Elders signs five-year agreement with Microsoft to transform its customer experience, efficiency and sustainability
Elders has signed a five-year strategic partnership with Microsoft to support its technology modernisation and innovation plans to improve customer experience and profitability, enhance security and agility, and boost sustainability. Underpinning the new strategic agreement is Microsoft Dynamics 365, which Elders has chosen as the platform for its systems transformation.
“Australia is in a quantum change period for technology infrastructure,” said Mark Allison, CEO of Elders. “With innovations transforming the broader agriculture sector, we also need to ensure that our own systems provide us with a platform for future growth.”
Microsoft Dynamics 365 is an end-to-end software-as-a-service business platform that comprises of interconnected workloads and services designed to both transform and enable an organisation’s core customers, employees and business activities.
It combines all the workloads that an organisation needs to run its business, including finance, supply chain, sales, retail and customer service as well as using leading-edge Microsoft R&D investments such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to enhance core offerings and provide industry-leading solutions to common problems like AI-enhanced cash flow forecasting (Dynamics Finance Insights), and the optimisation and automation of order fulfilment (Dynamics Intelligent Order Management).
The implementation of Microsoft Dynamics 365 will position Elders to expand its market position using best-of-breed technology solutions. Dynamics 365 is built on Microsoft Azure, which offers a trusted platform and a broad ecosystem of services, and it is integrated with Microsoft 365’s productivity apps such as Microsoft Teams, Office and Outlook.
Elders will progressively implement Microsoft Dynamics 365 capabilities including finance, supply chain and commerce as part of the major systems revamp. The investment will lay the groundwork for the technology evolution of Elders as part of its third strategic Eight Point Plan.
“Technology is a high priority for Elders as we embark on the next phase of our Eight Point Plan,” Mr Allison added. “It represents a significant investment and will be a vital enabler of change across our organisation. The goal is to use technology to better serve our clients, support Australian farmers and our rural partners, to work smarter and easier, and to make sure Elders is ready to seize the opportunities of further change.
“Our move to the cloud, and partnership with Microsoft, which has a strong demonstrated sustainability commitment, will also help Elders achieve our goal of halving Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030.”
Through its broader five-year partnership with Microsoft, Elders aims to improve its agility and profitability, enhance its cybersecurity framework and move closer to achieving its sustainability goals. As part of the agreement, Elders will:
- replace its legacy SAP ERP with Dynamics 365
- deploy Microsoft 365 for 3,200 users and use its E3 and E5 cybersecurity capabilities
- leverage Microsoft Azure to improve the integration of new business acquisitions and support its sustainability goals
- expand access to Power BI to empower staff and enhance analytics capabilities
- deploy Dynamics 365 to support employees and enhance customer experiences
- benefit from Microsoft’s unified support across the portfolio.
Elders was advised by Publicis Sapient, the global business transformation company, which led customer experience design and technology strategy. The firm also leveraged its engineering and global agribusiness expertise to guide Elders’ choice of solution.
“The selection of Microsoft Dynamics 365 is the result of in-depth strategy development to ensure we took a customer lens to capturing requirements for our new systems,” said Viv Da Ros, Chief Information Officer at Elders. “Dynamics 365 was selected due to its ability to help us revolutionise our customer experience and embed analytics into core processes to help us make quicker, better-informed decisions through data.
“We were highly mindful of not recreating what we already have, but instead using this transformational opportunity to position Elders to take a holistic approach to future development opportunities.”
The implementation of Microsoft Dynamics 365 will be designed to improve Elders’ customer experience from first contact to service provision, billing and payments. Its flexibility will enable the group to use data to offer personalised products and services based on its customers’ unique needs. Microsoft Dynamics 365 will allow Elders to adopt flexible, open and scalable solutions, and rapidly integrate new acquisitions and products as required. Elders currently runs IBM’s AS/400 and SAP’s ERP platforms.
Steven Worrall, Managing Director, Microsoft ANZ, said “agriculture is one of the most important sectors of Australia’s economy, and for more than 180 years, Elders has played a key role supporting the nation’s farmers. Microsoft is proud to work with the company as it embarks on this major and impressive systems modernisation program.
“Migrating to the cloud will support Elders’ sustainability ambitions, accelerate its opportunity for innovation, streamline the integration of newly acquired businesses, and help the business to deliver new classes of intelligent and high-impact services for customers and partners.”