What systems do you need to keep track of to ensure that your agricultural operation is running as efficiently as it can? Is your irrigation reaching everywhere that it needs to, and at accurate volumes? How reliable is your fertilizer supplier? Do you have a range of potential buyers in case your main ones become unavailable? Is your harvesting equipment maintained well enough to operate at top condition when it’s needed?
Is your IT doing everything it can to ensure success?
Every aspect of the farm needs to be regularly examined by your (or your employees’) expert eyes to make sure that everything is running smoothly, and your IT network is no different. The easiest way to find out how to best optimize your technology is to let DiamondIT’s networking experts dig up how to get the most out of your resources through a network assessment.
Amount of data collected grows higher after every season
Your operations have been generating a large amount of data, and trends suggest that this will only increase. The American Farm Bureau Federation notes that almost all new farm equipment comes with some sort of integrated sensor for data collection, and 60% of farmers say that they take advantage of some sort of precision data.1 Given the huge amount of data that can be (and is) gathered, it makes sense that so many see the opportunity. And what can that opportunity lead to? U.S. farmers say that they are reaping the benefits of data analytics, to the tune of, on average, about 15% in savings on input costs, and posting a 13% increase on yield.
Seeing the mountain of data at hand can paralyze some businesses who don’t even know where to begin. Not you, though. You see the potential that comes with analytics and just need an agriculture and IT system that works for you and makes it accessible. So, this data: is it all stored somewhere good, easily accessible, and usable? Or is the ever-increasing volume of data clogging up your internal network? An assessment can get to the heart of where the data you’ve already collected is, how best to utilize it, and how to ensure that new data is right at your fingertips (where it belongs! It’s YOUR data, after all!). It lets you know what factors are affecting your yield and lets you spot potential issues before they happen.
Your IT network can present other issues, as well. You understand that crops don’t function on a Monday-to-Friday timeline, so your technology can’t, either. If equipment needs to be out of service to get updated instead of having real-time updates, that hurts the bottom line. If your network goes down over the weekend, it needs to be back up ASAP.
How a network assessment can address these issues
After your most recent harvest, it may be a good time to look back on the grow season, and see if you can glean any details on how to make next year even better. In an ideal system, all of the data collected from your tractors, warehouses, and fields (everything from yield weight to field temperature to tractor routing) is all sitting in the same place. What’s more, it’s all easy to access and can be plugged right into software so that you can take quick action on results and trends. Say yield was lower at a certain part of the field and your sensors alerted you to several irrigation issues in that section. You now have the resources to accurately make the call as to whether the cost of replacing or refurbishing the irrigation system outweighs the revenue that would come from the extra yield that you’re missing out on. So, how does your current system measure up?
A network assessment will lay the groundwork for all of these features to come to your business. We’ll look in-depth at the current software you’re running to see if it’s being used to its full potential. We’ll examine all of your mobilized software, like control systems on the tractors, to find the pathways that they use to communicate with home base. We’ll map out how you could organize your business technology to make sharing and collaborating easier than ever before. And we’ll examine the nuts and bolts of your IT network to check how secure it is, how efficient it is, and whether or not the parts of your business that have the highest IT demands are getting what they need.
Wonderful. You now have a bunch of suggestions for changes and an outline for how we think you should go forward. But why do it? Is it really worth it to put all this energy into your IT network? Well, in short, yes, yes it is. Say we’ve discovered that your phone system is holding your business back. The solution, getting voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) set up, opens up your business lifestyle by giving you access your main office line anywhere (useful for being out in the field and abroad on business), gives you amazing flexibility with setting up and recording conference calls, and, yes, gives you a good deal of easy-to-access and easy-to-analyze data at your disposal. The added abilities when you’re working on the move can’t be understated. The same applies for any other potential solutions uncovered by an assessment. Overall, what you get is a full understanding of your network’s potential, the means of utilizing it, and the peace of mind of knowing that you can securely keep pace with where the agriculture industry is headed with a streamlind IT network.
You’ll be set up for long-term success after an assessment
It’s mid-January already. The sun is lingering a bit longer each day, and with it, the new growing season is on the horizon—it’s time to improve processes and smoothly integrate the changes your team has come up with post-harvest, and time to look at your network with an IT assessment. Want to add a new rapid deployment irrigation vehicle? Fortunately, you’re set up to integrate new tools into your automation system with ease, and all of the data collected from the new vehicle will go to the same cloud as the rest of your stored data. All of your technologies will be working to increase your productivity. Due to the backup plan that you set up after your assessment, network outages won’t slow you down, as you’re hosted on our reliable network. Since all of your data is thoroughly and completely backed up, there’s no risk of needing to scramble to recover your essential data in the event of some natural disaster or human error.
Just as football is described as “a game of inches,” farming is a numbers game where the small details have big impacts. Optimizing your yield is the main goal for any grower, and you’ve surely taken steps in all other aspects of your business to painstakingly ensure that you can make hay while the sun shines. Working with DiamondIT to assess your network will give you the extra edge over your competitors in knowing how close you are to having a flexible and robust IT network.
- http://www.businessinsider.com/big-data-and-farming-2015-8 ↩