New Zealand Post’s new ERP underpins major change cycle

Published on the 28/05/2015 | Written by Agilyx

NZ Post
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  • Distribution and banking


  • Centralised business process
  • Integrate their supply chain with their core financials


  • UNIT4 Business World delivered by implementation partner Agilyx.


  • Reduction in IT costs
  • Increase in productivity and related performance
  • More meaningful and timely reporting
  • Cloud infrastructure reduces support complexity


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The New Zealand Post Group, far from being a purely mail focused organisation, consists of a wide portfolio of businesses dedicated to providing comprehensive communication and business solutions. From its core mail business through to banking and digital solutions, New Zealand Post Group is a dynamic and evolving organisation.

Comprising of Kiwibank, Express Couriers Limited (ECL) and NZ Post along with a number of other subsidiaries the Group has made concerted efforts to diversify from supporting an ailing communication platform (postal mail) to concentrate on more relevant and productive portfolios including banking, package delivery and digital solutions.

Changing times
With serious changes underfoot in the traditional mailing business, NZ Post Group faced challenges in transforming its business model to a diversified services platform. In step with changing times, with fewer letters mailed each year, a thorough restructure of the Group’s supporting technology was obvious. With new business lines emergent from Kiwibank and ECL businesses, a renewed vibrancy and sense of purpose is evident across the entire Group. Responding to and anticipating local and global shifts in customer needs, New Zealand Post embarked on an ambitious transitional journey toward a modernised and more service focused business model with the customer at its heart.

Needing a game-change in thinking and ways of operating, New Zealand Post required a dynamic yet centralised financial management solution to simplify their business processes. It achieved this by replacing PeopleSoft, their ageing and highly customised legacy system, with UNIT4 Business World ERP. This single core application is now producing the elusive ‘single source of truth’ for all financial data across the entire Group.

Part of the refresh also comes from the Group’s need to become thriftier with their technology investments. The move to UNIT4 Business World not only consolidated their heavily customised legacy systems but in the process significantly reduced their cost of ownership whilst allowing the Group to undergo upgrades with significant ease and reduced cost.

Another notable prong of the solution was the improvement and integration of its growing courier business – ECL. The UNIT4 ERP solution included the first ever implementation of UNIT4 Wholesale outside of Europe. This module provides advanced logistics management capabilities and supports sophisticated pricing models for wholesale and retail sectors. UNIT4 Wholesale was implemented for ECL in an effort to integrate their supply chain with the core financials of the entire group, increasing the efficiency and financial transparency of their courier operations whilst increasing its reporting capability.

Three key measurables:

1. Cost
The New Zealand Post group have drastically reduced its cost of ownership through its decision to consolidate its ageing finance systems into a single unified core application. With legacy platforms retired following the UNIT4 solution’s go-live, the Group’s ongoing operating costs (licences, support and annual maintenance) reduced by more than NZ$1.5 million annually. In addition, the implementation was achieved at less cost than a legacy solution upgrade. Not only is this a clear and direct cost benefit, but will have a cumulative effect when it comes to upgrading the system – bankable future savings are assured. Significantly for the Group, leveraging UNIT4’s ‘milestone’ and ‘experience pack’ upgrade pathways – the usual upgrade headaches are a thing of the past.

2. Performance
Since implementing UNIT4 Business World the Group has experienced a significant increase in productivity and related performance. Whilst the man hours allocated to calculating and reporting on year-end profits has been reduced by a full 40 percent, using the new finance system the team was still able to consolidate year-end results within 5 working days instead of the previous ten. Leveraging the solutions user collaboration features will further spur productivity gains in the future.

3. Information
The amount, depth and breadth of the financial information now available to managers dwarfs the previous system, allowing clear and accurate oversight of the most vital mechanics of the organisation – its financial overview and forecast. Combining this increased capacity for meaningful reporting with a boost in timeliness and accuracy have revitalised the situation when it comes to the financial management of the organisation.

Three key take-aways from the project:

1. A cloud-first strategy
The Group was clear in mandating a cloud based deployment strategy. Investment in legacy infrastructure and the costs of maintaining a team to manage those resources was not part of the Group’s core mission – as such a cloud based ‘always-on’, ‘anywhere-anytime’ solution was paramount. UNIT4 Business World is delivered entirely natively in the cloud on a SaaS (Software as a Service) model leveraging a low cost secure cloud environment. This allows the Group to reduce its reliance on ownership of a technology stack, which allows the business to move forward in true change mode.

2. A unique partnership oriented business agreement
NZ Post was going through a period of rapid transformation when they approached Agilyx. It needed a transformation partner who would go on that change journey with them, acting as a single unified team. In order to support such a relationship, Agilyx worked closely with the Group to create a highly collaborative partnership agreement. Spurning what have traditionally been ‘adversarial’ roles in a project context, Agilyx worked to align the interests of customer and vendor, sharing the responsibility for the project outcomes and weighing ‘risk’ and ‘reward’ outcomes for the project delivery schedule. This approach ensured that the maximum energy, time and creativity was focused on generating solutions and delivering the business benefits, while optimising the project schedule and minimising commercial debate around decision points. As Group CFO Mark Yeoman commented at the time: “It’s been a real case study in terms of how successful we can be working with a vendor under that paradigm. It was mentioned to me that the teams on the ground worked so closely together that people outside the project couldn’t figure out who was a NZ Post team member and who was an Agilyx team member, it was just ‘the team’, which I think is a real testament to how the cultures of the two organisations came together and how well the team collaborated.”

3. Keep it vanilla
Having suffered from heavily customised legacy systems in the past, the Group strategy was clear in wanting to avoid customised solutions that were too expensive or too complex to upgrade and maintain. ‘Keep It vanilla’ became one of the guiding principles of the project and the bar for the choice of a ‘non-vanilla’ functionality was set very high. This will help ensure that the lifetime cost of ownership will be kept to a minimum.

Source: This article was originally sourced from Agilyx

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