Campbell's IT team's secret mission to sell more soup

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Not only are people taking fewer trips to the grocery store these days, but they also buy less than they used to. Campbell Soup Company knows that customers slipping away would be mm, mm, not good. Campbell also knows that coaxing people to buy more soup will take more innovation than the 90-year-old company has shown in a long time.

Sales at Campbell were $7.7 billion last year, essentially the same as in 2010. The simple meals segment--soups, mainly--dropped 6% for the year. CEO Denise Morrison has launched several new product and manufacturing strategies as part of a big push for innovation. "This was not a simple course correction," Morrison told financial analysts in May.

Campbell's IT group strives to support the same sales and profitability goal by working with the R&D, supply chain, legal and procurement groups, says Rob Austermehle, vice president of enterprise systems. "We really want to do rapid innovation. That's where IT can help." So IT is assessing new systems that would allow Campbell to capture product and process ideas from employees and customers, and to collaborate with outside research groups next year.

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