I am not a big Starbucks fan but let us face it, it’s nice to go there, sit down and have a coffee while you work. The sound, the ambiance or let us say the customer experience it’s good. When you are in a hurry and especially if you are in a business area, the lines get very long and on a Monday morning, you really need some caffeine to boost your Data Center brain. Not being an early adopter made me either spent more time in those long lines or missing my morning coffee until I downloaded the Starbucks app.

Quite easy… you download the app, trust that all security considerations were taken and put some money in it and then you can order your coffee the way you like it. When you get to the store you do not even say hello to anyone; you just get in the store, go straight to the end, grab it and leave. You get points and after some time you get some perks in the form of food or a coffee.

The more I used it, the more I thought…hey! This for sure must be some form of Digital Transformation. We at Cisco believe in the power of technology enabling digital processes and experiences that deliver a great value for companies but how does this become a reality? Starbucks is a great example. While having a great experience in the store and leveraging the app on a regular basis; made me do some research about it and here are the findings:

Starbucks digital transformation is really happening. It is not marketing speech but a true vision on how companies need to change to drive innovation in their own industries. Companies need to understand why, what and how to transform to be successful. Starbucks digital efforts are paying. Just to mention a few:

  • Mobile payment now accounts for 21% of all transactions
  • Their loyalty program has more than 20 million members around the world. This is a gold mine for marketers to engage with their customers, listen and understand them and most importantly, speak to them according to their behavior
  • In store investments and new openings are being more balanced since they see digital as a growth avenue

Now, how does cloud has to do with this apart that cloud powers Digital Transformation? I found some interesting information about a Starbucks purchase back in 2008 of some internet-connected “Clover” coffee machine maker that will let them customize your coffee for you. The purchase came with CloverNet:

…“a service that gives you web access to your Clovers. Find out what’s brewing on each of your Clovers right now, and visualize business trends through real-time charting. CloverNet also makes it easy to update brew parameters for all of your coffees, and to keep your Clovers in peak operation through system monitoring”…

Apparently, the company had plans to start linking other in-store equipment such as refrigerators into a cloud based network that could report in real time. That sounds like a ton of connected devices, data and a good amount of work for the IT department. Sounds like this cloud will deliver great insights to drive more business for Starbucks and drive more revenue with their digital strategy.

I wonder if Starbucks is part of the 3% of companies that have an optimized cloud strategy? I guess they do. They replaced their 18 years veteran CIO Curt Garner and hired Gerri Martin-Flickinger; former Adobe’s senior vice president and chief information officer who will drive the company’s global technology agenda around: …”cloud, big data analytics, mobile and security expertise”…

This is how digital transformation, cloud and coffee gets together.

Cloud needs a strategic approach, it’s not just public or private or hybrid cloud. It’s hybrid IT making sure that what comes from the public cloud provider flows nicely into the overall IT infrastructure and, ultimately, into the business strategy of a company.

If you don’t see yourself among the 3% of companies that have an optimized cloud strategy and would like to learn more; do the following:

  1. Go to your favorite coffee shop
  2. Sit down, relax and click here to discover your current cloud adoption and associated business benefits


Sergio Licea

Marketing Manager

Cloud Solutions, Americas