Data integration is still a challenge in agribusiness

86% of companies are unable to share and analyze information obtained through technology devices effectively


25 May 2022

Agribusiness is full of people and organisations wanting to innovate. There is no shortage of technologies for the sector — drones, sensors, controllers and software of the most diverse become increasingly present in the daily life of the field. But the question that arises is: how to obtain effective results in this scenario? According to a survey by Inmarsat that included agricultural corporations, around 86% of companies are failing to share and analyze the data obtained through technological devices effectively.

“What we see, basically, is data and more data being generated from technologies. However, there is no point in having an abundance of information if we do not act with analysis and management on top of it. And to meet this challenge, the key word is data integration,” explains Rafael Borelli, Commercial Solutions Manager at Hexagon's Agriculture division, which develops digital solutions for the agricultural and forestry sectors.

For example, an operation may rely on a drone capable of evaluating the plantation and generating an input recommendation map, and at the same time, a controller for precise application in the field. However, if it is not possible to integrate the recommendation map with the controller, neither of the two technologies will be able to exercise its potential and bring results.

This integration is a challenge, especially when it comes to solutions from different suppliers. This is because the reality of digital agribusiness is recent. Five years ago, it was still common for companies to maintain their own data centers on internal servers. The cloud is a novelty in this scenario, and now that new tools are beginning to emerge that can leverage this potential of the cloud to make information integrations easier and more agile.

Borelli explains that, in Hexagon's Agriculture division, all software already allows some level of integration, either with the agricultural company's management system (ERP) that uses the division's solutions, or with data from other corporations that provide different resources to this customer. "We do not work with weather stations, for example, but we can make a connection of the data generated by our equipment with that of an institution that has expertise in climatic conditions, bringing unified and centralised information to the agricultural manager," says the Commercial Manager.

This integration facilitates the understanding of the business and thus ensures more agility and assertiveness in decision-making, bringing productivity and cost reduction to agricultural operations. For this, it is also essential that these integrated data are presented clearly and, above all, cross-referenced and constantly evaluated in relation to the company's performance indicators (KPIs). Business Intelligence platforms, which create visions according to the needs of companies, are interesting in this scenario, facilitating the analysis and management of results and future planning.

"There is no shortage of data in the agribusiness market. Now, what we need is to work on integration, to have increasingly unified information from high-level centralisation and processing technologies. This is the future, which is even closer with the expansion of connectivity and the arrival of 5G”, reinforces Rafael Borelli. The growth of professions such as data scientists and the improvement of technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning also collaborate with this perspective. "It is from these novelties that we will be able to work with so much information that is generated in the field, either from a single or from several suppliers, solving problems and generating more productivity for agribusiness," he adds.