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CEO Report: January 2018

A matter of trust

Mark MortonMany of our customers tell similar stories to Mark Barden’s. After meeting Hugh Beattie, myself or another Practical Systems staff member at a field day or industry event, they take a considerable risk. They invest in an unknown platform that is often the first software application they have purchased for their business.

In many cases such as Mark’s, our customers take up new technology simply to use the Practical Systems platform. That’s a lot of trust to place in something you know very little about. It got me thinking: Why do our clients put their trust in us?

First, I think it’s because we know what we’re on about. We know farmers, and we know farming in Australia. We know what information you need to make an informed decision, be it for financial, livestock, or farm management. We’ve been delivering practical technology to regional Australia for 25 years, but this doesn’t mean we sell you the app and send you packing. We work with you to ensure you have a solution that suits your business.

Second, we actually listen. We don’t stand there at a field day and tell you how you should be running your farm. We listen to your current processes and the challenges you face. And then we show you how our platform can provide you with a solution. But not only that. We don’t claim that our apps will cater for every farm’s every requirement, everywhere. Instead, we listen to what our customers need and, if our platform doesn’t provide it, we find a way to incorporate it into the system.

Third, we provide support and security. With our Practical Cover, Knowledge Base and Software Support desk, our customers know that help is always at hand. Our customers are not IT professionals, and you shouldn’t need to be. Our support staff, who are all studying agricultural-related subjects at the University of New England, are embracers of technology. They are trained to provide comprehensive and straightforward help to farmers, not technical experts. Our training provides you with what you need and want to know, not just what we want to teach.

Finally, we know the conditions you are working under. A management solution for agriculture can’t just be available in the office or when you have internet coverage. It needs to be accessible, and the technology has to be industrial to be robust enough to cope with the conditions that you deal with every day.

Patchy and limited internet coverage, as well as small data allowances, means that it would be negligent for Practical Systems to assume our customers can use a devoted cloud-based app on their farms. While our platform allows for your database to be kept in the cloud, we want you to have access to your business’s information without eating into the social and educational benefits internet access provides your family. You shouldn’t have to worry if you’ve got enough internet to do the books. And that’s why our apps don’t need an internet connection to run.

For all of our customers, starting to use our platform is a risk. It could be completely unsuited to their business. It might be too technical for their requirements. But it’s a calculated risk. The benefits of being in control of your farm management; the support provided to get you started and keep you going; the constant improvements to ensure the system keeps up with industry changes: these are just a few of the reasons that make purchasing our platform an easy risk for our customers to take.

Practical Systems makes sure the technology we provide is suited to Australian farming no matter where or under what conditions you are working. We provide industrial technology that integrates into your farm management. I think we are a risk worth taking.

Mark Morton