October 18, 2018 | Mike Terning, Greenstone Systems, a Cultura Company

The Takeover of Mobile Technology

Expect to see more easy-to-use bite-sized applications

I’ve worked in the software end of agribusiness for longer than I care to disclose (more than 20 years). This truly feels like an eon when it comes to information technology. 

Looking back, agribusiness software has evolved from after-the-fact accounting systems (replacing the historical paper ledger or “horse blanket process”) to live operational systems. Today, we’re working with more handheld, bite-sized applications that are enabled by mobile technology. 

Agribusiness technology consumption is changing. There is an aging workforce that reflects an aging farmer population as well. The average age of a grower in the United States today is about 58 years old. This also reflects the workforce in many of today’s agribusinesses. This aging workforce means more active recruiting of the next generation of agriculturists. 

In broad terms, the next generation of users is much more comfortable with mobile technology. They don’t know what going through life is without a smartphone or Google. With that in mind, as the younger generation takes over farming operations or moves into running various agribusinesses, they are looking for solutions that are easy to pick up and understand and require very little to no training. 

They want technology that is easy to consume. The ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems that have been built over the years can do lots of things, but they also require lots of setup and training.

This is not the case with emerging mobile technologies. Mobile applications offer specific functions for various roles within the organization that perhaps have not been very well served in the past by traditional accounting or ERP systems.

Going forward, we will see more bite-sized mobile technology applications that better serve those who are working with growers, such as agronomy, feed and energy sales consultants, and grain marketing professionals. Using well designed mobile apps that connect to the ERP will allow these sales consultants to provide the solutions that growers need without the necessity to travel back to the main office to get information. 

Additionally, this will energize and make these sales consultants and account managers more successful going forward in serving the needs of their grower base. 

The scenario that we’re going to see proliferate with mobile technology over the next few years will free up those individuals so they don’t have to be tethered to a laptop or an office. They will have the ability to formulate solutions with growers anytime, from anywhere, with nearly any device. 

Personally, I’m excited to see how these applications evolve and what else they lead to going forward. ❚

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