Foodstuffs North Island finds an extensible solution in Customer Identity Cloud
disparate systems unified with a single, Identity authentication solution
external suppliers granted secure access to internal online systems with delegated administration
“There are a lot of other products in the marketplace, but I felt that developer-friendliness and extensibility of Customer Identity Cloud would cause fewer headaches, which is how it’s worked out!”
Gavin Campbell, Solution Architect
When more than 1.4 million New Zealanders rely on you for food each week, you know you’re doing important work. Foodstuffs North Island takes its role as the country’s leading grocery provider seriously, supplying a network of over 300 individually-owned supermarkets alongside other businesses and individuals through its member-owned stores.
“It feels great to be part of an organisation that feeds New Zealand,” says Gavin Campbell, a solution architect with Foodstuffs. “Our retail network caters for all Kiwis while our wholesale division caters for business owners who need to buy in bulk.”
The internet has transformed the way Foodstuffs does business. The co-operative currently manages user accounts for thousands of employees and external suppliers, not to mention its growing base of online customers. With such a large user base of employees, store owners, partners, and suppliers that grows every day, authentication quickly takes on new importance.
“Online commerce and management of digital Identity go hand-in-hand,” says Campbell.
Outsourcing Identity Management to authenticate 3,500 Foodstuffs suppliers
The co-operative nature of Foodstuffs means that each of the stores in the company family is individually owned. The business as a whole is operating in excess of 250 different systems, all of which need to be protected. Lacking a single, overarching authentication solution, the company’s administrative footprint continued to grow, increasing the cost and effort associated with any project. Campbell wanted to bring the entire Foodstuffs brand under a single umbrella for authentication.
“We have around 3,500 external supplier companies who all need access to our online systems. For suppliers we use Delegated Administration, to delegate the management of users out to the supplier, removing a considerable admin burden from our internal workforce,” he says. “We also have over 22,000 people in stores, support centres, and supply chains, all of whose credentials would need to be managed separately for each of the systems they need to access. Centralisation of authentication has made us more operationally efficient and provided a level of transparency that makes us more secure. We know who has access to what. It’s driven the cost out of project delivery and allowed us to deliver sooner."
Flexibility is critical for a business like Foodstuffs. With thousands of external partners, each with individual needs, it’s important to be able to customise access privileges and user management capabilities. The flexibility of Customer Identity Cloud services allowed Foodstuffs to customise these functions easily.
“Coming from a development background, I prefer open solutions that present fewer barriers to innovation,” says Campbell. “There are a lot of other products in the marketplace, but I felt that developer-friendliness and extensibility of Customer Identity Cloud would cause fewer headaches, which is how it’s worked out!”
Foodstuffs sees benefits after first customer Identity project
Allowing an experienced Identity services provider like Okta to handle authentication allows Foodstuffs to reallocate resources that would otherwise be spent on maintaining an in-house service. And with every new project deployed by Foodstuffs, the value of its Identity investment grows.
“Our first major integration was an application called Supplier Promo Portal. To build the security ourselves, that came out of the box with Customer Identity Cloud, would have cost more than a whole year of an enterprise licence, not to mention the additional infrastructure that we no longer had to provide. So, we really did start saving money on the first project,” says Campbell. “Since then we have onboarded half a dozen other applications in the same financial year. I think it’s paid for itself within one or two projects going live.”
In addition to providing Foodstuffs with a strong ROI, Campbell says Customer Identity Cloud has lived up to its reputation for both security and reliability.
“We have chosen the best solution. We operate complex business scenarios and need an extensible solution that can provide Single Sign On for everyone,” says Campbell. “Now that Customer Identity Cloud is our standard, we follow a single process to onboard systems quickly, using standard industry patterns.”
Foodstuffs North Island is a true Kiwi success story, having grown from humble beginnings to become one of New Zealand's largest and most thriving businesses. The company believes that their people, knowledge, and passion for business and customers sets them apart. As an organisation they have exceptionally high standards, and see themselves as an integral member of every one of their communities.