Global kiwifruit company Zespri signs five-year private cloud deal with SAP

The 'multi-million dollar' contract will see Zespri become one of the first globally to adopt SAP S/4 HANA private cloud.

Global kiwifruit company Zespri signs five-year private cloud deal with SAP

New Zealand-based kiwifruit company Zespri International has signed a five-year deal with SAP to overhaul its global digital platform. 

Under the deal, Zespri will adopt SAP S/4 HANA private cloud; several SAP Digital Supply Chain applications including Global Trade Services, Integrated Business Planning, and Logistics Business Network; and deploy SAP Analytics Cloud and Cloud Platform.

Speaking to ZDNet, Zespri chief digital officer Dave Scullin said the shift will see the company move away from what he described as a "20-year-old, heavily customised SAP ECC environment".

"The SAP platform that is there now supports finance and our supply chain only. That all sits on the public cloud on [Microsoft] Azure on the west coast of the US," he said.

"Some of key challenges with that environment is that because of heavy customisation, it's impossible for us to upgrade, and therefore we're not able to leverage the new capabilities that are available in SAP S4/HANA, or indeed any large-scale ERP.

"We're constrained from a productivity perspective … and it's not allowing us to standardise and simplify our processes. It's also not allowing us to innovative in some of the areas you would adopt standardise and simplified processes like consumer demand gathering and engagement.

"We're owned by growers and so engaging with those growers will help them with productivity on their orchards, ensuring that we have data flow to support sustainability and good orchard practices … all the things we have tabled and have ambitions for that we can't do with our current platform."

He added the overhaul will mean the company will have access to end-to-end supply chain data, which currently is "very siloed". 

"It's about integrating the innovative aspect into the digital core and business processes, so they operate efficiently as one," Scullin said.

Zespri will continue, however, to use Azure for its enterprise infrastructure.

While the contract value has not been disclosed, Scullin said it is a "multi-million dollar investment" that is in line with the investment the company makes in its legacy application to keep them running. "We're just repurposing that spend to more value-added applications," he said.

The technology overhaul forms part of Zespri's five-year Horizon transformation program that aims to see operations digitised, be more environmentally sustainable, and engagement with consumers lifted.

"We're refreshing our business strategy. We know, like most organisations, to operate at a global scale that we do, enabling technology is critical to that future business strategy. We're also quite frankly not providing our people with the right tools to be productive and efficient, and to focus on value-added tasks," Scullin said.

The implementation will be divided into several phases. The first tranche, which has already begun, involves building the SAP S/4 HANA digital core, and is focused on finance and supply chain processes. It is due to go live globally on November 1. This will be followed by integrating business planning, sales enablement, supply chain capabilities such as global track and trace, and blockchain traceability.