8 Apr 2014

The ReGen Nitrogen journey - an interview with Bridgit

It has been a long and interesting journey since ReGen’s CEO, Bridgit Hawkins, took the decision to produce a new application, ReGen Nitrogen. Developing an application is always an adventure, you never really know how it is going to end. However it is also a well thought out and planned process. So it was with a mix of satisfaction and relief when the application was successfully launched in February. We had a chat with Bridgit to find out more about this journey from her perspective.


1. ReGen has recently released its new application, ReGen Nitrogen. Can you tell us how the ideas for the Regen services for effluent and nitrogen management have come about?

There has not been one single ‘ah ha’ moment but more a combination of factors. Having an in-depth working knowledge of farm systems I understand that good pasture and the efficient use of that pasture is the key to a successful dairy farm business. My work in the IT sector in recent years has given me an understanding of data capture and storage, how technology is evolving and changing, and what IT services are becoming available to create tools and services that are reliable and easy-to use. And from time to time in my role I am able to take a step back from the every day activities of our business and look at current trends in dairy farming and what the future might hold, especially around the changing regulatory environment and decision support tools that are currently available. All of these factors have contributed to the development of our Regen services.

2. We know that ReGen is very attentive to providing farmers with excellent services. What do you see as the benefits of ReGen’s services to farmers?

We recently rebranded Regen with the line “Know what’s right”. It reflects that our services give farmers confidence to make the right decisions for their farm as they are based on science using relevant, up-to-date data from their farm. The services we provide enables decision making to be put into the farmer’s hands. Our services also allow farmers to build an awareness of how small changes in their daily decision making can improve the efficiency of their business.

3. In a highly competitive environment, what do you think is Regen’s point of difference?

Regen’s vision is to make a difference to farmers and farming by using technology to put information in their hands. We don’t just provide numbers and graphs, we provide decision support. Our services revolve around being farm specific and being relevant to the decisions that our farmers have to make on a daily basis. Our business is about what does that data mean for the decisions our customer is making today – what can we help them do differently, better, sooner, because of our solution.

4. Developing a mobile application is a lot of a work. Now that it is released can you tell us what has surprised you most about developing Regen Nitrogen?

Probably how much you don’t know about what you don’t know! What appears on the surface to be simple is actually really complex. Things like enabling a mobile app to be able to graph soil conditions in a form that is readable on a small screen. It is a bit like an iceberg, you only see a fraction of it on the surface. A substantial amount of work and effort is required behind that bit of the service that you see.

5. Since ReGen’s inception you have wanted to collaborate with farmers as part of new service development and you ensured that this was the case in the development of Regen Nitrogen. Reflecting on this process, can you draw any conclusions about this way of developing a product? 

It is critical for the success of our business to engage with farmers so they “get” what we are doing. There is no point in developing a product or service if it never gets used! So we have made a big effort to engage with farmers during our process of developing our services. During the development of Regen Nitrogen we worked with some of our customers on what some of their needs around N fertiliser management were and what kind of features might be useful in a mobile phone application. It is important the services we provide are fit for purpose and assist in day-to-day decision making on the farm.

6. And finally, can you briefly tell us where you see Regen heading in the future?

As farming systems become more and more complex farmers can’t be expected to be specialists in every field of farm management. Every farm is different and their requirements for building a successful business are different. I see a place for Regen in being able to support farmers in identifying the key components of their farming system that will make the biggest difference to their business rather than trying to “fire fight” on all fronts.

www.nzregen.co.nz

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