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SAP and Amazon Web Services Enable Ballance’s Cloud Migration

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In order to better manage the availability, performance, and maintenance of its cloud infrastructure, Ballance Agri-Nutrients Limited — a leading provider of agricultural nutrient products and services in New Zealand — has teamed up with German enterprise software giant SAP and Amazon Web Services (AWS). 

Ballance Agri-Nutrients Limited’s initial focus was on the production, distribution, and sale of fertilizers. But as the sector has developed, the company has taken advantage of new developments in agricultural science and technology to pioneer groundbreaking innovations in soil and feed development. Ballance Agri-Nutrients Limited’s mission is to help businesses achieve their goals on and off the farm by providing them with the nutrients they need in a way that has the least possible impact on the environment.

Moreover, the company participated at the Mastering SAP OnAir conference in 2020 and discussed its successful adoption of SAP S/4HANA. Anita Grenside, who was then the Applications Manager at Ballance Agri-Nutrients Limited, explained how the company’s S/4HANA upgrade enabled it to create a solution that provided visibility across the organization, improved communication efficiencies, and enhanced capabilities on planning, as well as booking appointments with carriers and clients. Since 2009, Ballance Agri-Nutrients Limited has been using SAP, and the company has identified a way to make more efficient use of the system.

In order to provide more value to its farmer customers, Ballance Agri-Nutrients Limited has completed the initial stage of a multi-year cloud effort that involved moving to SAP cloud solutions, specifically SAP S/4HANA Cloud and SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP) on AWS. According to a press release, the transition was completed in under five months and went online in a single weekend in March 2022 to avoid delaying the company’s customer-facing geospatial activities and to avoid the busiest farming period of the year.

Phil Cameron, Chief Operating Officer at SAP Australia and New Zealand (SAP ANZ), mentioned that the success of Ballance Agri-Nutrients Limited’s migration to SAP cloud solutions in under five months is proof of the value RISE with SAP is providing to its client base. Moving to the cloud, he added, would allow Ballance Agri-Nutrients Limited to spend more resources in delivering value to its customers, instead of focusing on operating and managing its systems.

“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,” Cameron further commented.

Moving to the Cloud with SAP and Amazon Web Services

By utilizing solutions provided by SAP and AWS, as well as partnering with SAP’s Cloud Success Services organization to oversee the availability, performance, and upkeep of its cloud platform, Ballance Agri-Nutrients Limited was able to lower the strain on its internal resources by 10%. This has also allowed the company to redirect its attention from providing operational maintenance and support to generating value for its customer base through on-farm digital services.

Explaining why the company picked SAP and AWS as its digital transformation partners, David Healy, Chief Digital Officer at Ballance Agri-Nutrients Limited, stated that the two tech providers have the experience and expertise in cloud migrations for existing SAP systems. He added that SAP and AWS also have the focus and alignment on facilitating Ballance Agri-Nutrient Limited’s future geospatial and on-farm application projects. Healy went on to say that SAP and Amazon Web Services had realized the critical nature of the initial stage and had made the necessary preparations to ensure a swift and seamless transition for the business.

“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,” he added.

Moreover, the cooperation between Ballance Agri-Nutrients Limited and SAP, from the executive level down to the project team, has been crucial to the project’s success because it has fostered an open, transparent environment in which problems can be discussed and solved. Making the transition go off without a hitch turned into a collaborative effort. The SAP team’s in-depth product knowledge also allowed the company to quickly address and fix any technical issues that emerged.

“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,” Healy further shared.

For its farmer platform, MyBallance, Ballance Agri-Nutrients Limited now leverages SAP Customer Experience (SAP CX) offerings, and the second stage of the project kicked off on June 22 with an emphasis on improving those solutions. The company  intends to provide NZ farmers with enhanced, customized geospatial experiences, tools, and services after migrating their customer-facing platform to SAP Commerce Cloud.

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