A New Zealand business produces insurance for business continuity by moving its data to the cloud

A kiwi's journey

A little help from the cloud helps a kiwifruit live its dream

It's 4 AM in New Zealand.

Birds begin their faithful songs, as orchards all across the country begin to wake up.

In one particular orchard, a nice, plump kiwi sits on the vine, wondering to himself if this will be the big day. The one he's finally picked by hand with love, and shipped off to a grocery store. He just knows he has an appointment with destiny.

Soon, the orchard is bustling with activity. His particular farm is a producer for Zespri, one of the world’s most successful horticultural companies-producing 30% of all kiwifruit.

Zespri has a fruitful year

a kiwis journey  

There were no shortage of things that could go wrong in our little friend's journey to the table. Chief among them was natural disaster. Just a few years ago, a deadly virus wiped out half the harvest. He trembled. If that happened, he'd never make it out of the orchard alive! He'd be discarded like another bit of compost.

But that wasn't even the worst that could happen, the increasingly nervous kiwifruit fretted to himself. What about a terrible tsunami or an earthquake? In the past five years, his region of New Zealand had been struck by both. He imagined being forgotten, left to rot on the vine, because a natural disaster had knocked the computers down. It was more than any poor fruit should have to think about.

In fact, all of these natural disasters had actually shaken the global kiwi market recently. Which caused Zespri, the company raising these kiwifruit, to reassess their business.

"Business continuity is the baseline for being in business," says Lain Jager, chief executive of Zespri. Fortunately, they found the right partner, Datacom, to keep running.

They insulated the organization from disasters like the ones facing our kiwifruit friend with a combination of SAP and Microsoft Azure cloud infrastructure. Instead of basing their computer systems locally like in the past, Datacom spread them out worldwide using the cloud. Now Zespri’s operations can never be knocked out if disaster strikes their main operations in New Zealand.

"Zespri employees can continue working, no matter what happens in the environment around them. Which gives the company much greater resilience to withstand the unknown.”

- Andrew Goodin, Global IT Manager, Zespri

Off the vine and out of the farm, our kiwi begins his journey.

The kiwi's hunch about this being the big day was right. Within moments, he was picked off the vine and whisked away in a basket. He was so excited, he could hardly stand it.

Down he tumbled into a bin and was soon in a truck rolling to Zespri's warehouse. After a brief stay, he was cocooned into a cardboard box, and onto another truck.

As he reached the shipyard in the Bay of Plenty, our kiwi friend started worrying how long he'd be there. He'd heard stories through the kiwi-vine of fruit rotting on docks. But again, he had nothing to fear.

The company's new system lets them track fruit better than ever. By spreading out their data centers in the cloud, Zespri could now move produce to different locations based on risk and requirement. This agility was getting fruit shipped on time, not only saving kiwis like our friend from a moldy, rotten fate, but also saving the company $1 million per year.

Within a few hours he was on a ship and on his way across the Pacific Ocean.

Getting picked a second time.

"Pick me! Pick me!" the kiwifruit shouted silently as he sat in a grocery store bin. It had been quite a trip for our kiwi friend. He was now thousands of miles from New Zealand. But thanks to some smart computer systems, he was still as delicious as ever. And before he knew it, this fresh, Zespri kiwi was being picked yet again.

Partner Spotlight


Founded in New Zealand 50 years ago, Datacom has since grown into one of the largest Australasian IT services companies with nearly 4,000 staff across NZ, Australia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

View partner profile


Watch how Zespri International, the most successful marketer of kiwifruit on the planet, moved its business-critical SAP systems to Microsoft Azure after its business operations were disrupted by an earthquake and plant virus. Learn more about how you can run your SAP solutions on Microsoft Azure.

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