These days, keeping up with technology trends and ensuring your applications adapt to modern business and user requirements is becoming increasingly important. On a journey to speak with industrial leaders about their company transformations in Couchbase’s new customer interview series, Leaders of Innovation, CTO Ravi Mayuram caught up with Madhav Mekala, a leader in mobile app development for North America at PepsiCo. The two sat down to discuss modern applications, technology trends in the digital transformation era, and the role a cloud architecture plays in Pepsi’s business. 

Beginning the Cloud Modernization Journey

When asked what prompted Pepsi to embark on their modernization journey, Madhav explained that they wanted to bring solutions onto the cloud in order to develop them more rapidly. “It is paying off a lot to be on the cloud, to be able to scale up and down and use modern technologies,” said Madhav. The team initially deployed Couchbase because they needed a solution for their commerce application. After comparing multiple solutions on the market, they selected Couchbase because of the flexible modular architecture that the database provides for development and operations, and its ability to process a high number of transactions. For Pepsi, Couchbase was able to solve a lot of problems related to speed, being a memory-first database.

While focusing on moving to a modern solution for their commerce application, another tipping point occurred when 3G networks were decommissioned in 2022, impacting Pepsi’s application that had been built for their sales organization. For Pepsi’s field team members who are leveraging this application (about 30,000 users), in order to complete their daily tasks such as placing orders, merchandising stores, cutting invoices and completing sales in-store without disruption, they need to have all required information at their fingertips. Since Pepsi’s old device had 3G capabilities, Pepsi needed to move to a newer, iPhone-based solution. The team was simultaneously building several digital platforms at the time, so their backend was already modernized and it made sense to modernize at the edge as well. 

Modernizing at the Edge

For the sales application, offline capabilities were Pepsi’s number one requirement. Many of the stores that reps visit have metal roofing and, therefore, no internet connectivity. To ensure a smooth experience for the sales team and Pepsi’s customers, they needed a solution with sync capabilities that would work at the edge regardless of location. The team selected Couchbase for the capabilities provided by Sync Gateway to continue their modernization journey into their field services. As Madhav explained, “We live on the edge. Our revenue comes from our reps; we account for about 20 billion dollars of revenue, but this one application brings in about 18 billion dollars. So it needs to be very accurate, we cut our invoices from this application. It is our topmost priority-one application. When we looked to see what is the right architecture for this and which products would support our edge strategy, that’s where Couchbase came into the picture.”

When the conversation turned to which technology trends Pepsi was seeing and what they would be building next in their modernization journey, Madhav explained that Pepsi is currently looking to also modernize their entire backend ERP and bring it into the cloud. “I know a lot of times when you look at these blue-chip companies, you think ‘this is not a technology company,’ but that’s something we want to change the perspective of because we are one of the early adopters of a lot of these technologies. We’re looking at newer technologies and thinking about what we can do because our reps now have iPhones in their hands, which is like a mini computer. We’re trying to see what else we can do to make their lives easier.”

To catch the full conversation, check out the video on YouTube here. Want to learn more about how you can build your own modern applications on Couchbase? Try our 30-day free trial of Couchbase Capella



Posted by Daniela Chesser, Senior Customer Marketing Manager

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