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Technology in Agriculture: The 4 Myths of Outsourced IT – Busted!

Technology is core business in modern agriculture. The industry, always important, is growing dynamically in Australia, and we’ve come a long way from the traditional image of Aussie farming. Today’s farmers are equally at home with modern technology as with ploughs and fence repairs, and Australians are innovators in this agriculture revolution.

With export targets increasing from $38 billion in 2018 to $100 billion in 2030, Australia holds a critical place in ensuring global food demand is met. To meet demand, producers will need every technology advance they can muster, so it is essential to avoid being channeled down the wrong path. The myths around outsourced IT can prevent agricultural businesses from exploring an exciting option, so it is time to put the record straight.

1. Security.

It is easy to think that having actual devices on-premise, right where you can see them, is safer, but that is far from the truth. Unless you’re a major corporation, with a round-the-clock security team on-staff, and devices that are constantly updated, it is almost impossible to match the security measures taken by a professional managed IT partner. New data protection regulations make this issue ever more pressing, with all businesses expected to become compliant, but the case for protecting your valuable data assets was always there. In the digital era, data is power, so protecting it is best left to the experts.

2. But what about my internal IT department?

Typically, the internal IT department is in demand for business growth activities but swamped with the day-to-day of managing infrastructure. They are spread too thin, and these scarce resources are needed for higher-level business growth and efficiency projects. When they are freed from the infrastructure burden and given a chance to shine, the outcome is much-needed digital transformation into a modern, streamlined business.

3. Cost.

The perception of managed IT is that it is expensive, but in fact, it takes advantage of economy of scale to deliver very advanced enterprise IT, even for smaller businesses with more modest budgets. Today’s agriculture businesses need specialists to keep the lights on and allow introduction of new technologies that improve food quality and production. Managed IT makes these necessary systems affordable, leveling the playing field for agriculture businesses of all sizes.

4. Lack of Innovation.

We’re already seeing some incredible advances that couldn’t have been dreamed of just a decade ago. Use of drones to check crops; connected herds creating data that is fed into artificial intelligence (AI) systems to maximise milk yield; the ability to track livestock from birth to plate; and of course, smarter business systems that use automation to bring it all together. Managed IT enables this focus on innovation and creates a fertile platform for ideas to grow into excellence. It is easier to innovate when you’re not managing endless updates or wrangling servers through most of your working hours, so it makes sense to preserve valuable, skilled IT resources for innovation instead of technology drudgery.

Clearly, IT is never a one-size-fits-all scenario, and it is important to tell customers if managed IT doesn’t suit their business model, or if the timing isn’t right. Like agriculture, IT relationships are best when they’re prepared to be in it for the long haul.

Time to plan your IT around Australia’s modern agriculture needs?

Contact me to chat about where you see technology taking your business.

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Stewart Jones has been a thought leader in the I.T space for over 20 years. He has helped many Australian businesses in the agriculture sector successfully identify and adopt the right technologies to obtain a competitive advantage.