20 August 2019

LIC chooses Umbrellar, ETP & Microsoft Azure to future-proof technology platform

With 183 servers, more than 120 terabytes of data from three different data centres, supporting 20 applications, including essential legacy software described as the crown jewels of the New Zealand dairy industry.


Technology on farmThe cost and complexity of managing such infrastructure made the move to a public cloud platform and modern service management an obvious next step for the farmer-owned co-operative, says chief executive Wayne McNee.

“The infrastructure is critical to our business. It supports our products, services and data that our customers rely on for the day to day running of their farming businesses. We also have staff that are increasingly leveraging platform services such as BI/analytics, AI and High-Performance Compute. What we had in place was working but we needed to modernise our back end systems to improve performance speeds and open up new opportunities for future development,” says McNee.

With that in mind, LIC turned to Microsoft and Emerging Technology Partners to conduct a Cloud Readiness Assessment and develop and deploy a future-state plan for LIC.

“We are really proud of the work we did with LIC,” says Neil Cresswell, CEO of ETP. “So many organisations in the throes of transformation are not only trying to keep up with the present, the really smart ones are looking to keep up with the future. And the work we did with LIC is a strong example of that. We started with a full analysis of LIC’s data estate and then evolved their applications so that their system was future-proofed. We designed a future state architecture, built a detailed 5-year total cost of ownership, including a fixed price cost of change, then delivered all of that to LIC and Umbrellar on time, on budget and as scoped.”

Throughout this transformation, LIC was supported by Umbrellar who deployed a Modern Cloud Services Management framework around LIC’s complex needs. According to Umbrellar’s Head of Cloud, Dave Howden, the plan was detailed and comprehensive.

“The target state for LIC was a full infrastructure rehost of their applications to Microsoft Azure. We crafted a Modern Cloud Services Management partnership that not only supported LIC through its transition to the Microsoft Cloud, but endures as their Cloud Managed Services delivery partner supporting them as they continue on their digital journey.”

For Microsoft it was an opportunity to work with one of New Zealand’s leading agritech companies, says Microsoft NZ’s Enterprise Director Vanessa Sorenson.

“We are very proud of the partnership with LIC, ETP and Umbrellar to bring agility to LIC’s business, enabling them to leverage the core Azure platform to help them move faster and open up new opportunities and markets. A fantastic New Zealand success story which we are so happy to play a small role in.”

The outcome is a robust platform designed with 24/7 uptime and the ability to grow and adapt as the needs of the co-operative evolve, says LIC’s Wayne McNee.

“Umbrellar, Microsoft and ETP made sure the transition ran as smoothly as possible. It’s to their credit that we’ve moved our entire infrastructure with minimal disruption and impact on our customers.”

More information: Leading The Farm Into The Future.