Scalability and agility are often key considerations for enterprises when it comes to digital transformation, as the opportunity to craft a new data strategy provides a chance to fix operational redundancies and outdated systems.
For Zespri, a global kiwifruit marketer based in New Zealand, selling in over 50 countries is no easy feat. Manual data processes simply won’t cut it in the digital era.
To stay competitive, the company decided to embark on a comprehensive modernisation of its systems and processes, dubbed the “Horizon Programme.” The primary goals of the programme were as follows:
- Upgrade legacy systems to a trusted, user-friendly data management platform.
- Establish a solid core of accurate data.
- Safeguard the core of Zespri’s new data management system through strong and ongoing data governance.
To accomplish these goals, Zespri sought a specialist software solution that offered data visibility, quality, and governance at its core, noted Brett Hartman, Head of Data, Analytics & Enablement, Zespri International Limited.
“We determined this by first assessing the challenges we were facing and going through a design process to understand what our ideal data management platform and process would look like,” he said.
Ripe for the picking
Prior to its data overhaul, Zespri relied on Excel spreadsheets, with employees manually inputting and processing data. This approach proved to be time-consuming and inefficient, especially considering the significant volume of data generated by the company’s overseas operations.
“There was low trust and confidence in our company data. Our teams often had to manually redo calculations and cross-check results to ensure data accuracy. As a result, our previous data management system introduced uncertainty into the data we retrieved or processed. This ultimately held back decision-making within our business,” recalled Zespri’s Brett Hartman.
Moreover, the finance and supply chain processes at Zespri faced increasing strain due to its reliance on outdated legacy systems and manual procedures.
“Our teams often had to manually validate supplier data and onboard new suppliers into our systems,” he continued.
To support its Horizon Programme, Zespri sought the assistance of Syniti, an enterprise data management platform.
According to Gary Chua, Managing Director, Asia Pacific & Japan, Syniti, the implementation of their data management solution at Zespri had multiple steps involved. This was carried out to establish robust data governance and uphold data quality at the core of Zespri’s business.
“The process began with the implementation of Syniti Data Replication to facilitate the migration of data between ECC and SAP S/4 HANA. This entails two steps: First, a data reconciliation process to ensure that the target data matches the original source data; and second, a data scaffolding process to identify any missing data between the two systems,” he explained.
As per Zespri’s Hartman, Syniti’s “strong” integration with SAP S/4 HANA was among the reasons Zespri decided to use the data management platform.
“Syniti has vast data expertise and a range of solutions that would provide us with exactly what we need. In particular, we knew that they would understand our pain points from a business perspective, and how we can better harness our data to drive improved business outcomes. This was crucial to us as we wanted to improve the maturity and quality of our data and processes to propel improved decision-making within the business,” Hartman explained.
To ensure that there were no gaps in the migration process, Syniti also developed a solution based on the implementation of its Syniti Knowledge Platform, to support the data scaffolding process.
“This solution aimed to spot gaps early on – from mismatches in data, and so on, which was crucial to ensuring quality data was preserved,” Chua added.
Finally, Syniti provided Zespri with a framework for “better” data governance by leveraging the built-in quality rules of Syniti Knowledge Platform’s. This is said to have eliminated the need for manual data validation and verification.
“Zespri’s teams are able to access quality data in one platform, in a timely, intuitive, and business-friendly manner. The platform itself is designed with the business user in mind, minimising technical challenges for Zespri’s non-technical teams,” asserted the Syniti executive.
Zespri’s Horizon Programme modernisation push centered on the company’s finance and supply chain business units, with the goal of transforming the management of their master data in two key business areas:
- Material Master: This is the building block of Zespri’s entire value chain, which includes data such as fruit varieties, size, market, characteristics, and packaging. This is said to have impacted every aspect of Zespri’s operations, including shipping and sales.
- Business Partner Supplier: This is the data Zespri needs in looking after its vendors and suppliers. It supports the company’s entire “procure-to-pay” process.
“The Syniti Knowledge Platform played a crucial role in our Master Data Management efforts. With its built-in data quality rules, the platform helped us to establish robust and user-friendly data governance for our Material Master and Business Partner Supplier data, and it will continue to support us as we expand to other Master Data Objects,” Zespri’s Brett Hartman said.
In addition, Zespri anticipates that the reporting and dashboarding capabilities of the Syniti Knowledge Platform will facilitate the validation process by providing improved visibility into data quality.
“We are now able to collaborate more effectively with our data owners and champions across the organisation to drive continuous improvements. Our finance and supply chain teams are also starting to see benefits from a workflow perspective. By automating our Business Partner Supplier and Material Master, most processes are completed upfront, reducing manual effort and inaccuracies,” Hartman added.
Looking ahead, Syniti intends to continuously update its platform in response to emerging trends and technologies, so that it can address the data challenges faced by companies like Zespri.
Syniti’s Gary Chua shared that they recently updated the Syniti Knowledge Platform. The changes are said to offer customers with improved control of their data. He also added that Syniti’s AI-powered data matching software, called Syniti Match, supports both party and operational data.
Meanwhile, Zespri is planning to automate a number of other Master Data areas, such as Business Partner Customer, using the Syniti Knowledge Platform.
“There is definitely more work to do to enhance our data quality maturity,” Zespri’s Brett Hartman concluded.