The challenge 

Beef & Lamb NZ collects a wealth of data from farmers across the country. Previously this data was being made available to the industry via a series of PDF documents and Excel spreadsheets, statically generated from a legacy database. Beef & Lamb NZ wanted to give their stakeholders the ability to benchmark their farms relative to others in the industry, access content on best farming practices and to support their twelve month forecasts with industry data. 

Our solution 

Working with Beef + Lamb NZ and their various stakeholders, Solnet designed an attractive, modern and responsive web portal to present information for farmers and industry stakeholders in a series of dynamic tables, charts and interactive tools. This, coupled with a revamped user identity management system gives farmers and stakeholders a far better experience in terms of accessing, reviewing and benchmarking across the industry. 

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Stakeholder engagement and user-design testing 

Solnet engaged extensively with farmers and other relevant stakeholders, to make sure that visual designs and user experiences would meet their expectations. We arranged for farmers and stakeholders to test and report back on the functionality regularly, to verify that the tools were user friendly throughout the development process. 

Building on this, Solnet has an ongoing engagement with Beef + Lamb to enhance the existing web platform and develop new features.  Prioritisation of new features has been largely farmer-driven, using voting and feedback mechanisms incorporated into the web portal. 

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Tonkenised access for better usability

Farmers needed to have easy access to the portal, without needing to always log in, but with the ability to save and retrieve their personal information.  Solnet implemented this with tokenised access, meaning that users could login securely and hassle free. 

Iterative development processes for flexibility 

Solnet's development process for this project was iterative.  Feature requests feed into two-week development iterations.  Changes are continuously integrated in the development environment, and baselines are deployed in the test environment for members of the Farmers Council to carry out acceptance testing.  On confirmation, the approved baseline is released to production.

This approach allowed both Solnet and Beef + Lamb to manage new features easily and adapt our approach based on feedback from the ultimate end-users.  

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