More Information

Learn, explore and unleash your inner chef.

For more information, please contact:
Sarin Kouyoumdjian-Gurunlian

“To make digital transformation a success, CFOs need to understand addressing human nature may impact the journey as much as the chosen technology,” recommends Victor C. Barnes, Global CFO, The McDonald’s Division, The Coca-Cola Company. “CFOs who really believe digital transformation is the key to prospering in the future should encourage their teams to seek and nurture networks with others across departments, functions, and companies,” he adds.

Barnes is a speaker at the marcus evans CFO Summit XXXVI 2019, taking place in Palm Beach, May 9-11.

Can you outline the digital transformation journey The Coca-Cola Company (“TCCC”) is undergoing? 

The most visible changes I noticed were just a few years ago when TCCC began moving physical servers to the cloud. At the same time, I was brokering the digitization of a cloud-based global statutory financial statement system. In 2017 one of our North America product commercialization teams moved the process of exchanging Excel forecasts back and forth via email between 60+ distributors, to one cloud-based process; soon after, a similar (manual spreadsheet-to-cloud) evolution occurred with our 3yr planning across four business units including the Canada BU finance team I led. I took note of these two ground-breaking developments led by colleagues in our Atlanta HDQ who would share their knowledge with me to propel my efforts.

Our digital transformation continues to be a journey. In many instances there are pockets of individuals pushing the agenda forward. TCCC has not completely digitized the enterprise yet but we are on our way.

What lessons have you learned so far? What do other CFOs need to know?

Learn from others! A very progressive leader at TCCC helped me prepare for my first Digital Transformation Keynote, which propels me still today. He shared three steps: “(1) get your data in the cloud; (2) push for data transparency; and (3) apply aspects of artificial intelligence (AI) and visualization software to help you make better decisions. Implementing AI is tricky because then you need a cohesive approach to make sure various parts of the company are not all chasing different shiny objects. You’ll have choices among many companies offering platforms for “Finance Transformation”, marketing insights, supply chain forecasting with AI, and so on. It is those networks you foster inside and outside of your company that will help avoid creating un-aligned processes which could make things worse!

As we began our journey in my current role, I made sure my team connected with others that had already digitized and with others thinking about it. They told us about their successes and failures. We created a technology steering committee to facilitate collaboration within our Division and with other parts of TCCC. This is an ongoing process that requires persistence. It just has to be part of the DNA of the team so that the transformation occurs in an intelligent way.

What issues have you faced? How are you dealing with them?

The primary one is data integrity. There are multiple owners of data, as it is a large company, so we have to get individuals to understand digital projects will go nowhere unless the data is clean. Many resources at TCCC are focused on all-important data governance – I keep them informed of what my team and I are working on. For example, as we build a volume forecasting tool, we make sure that our data standards (e.g. brand/pack/category) are automatically governed by data standards directly from its source, as opposed to us working off snapshots of data. Otherwise three months down the road as changes occur, data integrity erodes. Again, the connections must be automated. It has to be a two-way highway to pull and push information as necessary.

Why do you believe digital transformation is as much human nature as it is technology-driven?

There is often a lack of understanding of why we need to change. Making it understood by the company, but also the individuals. People tend to ask themselves, how does this help me? I spend time making sure our teams understand the scale and speed of change, and how we have to grow marketable skills. It is not about automating processes to eliminate people, but rather to leverage their skills and ignite engagement in individuals who would rather spend more time thinking about the business and customers than gathering and inputting, and reconciling data.

Over the past few years our company has implemented a new culture defined by curiosity, being empowered, iterative, and leveraging diversity. We have to inspire people to want more, to see this is not just a “flavor-of-the-day” exercise. One must continually navigate through three forces that can impede progress on your Transformation Journey: (1) Underutilized Resources, (2) “Not-Invented-Here mentality”, and (3) Inertia: cultural norms skeptical of change.

Ahead of the marcus evans CFO Summit XXXVI 2019read here an interview with 
Victor C. Barnes discussing his contributions to The Coca-Cola Company’s digital 
transformation journey and what lessons they are learning along the way

Victor C. Barnes

Global CFO, The McDonald’s Division

The Coca-Cola Company

What CFOs Can Learn from The Coca-Cola Company’s Digital Transformation Journey

Recent Delegates
  • Vice President, Finance Transformation, AIG
  • Chief Financial Officer, Bayer MaterialScience LLC
  • Chief Financial Officer, Beall’s
  • Chief Financial Officer, Celestar Holdings Corporation
  • Chief Financial Officer & Treasurer, Clarke Power Services Inc
  • Vice President, Finance, Southern Wine & Spirits of America Inc.
  • Chief Financial Officer, Sperian Energy
  • Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, Texas Mutual Insurance Co.
  • Senior Vice President, Finance, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
  • Vice President, Corporate Controller, USA Truck Inc.
  • Chief Financial Officer, Xerox Technology

     and more...

Copyright © 2019 Marcus Evans. All rights reserved.

  • Jacinth Smiley, VP and Chief Accounting Officer, LyondellBasell
  • Nicolás Herman, CFO – Latin America, Microsoft
  • Victor C. Barnes, Global CFO, The McDonald’s Division, The Coca-Cola Company
  • Sumit Dangi, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Global Data & Analytics, HSBC
  • Dhiraj Cherian, Chief Financial Officer, Panasonic Automotive
  • Mary T. Hoeltzel, Senior Vice President, Tax and Global Chief Accounting Officer, Cigna Corporation
  • Dr Mark Frigo, Director, Center for Strategy, Execution & Valuation; Strategic Risk Management Lab, DePaul University

     and more...

About CFO Summit XXXVI 2019

The CFO Summit XXXVI is the premium forum bringing senior finance executives and solution providers together. The Summit offers solution providers and CFOs an intimate environment for a focused discussion of key new drivers shaping the future of the industry. Taking place at Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa, Palm Beach, Florida, May 9-11, the Summit includes presentations on transforming the finance function, the strategic CFO, digital transformation, and the evolution of robotics. 

May 9-11, 2019

Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa, Palm Beach, Florida