Customer story

HEINEKEN relies on data to become the best connected brewer

Retail and consumer goods
Customer since

Founded in 1864 by 22-year-old Gerald Adriaan Heineken, the business that bears his name has become arguably one of the best-known beer brands. Today, HEINEKEN is the world's most international brewer, developing and marketing a portfolio of more than 300 international, regional, local and specialty beers and ciders. The company operates breweries, malteries, cider plants and other production facilities in 80 countries. 

HEINEKEN’s vision is to be the best-connected brewer, and the company is using data to power that transformation. Using Collibra, HEINEKEN has visibility into their data landscape and is able to provide standardized, consistent data across their company, driving productivity, agility and innovation.


Data, the glue for success

Every day, 25 million HEINEKEN beers are consumed across 192 countries around the world. Each time and anywhere a HEINEKEN bottle is opened, or a glass poured, it delivers the same crisp, refreshing and high-quality taste — and data is critical to supporting that consistent customer and digital experience across all channels. 

In 2021, HEINEKEN launched its EverGreen business strategy to drive growth and sustainability, become the best-connected brewer, and uphold the HEINEKEN quality brand experience. “As part of our EverGreen strategy, HEINEKEN wants to shape the future of beer to win the hearts of our consumers,” shared Ronald den Elzen, Chief Digital and Technology Officer at HEINEKEN. “In a world that becomes more digital and more online, we want to be the best-connected brewer, allied with our consumers, customers, employees and vendors.”

In addition, HEINEKEN was driving more revenue via digital channels that were seen as vital to communicating and connecting with customers and suppliers. “Data is crucial to achieving the goal of digital transformation,” added den Elzen. “We want to offer a seamless digital experience to all of our consumers and customers, across all our touchpoints. Data is the glue and oil that stitches all of that together.”

“HEINEKEN needs data to get to know customers better, figure out what products and services to offer, and provide customers with the best experience,” said Elizabeth Osta, Director of Data Management at HEINEKEN. “Data is also key to continuously improving supply-chain efficiency, production and packing line logistics, and influencing forecasting decisions.”

But HEINEKEN needed better control and understanding of the vast amount of data it generates from multiple sources — such as customer information, taste and buying trends, brewing process sensors and the supply chain. HEINEKEN has over 80 operating companies (OpCos) and acquired a raft of complementary businesses, which led to a large and diverse IT landscape. Managing and unifying data across this complex and fragmented environment was challenging. Many OpCos operated as silos managing their data autonomously with different technologies and tools. This meant it was difficult for OpCos and teams to share data information and knowledge — resulting in inconsistencies and lack of transparency/visibility.


Collibra, the common business language foundation

As Manager of Data Governance at HEINEKEN, Bart de Geus is a highly experienced data practitioner who understands the importance of robust data management practices to help with the challenges HEINEKEN faced. 

“Data governance is about answering simple questions such as what kind of data do we have? But the problem is, we often do not know,” explained de Geus. “Data is an asset, but you need visibility. That is when the data governance process starts. What is the data about, what does it mean, who is the owner and what is the quality? With visibility, you are in control.” 

HEINEKEN wanted a solution that would enable them to develop and implement effective data governance across the organization and give employees the visibility and access to data needed to make more impactful business decisions. The company searched the market and decided to use Collibra. “Compared to other solutions, Collibra stood out because of its usability and simplicity, and how it could make our data consistent and transparent,” elaborated de Geus.

HEINEKEN has deployed Collibra Data Intelligence Platform, using Collibra Data Catalog and Data Governance to build their Common Business Language. Collibra is one of the key solutions in the HEINEKEN Data Prime program for data integration, consolidation and analysis. Collibra integrates with other business systems such as SAP and Microsoft Power BI.

Data standards were imported into Collibra where they are cleaned, and then re-approved to make sure they are current and reviewed annually. Some data standards include pictures to illustrate the business case along with related business terms, data rules and ownership hierarchy. 

Collibra acts as a centralized source of truth for the business. All of HEINEKEN’s 85,000 employees have access to Collibra, with each OpCo having their important data and reports at their fingertips.

The Collibra homepage includes support tools such as simple definitions, training demos and documents, and a “share feedback” button for continuous improvement. There is also an extensive global Collibra training program that was rolled out over time to help increase adoption

“Before Collibra, HEINEKEN was flying in the dark,” commented de Geus, “Now we can shine a light on our data and make our data landscape visible. If an employee wants to know something, they go to Collibra. We are making Collibra a one-stop-shop and single source of truth for all things data. If we can achieve that, then I think we are way ahead in using data to drive the business forward in a more competitive manner.”


Driving up productivity

With Collibra, HEINEKEN has a single source of truth that helps to standardize data and ensure it can be trusted, driving better analysis and real-time decision making. By streamlining processes and eliminating repetition by different parts of the business, HEINEKEN estimates it has improved data team productivity.  “Before Collibra, it would take me roughly a week to perform regular checks, but with the introduction of Collibra, I’m able to perform the same review with the same quality output in about a day,” commented Kabelo Shale, Data Management Professional at HEINEKEN. “Collibra makes it easy to use, thereby realizing time savings, efficiencies and productivity."

Introducing Collibra allowed HEINEKEN to remove many existing data governance and management tools. Not only does that save money, it also reduces and simplifies IT support. 

“Collibra helps HEINEKEN improve operational efficiency through faster data analysis and removing business definition misunderstanding,” remarked de Geus. “In the past, we had multiple interpretations of the same definition. In Collibra, we have created a structure where every business term and standard is set up in the same way so there is only one interpretation. This means the business can analyze data quickly and consistently, and make faster, more accurate business decisions.”

Get started today

Tour our products
Try free

Tour our products

Test drive pre-configured use cases through an interactive guided tour for 14 days at no cost.

Start a free trial
Try free

Start a free trial

Install Collibra Data Quality & Observability in your own environment and try it with your own data for 20 days at no cost.

Request a demo
Try free

Request a demo

Speak one-on-one with a Collibra expert and get a personalized demo of Collibra Data Intelligence Platform.