Ballance delivers customer value through SAP

Ballance, in partnership with SAP, set an ambitious target to move to SAP RISE and Commerce Cloud to leverage the latest technology and simplify the customer journeys through the SAP and MyBallance platforms. Getting the timing right was essential, Ballance wanted to offer new innovations and on farm geospatial services to farmers.

Auckland, New Zealand 20 September 2022 New Zealand farmer-owned co-operative Ballance Agri-Nutrients (Ballance) has successfully completed the first phase of a multi-year cloud program, migrating to SAP cloud solutions, SAP S/4HANA Cloud and SAP Business Technology Platform on Amazon Web Services (AWS), to deliver greater business value to its farmers.

The migration was achieved in just five months, to avoid running into peak farming season and prevent delays to Ballance’s customer facing geospatial initiatives, and went live over a single weekend in March 2022.

By moving to SAP S/4HANA Cloud private edition and SAP Business Technology Platform onto AWS in the first phase of its transformation, Ballance has established a stabilised core and solid foundation in the AWS cloud to drive and support future strategic deliveries, where it looks to further leverage the SAP and AWS platforms to enhance its overall customer experience and digital offerings.

Ballance decision to engage SAP and Amazon Web Services (AWS), and to partner with SAP’s Cloud Success Services to manage the availability, performance and maintenance of its cloud infrastructure has allowed Ballance to reduce demand on internal resources by 10 per cent, shifting its focus from delivering operational support and maintenance to driving value through on-farm digital services for its customers.

David Healy, Chief Digital Officer at Ballance, said, “We selected SAP and AWS as partners because of their deep knowledge and history of migrating existing SAP environments into the cloud and their focus and alignment to enabling Ballance’s future geospatial and on-farm application initiatives. They understood the urgency and importance of this phase and created a seamless and rapid transition for us.”

“We had initial concerns around performance, shifting from architecture hosted in New Zealand to the cloud hosted in Australia, however the performance is much more consistent and stable, and more importantly we now have the ability to scale when required during our seasonal peaks which is critical for us. Knowing that there is a team dedicated to looking after the environment, managing security, availability and maintenance has really allowed us to focus on delivering value to our customers.”

Ballance has been running SAP since 2009 and saw an opportunity to use the technology more effectively.

“The way I put it, is we had a Rolls Royce in the garage, but we were not servicing and maintaining it. Everything was just in time, and we were always lagging on updates and as a result other work and deliverables. The service and maintenance alone have been a huge improvement, especially for security, stability and time for us, the stats speak for themselves – 10 per cent reduction in FTE managing their core SAP environment, 20 per cent reduction in SAP support and maintenance, 70 per cent reduction in workload managing hardware and resource upgrades and 99.9 per cent availability of SAP production environment”. said David.

Key to the success of the project has been Ballance’s partnership with SAP from the executive level through to the project team, which created an open, transparent environment for problem solving. It became a joint project dedicated to ensuring a smooth transition. The deep product knowledge of the SAP team resulted in faster resolution of any technical issues.

Phil Cameron, Chief Operating Officer, SAP Australia and New Zealand, said, “Ballance Agri-Nutrients’ migration to SAP cloud solutions, achieved in just five months, is evidence of the value RISE with SAP is delivering to customers. By moving to the cloud, Ballance is able to spend more time and resource on driving greater value for its customers, rather than on keeping its systems running. We’re incredibly proud of our partnership and of how SAP technology is supporting Ballance to achieve its ambition of helping farmers work more productively, profitably, and sustainably”.

Scene set for Phase II

The second phase of the program started in June 22 and focusses on enhancing Ballance’s existing SAP Customer Experience Solutions, which power its farmer platform, MyBallance. The customer-facing platform will be moved to SAP Commerce Cloud, which will enable Ballance to deliver more personalised geospatial experiences, products, and services to New Zealand farmers.