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Boomi World 2024 - how Fever-Tree Technology Director Kate Stables is mixing up a tech stack for growth

Sarah Aryanpur Profile picture for user saryanpur May 13, 2024
Summary:
Fever-Tree has great ambitions for the future and Boomi's platform is playing its part in delivering them.

Fever-Tree
(Cheers!)

Premium drink mixers company, Fever-Tree has grown rapidly since it was set up in 2005, and now has annual revenues of £364.4 million and is the leader in the UK mixer drink market with a 44% share. As with most companies that enjoy rapid growth, by the time the current Technology Director Kate Stables joined in 2021, its systems were in need of a major overhaul.

When she started the process of planning its technology strategy there were only two people in the IT team, it now has 13. Although it didn’t have a huge IT legacy, it did have operations across more than 90 countries, and was handling over 400 employees. Stables says:

With growth comes added complexity. As a result we need to ensure our technology and systems keep pace with that growth. It is about ensuring our teams have access to real time, quality data and information that allows them to make smart decisions quickly, so our customers across the globe have the service level they expect from us. It was inefficient in terms of the manual effort it needed and we weren’t able to get to the data fast or consistently enough. There were lots of versions of the truth.

Stables and her team began a strategic review of Fever-Tree’s systems, looking at the business capabilities and doing what she calls ‘a maturity assessment’ across the business:

We needed to set out the business priorities, which are largely about supply chain and finance. We spent six months really understanding our business processes, whilst simultaneously using that to drive our requirements to the RFPs for multiple technologies. We came out of that with new business and process design, and technology mapped to every step in that process, as well as an understanding of who in the business was going to run it.

The main project work started in 2022, but she says they had already kicked off the tech selection process through the business design process. Stables explains:

We needed an integration platform, and a planning solution. We wanted to implement RPA (Robotic Process Automation) so that we could free up time, and obviously to be more efficient.

It also became obvious during the pandemic that managing risk in the supply chain, and coping with disruptions like hyper-inflation, was becoming more difficult with the systems that Fever-Tree had been using.

Growth

The company chose Boomi’s intelligent platform for its cloud-based transformation. Stables says:

We’ve gone from ERP, MRP and Excel spreadsheets to a foundation for the technology that we need as a business to drive growth, and to be ready for any change in the business model. And Boomi gave us that flexibility and scalability as we move forward.

She adds:

Our aspiration is continued growth. But I'm confident from a technology perspective that we have got the foundations in place that we can deal with anything.

Stables confidence extends to the company’s plans for AI use:

We’re still in the core transformation, and are making sure that our AI strategy is making the best of what is embedded in the tools that we selected.

For example Fever-Tree’s Asset Management tool has some embedded AI that reads the tickets, assigning it to the right group, suggesting a solution to a case and then writing a knowledge article as to what the final solution was. Stables argues:

That brings efficiency to the tech team. Especially as we start to support and make the most of all the opportunities it offers. It is not reliant on layering in the governance and managing risk around the day. We can use the everyday AI that's managing the risk around access, and sharing information. Once we've added in what we've got, we continue to look at our technology and make sure that we're working with the right partners who have got that roadmap.

Fever-Tree is still mapping out what kind of AI it needs through working with its business users, but knows there is a huge amount to do just to make sure that it’s ready for that from a compliance data perspective. Boomi’s strategy for AI, which was announced at Boomi World, makes Stables confident that the company is going to be ready:

It is about future proof competitive advantage. We didn't have a huge bunch of legacy that we needed to remove and transition from so it's quite a clean, greenfield approach, and we can say this is what good looks like. This is what we need. Here's the right. Here's how far we need to go as a business to make sure we're ready for growth or any headwinds that come our way. We kind of have fun. Not only do we have the technology, we also have an understanding of our capabilities. The way I've set tech, from a delivery perspective, it's very much a business service center. We are business partners. Working together to deliver on that kind of enables us to continuously improve.

Stables concludes:

Whilst we need to make the best use of everything that's coming, we know that they're going to be ready. And then it's up to me and the business to work it out...We have really close partnerships with business teams. That's why we started from our business strategy and then selected tech that was going to enable us to make that come to light. As opposed to the ‘here's a best practice technology architecture. Let's go with that and plug it in as we go'. We are now very much on the same page. It's ultimately about integrated business planning, which is the right people making the right decision.

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