A very bad week for spying.

The NSA allegedly tapped the phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Photo: Reuters

Coca-Cola Amatil is about to flick the on switch on a number of cloud applications so that data can better flow to its employees, sellers and even truck drivers.

The beverage conglomerate has been undertaking a major IT transformation project in Asia Pacific for the best part of five years.

It has implemented a range of SAP-based systems to obtain what chief information officer Warwick Hutton describes as "real-time visibility" of its operations including inventory and logistics. It can now integrate data from myriad sources, including from 10,000 3G-connected vending machines, in a way that makes it useful, such as enabling sales reps to tailor offers and seasonal stock discounts to customers on the spot.

International relations: US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

International relations: US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Photo: Getty Images

"Not knowing your inventory during the day or not knowing where your trucks are until the end of the day is not helpful," Hutton said.

"A lot of our customers are mum and pop stores, so as trucks and reps visit those stores, we're now able to make them an offer or better utilise the fridges. Also it gave our truck drivers ability to sell stock directly – new product lines, some consignment stock." 

The company will now shift the IT focus from the back office to the front end, further opening its business, sales and inventory data to employees to access on any device at any time.

Coca Cola Amatil chief information officer Warwick Hutton wants employees to have access to company data with less fuss.

Coca Cola Amatil chief information officer Warwick Hutton wants employees to have access to company data with less fuss. Photo: Jack Atley

It is close to switching employees to the Microsoft cloud suite Office 365, after earlier adopting BPOS. It will use Office 365 to leverage collaboration through Sharepoint, Hutton said.

"We're looking to reduce the reliance on desktops and laptops. Whether it's a tablet or a dumb terminal with a web browser, like a Chrome Book, it's about getting away from managing [software] on every device."

Hutton is also shifting some of its websites to Microsoft's infrastructure-as-a-service Azure platform where mobility and access is a consideration. The company uses Telstra to host CCA's public-facing websites since the group did away with its own data centres. It uses IBM to host its mission critical systems.

Coca Cola Amatil chief information officer Warwick Hutton wants employees to have access to company data with less fuss.

Coca Cola Amatil chief information officer Warwick Hutton wants employees to have access to company data with less fuss. Photo: Jack Atley

It will use of Windows Servers 2012 Hyper-V, having replaced VMWare, and rely on Microsoft's federated access via a single sign-on for most of its applications. Hutton said this would make it simpler for employees to access the information they need via business intelligence and other apps on tablets and smartphones or via the web.

He said the move would also lower costs and make the business more agile, "whereas previously we were simply renewing licences and enterprise agreements".

"What people expect now is to have access to information. People just expect now to access to corporate data. It's not acceptable to have to go through multiple firewalls. They expect information to be on any device at any time.

"These days people should just get the access they need. Security is important but we need to make it seamless for our people."

The devices are likely to continue to be company-issued iPads and iPhones, however, not Windows or Android-based devices. It also allows bring-your-own device so long as employees adhere to security policies, although these tend to be less prevalent.

"If [windows tablets or phones] gain traction out there in consumer land, we will look at it. The only reason we haven't developed apps for them is there's no traction out there. At the moment, demand is for iPads and iPhones," Hutton said.

"But we're not trying to control that sort of access, we're putting mobile management tools in place to make sure we can manage [BYOD], as long as they adhere to our policies."

The use of cloud computing is growing exponentially in Australia and overseas. Research firm Gartner expects it will increase to become the bulk of new IT spend by 2016. It says nearly half of large enterprises will have hybrid cloud deployments by the end of 2017.

In Australia, Gartner projects cloud services revenue will achieve a five-year compound annual growth rate of 15.3 per cent from 2012 to 2017 across all segments. Software-as-a-service (SaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) have even higher projected growth rates.

"Cloud computing continues to grow at rates much higher than IT spending generally. Growth in cloud services is being driven by new IT computing scenarios being deployed using cloud models, as well as the migration of traditional IT services to cloud service alternatives," said Ed Anderson, research director at Gartner.

Toby Bowers, director of server and tools at Microsoft Australia, said the company had been talking to "many clients" like CCA who wanted to utilise both private and public clouds and their combination, the hybrid cloud.

Bowers said: "Microsoft is experience strong momentum in the enterprise cloud."