Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) is a dairy farmer-owned cooperative which provides a diverse range of products and services for the dairy industry.
Based at Newstead, in the Waikato, has branches across New Zealand regions, plus branches in Australia, the United Kingdom, and Ireland, and agencies in South America, the United States, Asia and South Africa. LIC employs over 700 permanent and 1,500 seasonal staff and has annual revenue in excess of $170 million per annum.
In 2011 LIC embarked on a massive technology and business transformation project and formed the “Heart Programme”, which became the vehicle for delivering its technology strategic plan.
LIC’s main business is providing products and services to over 10,000 dairy farmers across New Zealand, with a heavy reliance on IT systems to manage, process and support data. The current IT systems were unreliable, and showed poor processing capacity. This led to breaches in customer Service Level Agreements (SLAs), resulting in higher support costs and a negative impact on LIC’s customer needs. It was evident LIC’s production animal database and application server were major contributors to poor performance during peak seasonal load times.
Specifically the areas that required addressing included:
Several recommendations were made to LIC during the review process, including the migration of database servers to modern commodity hardware. This would bring many benefits including a supported, robust and scalable platform, lower cost of infrastructure provisioning, and greater capacity management.
The solution proposed by Datacom was to migrate the core infrastructure to modern commodity hardware and software.
As part of the migration, multiple applications running on these new systems had to be rigorously tested. These aging systems were core to LIC’s business, and several technical challenges and hurdles had to be overcome. In a single weekend all the data had to be extracted, transferred into the new database and updated, and all applications tested and validated.
This was a major initial step to transformation as part of the heart programme, and has underpinned the transformation strategy. With a stable and reliable system in place, Datacom can now continue to work with LIC to migrate its other systems to the newer technologies.
Several key technologies were delivered during this project including, IBM DB2 Database Platform, RedHat Linux Operating Systems, MicroFocus COBOL and VMware Virtualisation technologies.
Through complete ownership from concept to delivery, Datacom proved the promise, and along the way earned the trust and respect of the customer. This has ultimately elevated Datacom to the level of strategic partner rather than just preferred vendor.
This was a high-profile project delivered on time and within budget, and a good example of a successful multi-vendor implementation. This installment of the project led the way for future initiatives to follow the same project methodologies introduced by Datacom.
LIC now entrusts Datacom to help define its key strategic roadmap with regards to technology transformation.
“Our future state would look like data [turning] into information, into knowledge, to support decision making on farms anywhere, anytime."
Dave Scullin - Chief Information Officer, LIC
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