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The Fun of Peeking Behind the Curtain at Some of the World's Best Known Brands

by Dave Hannon

April 20, 2012

By Dave Hannon


One of the things I enjoy about my job is I get to peek behind the scenes at some very interesting and often well-known companies. It's always interesting to learn how a product you might use every day was created or for the geeks among us, the role IT played in the product's development.

The last couple issues of insiderPROFILES have been especially full of these behind-the-scenes peeks and I thought I'd highlight a couple of them for you.

In the cover story for our January-March issue, we looked at how toymaker Hasbro is using IT to expand its business around the world. When a kid in Russia picks up his Mr. Potato Head to play with, it's in part thanks to the IT department and SAP technology. (In fact, for even more inside scoop, you can check out the video we put together from our visit to Hasbro).

I can't imagine anyone that hasn't used a product from Kraft Foods recently. Oreo cookies, Trident gum, Ritz crackers, A-1 sauce, the list goes on and on. As described in our latest cover story, Kraft is using SAP BusinessObjects technology to better understand its diverse and growing product lines and businesses and make sure it gets me my Oreos!

When we needed a photo for our story on McCormick & Co.'s efforts to reduce its database size, it wasn't hard. We opened our cupboard and there was a new bottle of McCormick seasoning waiting for its photo shoot. 

If you're my age or younger, LEGO blocks likely played a major role in your childhood. Our family had a set and then our neighbors, whose kids were older, gave us their set, doubling my collection. And they all snapped together without any problems. After writing this story on LEGO's use of SAP PLM, I understand why those blocks snapped together so easily and how Lego is bringing its great toys to an even broader universe of children. 

You've probably touched or used a Bayer product today already and may not have known it. Their plastics might be in your car or PC, their crop science products might have helped grow your lunch, and their healthcare products might have cured the headache that showed up after that 10 a.m. conference call. Well, Bayer has headaches of its own. For example, have you ever wondered how Bayer decides when to decommission its data? You can find out in this story. (I bet you saw that coming, right?)

If you've ever walked through a video game store with your kids, you know how much that industry relies on impulse buys. The kid sees the game and even though they didn't have that in mind going into the store, that's instantly the one they "have to have or I will just dddiiieeee!" But have you ever wondered how a company in that industry forecasts its demand? Well, you can find out in this story about graphics chipmaker NVIDIA. (Spoiler alert: It has to do with SAP BusinessObjects).

Of course, SAP technology is running behind many companies in many industries, and you haven't heard of many of them. But for me, these peeks behind the scenes of the household names tend to bring a bit more ... relevance?

Now if you'll excuse me it's time for lunch and writing this blog has made me extra hungry for some reason....

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