Driving Operational Intelligence In The Dairy Industry

 |   Microsoft NZ News Centre

Founded in 2001, Fonterra is the world’s second largest dairy processor, responsible for approximately 30% of global dairy exports. Owned by over 10,000 New Zealand farmers, the co-operative operates in over 100 countries and processes approximately 22 billion litres of milk each year.

Making Better Use Of Data

In 2018, Fonterra made a decision to fast-forward their digital transformation. The legacy data capture and analysis tool they were using, dubbed the ‘Historian’, wasn’t delivering the value they needed. Although many in the organisation were familiar with the system, it wasn’t widely adopted across all operations. It also failed to collect key data; the interface wasn’t user friendly; and its search functionality was limited. It was time for an update.

After a lengthy review, Microsoft was chosen to upgrade their old system with a new, cutting-edge cloud-based platform. Renamed the ‘New Historian’, the updated system promises to deliver on their goal of becoming a data driven organisation by giving their operators, leaders, data scientists and business intelligence teams the power to use data more intelligently.

The goal in implementing the New Historian system was two-fold. The first was to make the process data from their vast operations more accessible and useful for the business. Data is easier to collect, analyse and use. It is also easier for stakeholders to get the information they need, when they need it, so informed decisions can be made more quickly.

The second was to add value through new ways of gathering information. Going beyond the traditional automated systems of data capture, Fonterra will soon be able to get real-time updates from across their entire IoT ecosystem. Comprehensive data can now be more easily acquired from the different business units providing a holistic overview of all operations. Management can now quickly get insight into what is working—and where they need to make changes.

A Future-Proof Platform

One of the primary goals of Fonterra’s management was to ensure the solution was future-proof and open for integration. They needed to create a system where data was trusted, readily accessible, quickly scalable and easily maintained. But most important of all, a successful implementation would depend on a fantastic user experience.

The Microsoft Azure platform checked all the boxes. With single sign-on, multifactor authentication and the flexibility to choose which solutions suited each operation, it easily integrated into their existing system.

And best of all, the updated application featured a world-class web-based interface, making it easy to on-board new end-users. Implementation was also cutting-edge. Coached by Microsoft using the Agile approach, the roll-out of the New Historian relies on incremental, iterative work sequences.

This software launch method focuses more on individuals and interactions rather than processes and tools, encourages teams to provide immediate feedback, and gives managers the opportunity to assess the project in real time.

The New Historian platform gives Fonterra broad access and visibility into a wealth of operational data. When the application is completely implemented it will also deliver the analytical tools needed to make sense of the data they are collecting. And because they are integrated into the Microsoft ecosystem, data connectivity between different operations and geographies is seamless.

A Partner With A Shared Vision

When Fonterra was considering which technology company to partner with, Microsoft was a natural fit. Going beyond simple standard engagement, Microsoft was able to help Fonterra build on its aspiration of becoming a datadriven business.

Not only is their new data management system a state-of-the-art step on their path to digital transformation, it is also delivering value across their entire business portfolio. From the immediate benefit of improving current operations, to expanding data capture and analysis capabilities, Microsoft is giving the New Historian a new lease on life.

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