Working with partners Datacom and AWS, NZ Post is a third of the way through its cloud migration with around half its apps moved.
Taking the simplest apps first, the company aimed to make itself more scalable, agile and secure as well as to pursue technology simplification, it said in its 2022 annual report.
"It’s vital we move away from legacy systems and onto new cloud-based platforms that will give us the ability to connect better internally and with our customers," NZ Post reported.
"Better systems will also give us more flexibility in coping with the – sometimes unpredictable – peaks and troughs of parcel delivery."
By tapping into the expertise of partners AWS and Datacom, NZ Post said it had been able to start migrating the business out of Datacom's datacentres and onto a new cloud-based platform.
NZ Post was using Datacom Cloud Services for Government (DCSG) as its platform of choice when the project kicked off in 2019. The partners first undertook an analysis to come up with a plan that would take NZ Post's operations into the future.
“It was the start of NZ Post’s modernisation journey,” said Adam Barnes, GM cloud platforms at Datacom.
“The goal was to move them from DCSG and into the public cloud, and also to save them some money so they could reinvest that in even more modernisation.”
NZ Post and Datacom mapped out four key service areas: public cloud, private cloud, Oracle-based middle layer, and legacy applications. Altogether, these included around 200 applications across the business.
A goal was set to move as many apps as possible to the AWS cloud, starting with a ‘lift and shift’ of the simpler applications. This provided cost savings and productivity improvements and was completed in six months.
“We were able to help them decommission some apps and consolidate others," Barnes said. "These were the quick wins, where we prioritised high-value changes and got them nailed.
"By migrating to AWS, they were able to reduce some annual costs, but we expect further savings and benefits when business critical applications are modernised in future phases.”
NZ Post also gained valuable insights into its existing applications.
“We enriched the understanding of our application landscape – of how all the applications interact and their dependencies, and that has all been documented in Confluence so it can be referred to when we need it,” said NZ Post GM data and analytics Alberto Martin.
Attention then turned to the more complex applications that spanned chunks of the business and its processes.
Another benefit of the shift was it boosted data security.
“Security is obviously an important priority for NZ Post, because we provide such a critical service for so many businesses and people, and we’re trusted with their information. At the outset of this migration project, we took our time to make sure we had the right network configuration, the right environment and security baseline in place,” Martin said.
It appears all data centre and other network lines across the country were also shifted from Vodafone to Datacom as part of the changes.
NZ Post is also developing what it described as an innovative new system to manage the postal network.
"The technology we’re developing monitors and controls all facets of the end-to-end supply chain in real time, forecasts and predicts future scenarios, and puts resourcing or mitigation measures in place to keep service levels at their optimum," NZ Post reported.
Even though the cloud migration project began right before the pandemic, the teams shifted to remote working and were able to keep delivering throughout the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Earlier this year, NZ Post hired its first digital employee, a chatbot, working with Ambit and AWS.