Microsoft Inspire 2018: Customer service lessons from Carlsberg

If yesterday’s blog was about gambling, it seems almost inevitable that today’s should be about beer.

And it is. Carlsberg to be precise.

In his Corenote, Judson Althoff of Microsoft described Carlsberg as a perfect example of digital transformation in practice across all areas of the business, picking up the widest range of transformation tools; not just the jargon but the reality. And delivering clear returns.

Carlsberg’s director of fermentation – yes there is such a thing – described its aim of pursuing perfection in brewing through a culture of innovation.

Microsoft Teams provided the ideal platform for colleagues across the organisation to collaborate on a project to brew a new beer celebrating Carlsberg’s 25-year partnership with Liverpool.

Planner, embedded within Teams, was used to plan tasks and track implementation, including planting hops in soil taken from the pitch at Anfield which were serenaded by video footage of the team.

Apparently, there’s increasing evidence that video and audio helps plants grow.

Getting colleagues bought into Teams was just the starting point and Carlsberg’s CTO explained that they had also migrated more than 500 servers into Microsoft Azure, including SAP and a number of legacy solutions.

They’re also using a bot called ‘Carrie’ to deliver a knowledgebase that will help developers understand rules and regulations.

Sadly, for anyone harbouring thoughts of a career as a beer taste tester, Carlsberg is now using AI to help the brewing process – testing a variety of different ingredients to predict flavour, speeding up the development process for new products and delivering all-important consistency.

Arguably the most significant use of technology and supporting major improvements in customer experience for bar owners is the ‘connected bar’ and ‘My Carlsberg’, using the Internet of Things (IoT) to measure stock levels, air pressure, temperature and a number of other variables that can impact product quality.

Why so significant? Firstly, it helps bar owners reduce spoilage – which hits them directly in the pocket – and allows Carlsberg field service teams to respond quickly and effectively to take remedial action.

Of course, MyCarlsberg reporting is delivered using Power BI, which also provides an integrated supply chain balanced scorecard to identify end-to-end efficiencies and trends across different territories. Again, the key point here is that this drives decisions and actions.

Admittedly, some of the more sophisticated elements may be a little ambitious for those who don’t have the resources of an organisation like Carlsberg, but as the CTO pointed out, “a lot of what we’re doing seems basic, but it’s helping us to make far better decisions and has a massive cultural impact.”

Teams, Power BI, Azure and probably even bots are certainly within the reach of all businesses regardless of size – so the next time you’re at the bar it’s worth thinking about the technology that’s gone into guaranteeing a great experience. Probably.

Check out myself, Steven Osprey (Applications Partner Manager) and Paul Burns (Chief Technology Officer) summing up the first day at Microsoft Inspire in our short video: