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Ballance delivers greater customer value through SAP
Thu, 22nd Sep 2022
FYI, this story is more than a year old

New Zealand-based 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 the Amazon Web Services (AWS). 

The migration was achieved in five months to avoid peak farming season and prevent delays to Ballance's customer-facing geospatial initiatives. 

It went live over a single weekend in March 2022, and has delivered greater business value to Ballance’s member farmers.

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.

Balance's decision to engage SAP and AWS and partner with SAP's Cloud Success Services to manage its cloud infrastructure's availability, performance and maintenance has reduced the demand on internal resources by 10%.

It has also shifted the co-operative’s focus from delivering operational support and maintenance to driving value through on-farm digital services for its customers. 

The co-operative looks to further leverage the platforms to enhance its overall customer experience and digital offerings in future.

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

“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. 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. The statistics speak for themselves. There has been a 10% reduction in FTE managing their core SAP environment, 20% reduction in SAP support and maintenance, 70% reduction in workload managing hardware and resource upgrades, and 99.9% availability of SAP production environment.”

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

Phil Cameron, Chief Operating Officer, SAP Australia and New Zealand, adds, “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 are 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”.

Representatives of AWS also shared similar sentiments. 

“We are seeing a rise in agricultural organisations making the move to the cloud to drive innovation and productivity as part of their digital transformation strategy. Customers like Ballance use AWS’s reliable and scalable cloud, coupled with proven SAP experience to deliver key insights, drive innovation, and support the creation of new products and services for farmers. We look forward to seeing more customers leverage AWS and SAP for their cloud journey and unlock more innovation and productivity opportunities across their business,” says Tiffany Bloomquist, Country Manager, Commercial Sector, AWS New Zealand.

Notably, the second phase of the program started in June this year. It focuses on enhancing Ballance's existing SAP customer experience solutions, which power its farmer platform, MyBallance. This customer-facing platform will eventually be moved to SAP Commerce Cloud, enabling Ballance to deliver more personalised geospatial experiences, products, and services to New Zealand farmers.