says. “That was not the case in the past. Previously, there was a 24-hour lag between the time the data came in and the moment it could be analyzed. This is especially important on the production-management side, where every hour counts.” 

As exciting as the improvements in agility and connectivity have been so far, Huet sees even more possibilities for the future. “Right now, we’re focused on establishing SAP in the Google Cloud environment,” he says. “But once that’s done, we’ll be looking at technologies like BigQuery that can take our data analysis to the next level.” Potential areas of interest include product traceability and customer experience. “Now that we’re fully deployed on Google Cloud Platform, anything is possible,” he notes. “We can pull data in from multiple sources via integration and analyze it in a matter of days. We don’t need a three-month project to see value.” 

It is this agility and creativity that makes Huet most optimistic about the company’s partnership with Google Cloud. As he notes, “I think the best is yet to come.” 

To learn more about Rémy Cointreau’s deployment of SAP on Google Cloud, read the case study here. Also learn more about oXya’s capabilities with Google Cloud for SAP customers.

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