It’s hard to open any agricultural website or magazine without reading about ag data, writes Doug Fitch at CropLife. Plenty of new and established companies are able to help growers collect and store this data while some can even digitally connect growers to their advisors and help them utilize their data to improve bottom-line results. I talk to growers, ag retailers, and agronomists on a daily base and they all tell me how hard it is to find the right platform for their data, mainly because they are not sure what their selection criteria should be.
The two questions I ask every time, are: “What do you want to achieve?” and “Where do you want to be in 5 and 10 years’ time?” I find these two questions most important, as they reveal the commitment level as well as effort an organization is willing to invest in digitization. In the case of ag retailers that are looking for a data platform for example, the answers to the aforementioned questions can range anywhere from: “We just want to do something on a computer and look like we’re up-to-date” to “we want to secure the profitability and sustainability of our organization as well as our grower clients in future years”.
Most ag retail organizations tend to be very grower focused however and realize that, in order to remain relevant to their client base, they have to implement some sort of digital solution that connects advisors to clients, increases “stickiness” and strengthens relationships. It is for this reason that at some point in most conversations, I get asked what will work best for their growers from a digital perspective. And again, I tell them to not worry about that right now – think about 5 or 10 years into the future: where do you and your growers want to be?