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The power of the collective

Highlights of the partnership:

Agrifirm is a Dutch cooperative of more than ten thousand arable and livestock farmers. The organisation has three thousand personnel, subsidiaries in the Netherlands and abroad, and a history that goes back 120 years. Impressive numbers, which illustrate the power of the collective. After all, Agrifirm belongs to and exists for Dutch farmers. All the knowledge, quality expertise and innovative skill the cooperative acquires is shared with its members and thus returned to the Dutch farming community. Agrifirm delivers sustainable, tangible and relevant value for farmers and for industry.

Customer perspective: Edwin Tragter, Group IT Director

Shared cultural values

“For Agrifirm, it’s important that we make continuous progress. Progress in terms of having the right systems, resources and expertise, but also in cultural terms: accepting responsibility, articulating ambitions and maintaining short lines of communication. Databalance shares our central cultural values. They’re proactive, they accept responsibility, and they maintain short communication lines at all levels.”

IT as a catalyst for progress

“For innovation and opportunity-taking, it’s important to avoid a pattern characterised by episodes where you replace all your systems, separated by periods when you do nothing until those systems reach the end of their economic life. It’s much better to have a continuous process of optimisation, where you constantly improve what you can, and achieve as much progress as you can on the basis of new, proven technology.”

Partnership extended for five years

“Databalance helps us think things through and puts forward new ideas. On the strategic, tactical and operational levels. Their input is very valuable to us, and reflected in the huge upturn in satisfaction with our IT systems. That’s why we recently extended our partnership for a further five years. It’s confirmation of the strength of our working relationship.”

Clear governance is crucial

Clear and sophisticated governance arrangements are an essential precondition for making progress together, and for achieving and maintaining success together. As well as operational meetings, we therefore have regular strategic and tactical meetings with Agrifirm, so that we are aware of what’s happening at all levels and what the expectations are.

The governance mechanism provides us with the fullest possible contextual picture, enabling us to proactively open up new possibilities and opportunities. And continually ask more of ourselves and each other. IT is the means to an end, not an end in itself. That’s why we always begin by building a picture of an organisation’s context, long-term goals and ambitions before considering what IT solutions are needed and which building blocks are most suitable for realisation of the organisation’s processes and ambitions.

Migrating to SAP S/4 HAN

Agrifirm was one of the first organisations in the Netherlands to make the switch from SAP ECC to SAP S/4 HANA. Migration was identified as an important means of assuring the continuity of Agrifirm’s ERP environment in the Netherlands and abroad. It was a question of when, not if, the organisation would have to migrate to SAP S/4 HANA.

The latest technology isn’t always the best solution. Preparing for the future and making progress don’t necessarily imply the immediate adoption of new technologies. That’s why we work exclusively with proven technologies and best practices. We firmly believe that the use of such technologies and practices, in combination with standard building blocks, is the surest way to get ahead. That belief, allied to constant consideration of security, privacy and compliance, underpins all our activities.

“Databalance is always striving to optimise the quality of its services. That promotes confidence and makes Databalance an excellent partner.” – Edwin Tragter

Preparing for the future together

The Netherlands is the world’s second-largest exporter of agricultural produce. That unique status is a reflection of Dutch farming’s forward thinking and willingness to embrace new opportunities. Innovation is vital both to the Netherlands’ prominence as an exporter, and to a sustainable future for the country’s agricultural sector. Databalance therefore considers it a privilege to work for Agrifirm – and thus for the Dutch farming community – and to make an indirect contribution to that future through the supply of bespoke IT solutions.

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