What’s The Deal With Dashboards? — A Seinfeldian Look At Farm Management Information Systems

First off, if you read that title in the voice of Jerry Seinfeld, I have your attention, and you also share my sense of humor. If you’ve asked yourself that question before I can only assume you’ve spent a great deal of time working with, being a part of, reviewing, selling, or being sold Farm Management Information Systems (FMIS) software. And you might feel that recently, the sure number of choices out there has ballooned to an amount that seems a little crazy.

whats the dealSo let’s talk about the raw amount of FMIS software out there and the magical dashboards they all seem to have. There is something for everyone it seems, and I’m not going to lie — I’m getting a little overwhelmed. It is hard to keep track of all the groups these days, and I can’t imagine how it feels for the service providers reading this. I bet you feel like George Costanza, who hides under his desk every day just to get away.

You see, I actually work for one of these FMIS groups, and we have our own niche just the like the rest. Now there are a few systems that seem to do the exact same thing, but for the most part everyone has their different take on things or are specified for a different region or segment of the ag industry. This is great, but it’s going to have to be more elaborate than another dashboard with the same tools and features. So how does someone get to the next step and decide which group(s) to choose then?

I don’t know if I have the answer but I’d imagine if it was up to Kramer he’d bust through your door and yell “It’s gotta have a map!” A map may sound obvious but there is a difference in the way a map is presented. I can tell you from experience it can be very hard to build an interactive and great map interface for a software. Search for the group that really does a great job of that. This can mean many things depending on what you want, but looking at a field is the basis for this industry, so they better be able to show it and interact with it.

What’s next? Probably web-based or cloud something or other. Today, it’s pretty common for that to be there, but simply saying it’s true doesn’t make it true. You’ll hear a few say “We connect to the cloud….yada….yada….yada….and you’ll have everything at your finger tips.” Now, maybe that’s ok for someone like Elaine Benes, but don’t only look at the amount of connections. Focus instead on the quality of the connections and what those connections actually mean.

For some, it’s just grabbing data from a source. Sounds great, but many don’t do it well. For others, its integrating someone else’s interface or tools into the other. The latter is much more complicated, but it does showcase commitment and that both groups believe they’ll be around for a while. These connections may not be a necessity to achieve your goals, but it does show that the FMIS is building towards the future.

Of course, that segueways perfectly into my next recommendation. Make sure this FMIS is going to be around for a while and/or has proven its worth over time, otherwise it might be NO SOUP FOR YOU! In other words, do the research. With the different start-ups in ag currently, it can be hard to determine who is who, but ask around, do some digging, talk to the owners/founders, and ask why they are around. Find out their passion and their goals and where they see this industry going. If they can’t tell you these things or show that they will be around for the long haul, then I think that answers the question.

Finally, make sure the system delivers. Don’t work with the Newmans of the world. I’ve seen so many companies promise this and promise that and not actually provide what they say they can. This isn’t a new thing by any means, but it is so critical since it will affect the end user — aka “the farmer” — the most. Getting burned has happened to everyone, but if you do your research you’ll be fine. Just make sure that the BS meter is working properly and really think about the reality of their claims.

There are a plethora of other items that could be addressed, but I think these are the main basics you have to look at concerning Farm Management Information Systems. Don’t get allured by “dashboard talk” which can be smoke and mirrors. Do your research and build a relationship with the FMIS groups that want to build a relationship with you, because in the end they will go the extra mile in return as well. I cannot stress that last sentence enough.

It seems tough times in ag will be “a thing” for a while, and with this eventually precision ag will go through its Renaissance. This industry will separate the wheat from the chaff, just like the rest of the ag industry. To me this showcases opportunity for service providers, because the ones who remain will be the FMIS groups that really show value and work hard to help you and the grower. Make sure you look for that, regardless of their footprint, size, or money they’ve raised (or not raised). Start with these points above and you’ll most likely have great luck going forward. Happy Festivus!

Leave a Reply

One comment on “What’s The Deal With Dashboards? — A Seinfeldian Look At Farm Management Information Systems

  1. InfoAg 2016 was eye opening for me. There were about 15 companies that had field maps, decision making promises, and drones at their booths. All with the promise of “gain $XX on your bottom line with only a $XX spend per acre!” Proudly touting this fine logic as if it’s the first time farmers have heard it. Either they are new to the game or have forgotten all the snake oil salesmen who have touted these same visions of the promised land through crop treatments the past 20 years. We polled these 15 companies to see who was profitable. The answer? Two of them said yes. The interesting question? Which of those two was telling the truth.

