Carl Sohn

Top 5 Ways to Make Better Technology Investment Decisions

Carl Sohn, VP and Business Advisor

Disagreements about technology are a common cause of conflict in ag operations and can get in the way of smooth succession and strategic planning. New technologies can help your operation grow and evolve to meet a rapidly changing consumer and competitive landscape. They also tend to be expensive and risky – and require significant changes to the ‘way we do things around here.’

Here are our Top 5 ways to make better (and easier) technology investment decisions.

  1. First, define your business goals. Without agreement among decision-makers about near- and long-term goals for the operation, it’s difficult to assure the time, dollars and risk you’re planning to invest in new technology will help you achieve your shared vision.
  2. Don’t forget non-technology solutions. Sometimes the best answer is innovating or changing the way you do business, not in the tools or equipment you use. Always include non-technology solutions in the options you consider.
  3. “Because that’s the way we’ve always done it” isn’t always right. And neither is “because if we don’t use new technology we’ll be left behind.” Change-for-the-sake-of-change and no-change are equally losing strategies. There should be an easily understood business reason for not making a technology investment (just like there should be for making one).
  4. Don’t confuse ‘cutting edge’ with ‘bleeding edge.’ Brand-new technologies may hold great promise, and there are incentives to ‘getting in early,’ but be wary of technologies that are unproven in your industry. Early stage technologies are riskier – which does not mean they’re bad, just that all the kinks haven’t been worked out. If you can, let others lead the way, and make your investment when their results show the technology is mature enough to help you achieve your goals.
  5. Budget for your learning curve. Many technologies are designed to increase efficiency, but make sure you plan for the time (and dollars!) it will take to learn how to use a new technology. Factor in making a few mistakes along the way.

Technology is changing the way we do business, and with the rapid pace of innovation in agriculture, having a technology strategy (even if it is to make no new technology investments) is more important than ever.

Join us at the AgTech Innovation Conference for more insights about emerging technologies and developing a technology strategy for your operation. Details below:

AgTech Innovation Conference

Feb. 14-15, 2019 | Spokane, Washington
Cost: Free
Click Here for Info and Registration