Fireside Chat With Asahi

7 Sep 2023

by Marianne Wilhelmsen

Global brand and famous beverage company Asahi is enjoyed the world over. Now, they are opening their doors to let us see how their European and International export business Asahi Europe and International uses Enterprise Architecture to maintain this global success.  

Asahi Group Holdings is a Japanese beverage holding company headquartered in Tokyo. Asahi Europe & International (AEI) is its European division, which runs 19 production facilities in eight European countries. It is the custodian of some of the best beer brands in the world, including Asahi Super Dry, Pilsner Urquell, Peroni Nastro Azzurro, Grolsch, and Kozel. AEI is also responsible for developing and managing all export markets globally, outside of Japan and Oceania. 

AEI is inspired by innovation and high-quality service. With a keen focus on delivering premium consumer experiences, AEI uses Ardoq as their digital business management solution. We had the chance to chat with AEI’s Enterprise Architect Klára Janovská on their transformation journey, the state of Enterprise Architecture in the organization right now, and how Ardoq has helped bridge IT and business.

Inspiration Through Business Opportunities in the Digital Landscape

Inspired by Klára’s work, we asked her five questions about the state of Digital Transformation and EA in Asahi and her advice for EA teams. Here's what she had to say: 

1. What main business opportunities do you see in your digital landscape?

Well, first, in this era, everyone including forklift drivers are to some extent dependent on technologies, and the business opportunities to leverage technologies are limitless. Therefore, the key to making an impact is the right focus and priority setting. 

At Asahi, we are focusing on building a strong foundation for data and analytics to gain deeper insights into customer behavior and to enable us to personalize experiences and optimize our offerings. We also try to streamline operations and enhance efficiency mainly in the back-office area with the help of AI-driven automations. This helps the business to focus on value-added tasks. 

We leverage cloud-native technologies as much as we can and are in the midst of a vast cloud migration project which offers us a chance to optimize infrastructure costs while ensuring better flexibility and adaptation to future business requirements.

It’s also very exciting to build partnerships with technology vendors and try to find new solutions to business challenges. For example, we have launched so far very successful project For Hops which helps hop farmers adapt to changing climate conditions including adverse weather in the Czech Republic. The solution does not only help preserve the quality and yield of a crucial ingredient to produce beer, but has the potential to support revenue in the future. 

Additionally, it wouldn’t be me not to add to the list technology standardization and application rationalization efforts, which unlock agility and scalability and accelerate time-to-market – all of them being crucial abilities for companies like ours which historically have been growing through acquisitions.


2. What's your organization's key focus for digital transformation?

There are multiple areas of focus which we are delivering in parallel. But at the heart of all these efforts lies a clear focus on delivering perfect customer service. We are strengthening our change management capabilities and learning how to effectively communicate with our customers in a language they understand. We are learning effective resource planning in an environment where everything changes so quickly and trying to foster business end-to-end ownership which goes hand in hand with continuous improvement.

Enterprise Architect Klára Janovská

"At the heart of all these efforts lies a clear focus on delivering perfect customer service." 
- Klára Janovská, Enterprise Architect at Asahi




3. What is EA’s current role in the organization?

This is a one-million-dollar question. We are trying to serve as the compass towards our 2030 strategy, "A Better Future," ensuring that every initiative is harmonized with our overarching strategy, reusing our assets where it makes sense and sharing our voice during RFPs where it does not. We guide the teams through the delivery process if needed and facilitate collaboration across teams. We have conversations with business leaders to better understand their needs and bring this information home. We play a crucial role during the Portfolio Planning Process, fostering innovative and best practice solutions and providing a holistic view on all we do. As in every company, we are a work in progress. But I’d say that this is our North Star.

 "We play a crucial role during the Portfolio Planning Process, fostering innovative and best practice solutions, and providing a holistic view on all we do."

- Klára Janovská, Enterprise Architect at Asahi


4. What advice would you give to other organizations who are in the beginning of modernizing their digital landscape?

Start small. Do not try to create that perfect deck with a comprehensive digital strategy aligned with all business objectives. (Even that sentence sounds exhausting!). Choose one effort with direct positive impact on your customers, build partnerships outside and inside your organization to deliver on that and build on the incremental progress you have made. 

Modernization of your digital landscape is never about technology only. It’s also about changing organizational culture and the way business operates – and therefore it can never be achieved as one all-encompassing effort at once. You need to break down the transformation into manageable phases or projects and simply start taking small steps which will ultimately lead to delivering your bigger vision.

5. How has Ardoq helped to bridge IT and business? Can you give some examples?

Ardoq is a door opener for our conversation with the business. With its simplified modeling language, it helps me articulate and deliver the message in a way which is well understood by the business and enables me to open meaningful conversations on the data insight Ardoq brings us. Furthermore, business appreciates the transparency with which we build our roadmaps, as all our application repository is accessible to our entire business. This underpins our goal of perfect customer service.

Thank you Klára, for your time, and for sharing your insights with us.

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Marianne Wilhelmsen Marianne Wilhelmsen Marianne is the Director of Brand and Communications at Ardoq.
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