Decision Support Software Stories
John-Deere-Cab-GPS
Data ManagementPrecision Ag Hardware and Software: A Little Off-Season Maintenance Goes A Long Way
January 10, 2018
All service technicians have heard this line. Most often when spring makes its anticipated return to our lives. It is Read More
forbes-agtech-summit
Data ManagementAgFunder.com Ranks 2017’s Largest Ag Tech Funding Rounds
December 28, 2017
It was an exciting year in farm technology involving a few high profile venture capital exits and some of the Read More
Field
Decision Support SoftwareCeres Imaging Details New Pest, Disease Detection Product for Midwest
December 12, 2017
Ceres Imaging, which provides science-backed aerial images to growers, will offer Midwestern corn and soybean farmers an early warning system Read More
Data ManagementWinField United Details Upgraded ‘Insights’ Capabilities
November 21, 2017
WinField United has made several strategic investments to strengthen its total agronomy solution for retail and farmer customers, according to Read More
Trending Articles
Anez-Consulting-Paul-Anez-and-Michael-Dunn
Service ProvidersAnez Consulting: Focus On Fertility
January 9, 2018
Central Minnesota features variability aplenty when it comes to soil characteristics and topography, from flat, black expanses rich in organic Read More
Agrishow2017
Americas5 Best Ag Tech Shows in Brazil
January 8, 2018
Brazil continues to demonstrate its potential in agriculture. Several international companies are investing in our country because we have a Read More
Farmer and computer
Service ProvidersPrecision Agriculture Writers Wanted To Join Our Team in 2018
December 10, 2017
About The Opportunity: PrecisionAg.com is looking for people to join our team in 2018 and submit original content to our Read More
Harvested-Corn-Field-Clouds
Data ManagementWeather Services Advance Precision Agriculture
December 4, 2017
Some estimates suggest over half of growers’ activities are impacted by weather conditions, from field workability to fertility management to harvest Read More
Wheat-an-oats-Daniel-X-ONeil
Data ManagementWill Open-Source Finally Unlock Ag Technology’s Potential?
November 28, 2017
To Aaron Ault’s eyes, ag technology right now is something like a walled garden — not unlike the Microsoft of Read More
Africa/Middle EastPERSPECTIVE: Is Bayer’s Highly Anticipated xarvio App the Next Uber for Ag?
November 22, 2017
As many of our CropLife IRON readers might know, every summer at MAGIE we award the most popular product featured Read More
Latest News
center-pivot-irrigation-drop-sprinklers-on-corn
Precision IrrigationFinding Your Precision Ag Mindset
January 15, 2018
A precision mindset is the most important requirement for successful precision ag technology adoption. One of my first VRI (variable Read More
Drone-and-operator-Photo-courtesy-of-Kray-Technologies
DronesCrop Protection Application by Drone: A Q&A with Kr…
January 15, 2018
January is a busy month for agricultural companies. It’s a month that strong sales can set the mood for the Read More
Data ManagementAgGateway Grain Traceability Proof-of-Concept Seeks Ind…
January 15, 2018
AgGateway’s Precision Agriculture and Grain & Feed councils have issued a call for participation for a proof-of-concept initiative in AgGateway’s Read More
Corn-Planter
Grower Services & SolutionsCorn Planter: The Train of Consequences
January 11, 2018
It’s always planter season in our shop but now that harvest is done the corn planter is the next piece Read More
Robotics/Labor SaversSmart Ag Announces Driverless Tractor Automation Platfo…
January 11, 2018
An Iowa technology company has unlocked the tremendous potential for automation in agriculture by developing the first cloud-based platform for Read More
John-Deere-Cab-GPS
Data ManagementPrecision Ag Hardware and Software: A Little Off-Season…
January 10, 2018
All service technicians have heard this line. Most often when spring makes its anticipated return to our lives. It is Read More
Anez-Consulting-Paul-Anez-and-Michael-Dunn
Service ProvidersAnez Consulting: Focus On Fertility
January 9, 2018
Central Minnesota features variability aplenty when it comes to soil characteristics and topography, from flat, black expanses rich in organic Read More
Agrible
Grower Services & SolutionsAgrible to Launch Retailer Services in 2018
January 9, 2018
It’s a new year, which means new market challenges. Full service retailers are searching for ways to differentiate themselves and Read More
jeremy-speaking
Grower Services & SolutionsGrower and Precision Ag Services: Opportunities Lost
January 9, 2018
I often spend time with growers, talking about their operations, and the processes they go through each season to do Read More
Winters-Farming-farm-manager-Alex-Bergwerff-and-Ranch-Systems-marketing-and-business-development-manager-Hylon-Kaufmann
Precision IrrigationInside California Irrigation: Winters Farming
January 9, 2018
As many of us already know, almonds tend to get a bad rap for their water-use efficiency — or some Read More
Sentera software
DronesSentera Offering Elevation Data Mapping Via AgVault
January 9, 2018
Sentera announces the availability of elevation maps within the Sentera AgVault platform, offering agronomists, crop consultants, and growers additional field Read More
Industry NewsRaven, South Dakota State University Link Up: What You …
January 9, 2018
On Tuesday afternoon Raven and South Dakota State University (SDSU) held a press conference on the SDSU campus in Sioux Read More
Agrishow2017
Americas5 Best Ag Tech Shows in Brazil
January 8, 2018
Brazil continues to demonstrate its potential in agriculture. Several international companies are investing in our country because we have a Read More
Aarav-Unmanned-Systems-team
Asia12 Indian Agritech Startups to Watch Out For in 2018
January 3, 2018
Farming is a profession of hope. And India holds the record for the second-largest agricultural land in the world, with Read More
Amazone-Amaspot
Australia/New ZealandAmazone Set to Release Weed-Detecting Sprayer in Austra…
January 2, 2018
European farm machinery giant Amazone is set to release its UX trailed weed-detecting sprayer in Australia, which it says can Read More
drone-wheat-field
DronesAgricultural Drones: From Detection to Diagnosis
January 2, 2018
There is not a remote sensing platform that is innately better at all things: satellites, manned aircraft, and unmanned aerial Read More
Soybean Field
Tools & Smart EquipmentPrecision Ag Technology: Use It, Don’t Lose It in 2018
January 2, 2018
With the start of the New Year, I always find myself reflecting on the past year and identifying what worked Read More
Cory-Willness-featured-image
Service ProvidersGenerating Value From Boots-on-the-Ground Precision Ag
January 2, 2018
The flaghip product from CropPro Consulting, Naicam, Saskatchewan, may sound like part of a high stakes hostage situation. But SWAT Read More