Dairy giant takes a digital leap to the cloud

Dairy giant takes a digital leap to the cloud

Supporting large-scale infrastructure installation

Having been in the dairy industry for more than 100 years, LIC understands the importance of agility, innovation and outstanding customer service. And with a team of 750 and more than 1,300 seasonal staff spread around the country, it also knows it needs to get things right. That’s why it chose Abletech to help take its business (and its staff and customers) to the cloud.

LIC (the Livestock Improvement Corporation) is a dairy-farmer-owned cooperative with a single purpose: to empower dairy farmers by delivering superior genetics and agri-technology. It does this via a comprehensive programme of research and development and new product development, and services such as artificial breeding, automation, herd management systems and consultancy. Headquartered in Hamilton, LIC also has offices in the UK, Ireland and Australia, and is listed on the NZX.

In 2016, a large-scale review of LIC’s existing technology systems revealed a need for change – and as result LIC launched a large-scale project to create a new, cloud-based digital ecosystem. The new system would streamline LIC’s back-end business systems, abolish manual processes and deliver a better, more responsive online experience for its customers.

LIC’s search for the right IT partner – who’d work in collaboration with the in-house developers – ended at Abletech’s door. As Mike Lamb, LIC’s Head of Digital, Farm Systems, says: “Abletech offered developers with a wide variety of skills, enabling a flexible, one-stop development shop. It also provided a vital support capability, ensuring that the impacts on our farmers were minimised.”

The project took more than 4 years to complete, and included the delivery of a wide range of cloud services. These included:

  • integrating LIC’s software with SAP software so that information on customers and their relationships could be accessed online through APIs and user interfaces
  • delivering a range of shared services to the cloud via AWS (the Amazon Web Services data centre in Auckland), including those for relationship, teams, profiles, suppliers, orders and inventory
  • configuring the infrastructure for the new service, for AWS
  • building all responsive user interfaces as rich/dynamic single-page applications
  • developing an end-to-end solution for the LIC online shop, which integrated suppliers and animal registry systems with SAP software to provide an effective online experience for 11,000 customers
  • developing an end-to-end solution for the LIC diagnostics laboratory, which integrated scheduling, ordering, sample receipting, lab equipment integration, and DNA analysis tools.

All this was undertaken in an environment where the Abletech team worked closely with the LIC in-house developers, the management team and staff to ensure continuity during the process and a smooth transition to the new setup.

“Having a vendor of Abletech’s calibre enabled us to resource internal teams appropriately and access difficult-to-find skill sets, and provide our in-house developers with guidance on industry best practice. It was a great experience, and the new system is working very well.”

The Abletech way

  • This was a large-scale digital transformation project. The problem domain was divided up. Solving one problem at a time, with a wider eye across the full domain.
  • Pulling in all legacy SAP data into the digital world was key to enabling online services
  • Abletech delivered the ECommerce store allowing farmers and farm managers to order products and services from LIC in an online world.
  • Abletech then delivered the Dignositics lab solution allowing the lab to schedule in DNA samples. These were processed through the lab to analyze workflows for the scientists.
  • Eventing and API’s were created and designed

Technologies used in the solution

  • Microservices
  • Terraform
  • AWS / ECS / RDS
  • Kafka
  • GraphQL
  • Elixir / Phoenix
  • React
  • Ruby on Rails

Other sources: https://www.lic.co.nz/

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