The Smart List: Whirlpool turns up innovation with managed SAP on cloud
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Whirlpool Corporation knows a thing or two about innovation. They’ve helped make consumers’ lives easier for over a century. To power more innovation and scale, Whirlpool Corporation sought to migrate their SAP workloads in four geographies to the cloud. Mike Berendsen, VP of IT, Whirlpool Corporation, and Mark Slaga, GM, IBM Services for Managed Applications discuss Whirlpool Corporation’s journey to SAP on cloud and how technology helps Whirlpool Corporation continually advance consumer experience.
Can you tell us about Whirlpool Corporation’s vision?
Mike: Our objective is to be the best kitchen and laundry company and improve everyone’s life at home around the world. Our IT operations and infrastructure support innovating, designing and bringing new products and services to market for our consumers.
We no longer want to be just an appliance manufacturer – we want to create a broad ecosystem of connected home devices, such as smart ovens or refrigerators, that enable us through data to understand our consumers better, make their daily lives easier and deepen our relationships with them.
How has your cloud strategy changed in the last 5 years?
Mike: When I took on my role over four years ago, I walked into on-premises data centers and a lot of different technologies, many of them outdated.
We came up with a north star for the organization that includes three tenants: be business driven, be cloud first and asset light, and be innovation focused. A managed cloud environment for our SAP applications was core to our approach because we needed scale to grow.
What were your SAP on cloud deployment goals?
Mike: We need maximum availability for the four geographies we operate in, and there aren’t many cloud managed services providers that could entertain hosting SAP environments on Whirlpool Corporation’s scale.
Our objectives were: move SAP platforms to the latest technologies; do that in a manner that didn’t require a huge upfront investment; and take advantage of capabilities so we weren’t constantly managing day-to-day operations.
Today, our large SAP on cloud footprints run in the IBM Cloud. We found that we were able to do that for less money, so we not only freed up some of our internal capacity, but also resources to invest in innovation.
Mark: We’ve been with Whirlpool on their journey to the cloud, helping them migrate their enterprise applications to the cloud. We run their ERP, CRM and business intelligence systems that run more than 80% of their critical transactions.
What does building smarter business through technology mean to you?
Mike: Building smarter business through technology for Whirlpool Corporation means connected capabilities available with IoT, understanding and managing all of the data, and then using these inputs to innovate new products and services for our consumers.
Mark: Building smarter businesses through technology means more than the traditional “making sure systems are up.” It’s the ability to tie in advanced technologies like artificial intelligence and IoT into your SAP applications to make better decisions.
Watch Whirlpool Corporation’s full story: