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How DDW evolves customer and employee experiences with Azure

Focus on: Empower Employees, Engage Customers

There’s a reason we associate yellow foods with sourness, green foods with tartness, and red foods with sweetness. The science of color and its effect on our perceptions of the world around us is called chromatics, and for more than 150 years DDW has been perfecting the visual appeal of foods and beverages by applying this science to natural food coloring.

DDW operates ten color manufacturing plants and employs 250 full-time employees across five continents, including its headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky. Known for being the world leader in brown or caramel coloring, DDW also provides a full spectrum of natural colors for a wide range of food and beverage applications. In fact, more than two billion food servings containing DDW hues are consumed worldwide every day.

With regulatory measures mounting across the food industry, and demands for documentation increasing among customers and other organizations, members of DDW’s leadership team recognized an opportunity to transform customer and employee experiences with the latest technology. To extend internal document management capabilities online and improve customer service, Senior VP of Sales and Marketing Graham Merryweather and IT Manager Dan Granger worked with Microsoft technology partner BreakPoint to build and test a digital solution powered by Azure.

Empowering employees and engaging customers with digital document management
DDW was already using Microsoft SharePoint Online to manage its internal document organization, but Merryweather and Granger saw the company struggling to stay ahead of external customer requests and requirements. Externally, implementing Azure now enables DDW to securely deliver relevant information directly to its customers via a virtual document management platform.

By its most recent count, 345 customers have used the Azure-based platform to identify and access desired documentation. This emphasis on self-service not only allows customers to securely and quickly find the information they’re looking for, it also eases, and in some cases eliminates, the burden of fielding customer requests on DDW employees.

“That’s 345 customers that are pulling information themselves that previously would’ve been sending an email – maybe multiple emails – to different people within our organization,” says Merryweather.

Internally, Azure’s intuitive self-service features increase workplace efficiency and communication by freeing employees across departments and teams to focus on high-value tasks. Now, quality managers can organize sensitive information quickly and easily in the cloud. Sales managers can conveniently navigate the database of roughly 8,000 documents and find the information they need to do their jobs more effectively, and employees in the regulatory department no longer have to spend the bulk of their time locating requested documents.

Azure’s leading scalability and security capabilities are also benefiting both employees and customers. The platform’s security protects login and password information for hundreds of DDW customers and employees, and allows administrators to maintain specific parameters that only permit users to access relevant documents. The solution also ensures that certain documents can only be altered by DDW employees, enabling the company to maintain compliance with the latest regulatory requirements across the industry.

“The stability of having Microsoft, and knowing that they’re the ones fighting the battle on the front end of security for us is one of the things we really liked about [Azure],” says Granger.

Driving digital transformation
Moving forward, DDW looks to build on the success of its self-service platform and push the company’s digital transformation even further.

“To finish the [first stage of the] project in the manner we did, in the timeframe we did, at the cost that we did—I think we exceeded everything,” said Merryweather. “It was a very, very positive experience.”

Merryweather, Granger, and the rest of DDW leadership already have plans to explore more opportunities to extend their Microsoft solutions. Ideally, they would like to develop the platform into a multi-lingual solution to support the organization’s employees and customers around the globe. They also hope to eventually provide customers with a self-service option for ordering products, and add billing and notification features.

“We look at using Azure as the foundation to then plug in additional capabilities and grow the platform,” says Granger.

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