iAgri began as a partnership in 1993 and launched its Version 1 of the programme in 1994. It was incorporated as the company, iAgri Limited in January 1999. All of the partners were linked to Agriculture, computers and software (mainly MS Dos at that time). All were employed at some stage by Lincoln University with two being employed by the Kelloggs Farm Management Software Unit within the University with the third partner being a Senior Lecturer in Farm Management. Other investors came on board following the registration of iAgri as a company.
Windows Version 1
Windows Version 1 was the new kid on the block back in the early 90s. Although it was very limited in function and reliability, the partners quickly appreciated the benefits of a graphical interface and the latent ability of Windows to be made to interact in a friendly and intuitive way with the user, most of whom, at the time, were fearful of this new technology. This barrier was particularly strong in the farming community.
iAgri Version 1 tackled that obstruction. The partners spent many months planning Version 1 without touching a keyboard before they, and several hired contract programmers set about achieving their well documented objectives. All programming was based on the KISS principal so that a user could enter, save, and store data which could be processed by iAgri into good farm management information upon which sound business decisions could be made. Every step in the development process had to pass the user test question, 'what's in it for me'. If it didn't pass that test, it was dropped.
The objective of the iAgri partners was to put a tool in the hands of a farmer which not only reduced the drudgery of routine tasks but also allowed them to express their own individuality and knowledge to maximise their farming outcomes. To do this meant that considerable knowledge and complexity had to be hidden behind the simple, easy to comprehend screens. Our designers and programmers were quick to realise that the computer was an excellent tool for transferring and disseminating knowledge and many top farmers were consulted and their skills developed and built into the program. We wanted software that gave genuine financial benefit to the farmer whilst at the same time providing them with a simple facility to monitor their day to day farm management. To help with this process iAgri developed what is possibly the most comprehensive Pocket Diary software in the market place.
In the late 90s as we released Version 3 of the program it was realised that by turning off all of the farming features of the program, we could open up new markets in the small business sector. iAgri Money was born and is now used by many small businesses as a complete package as well as by some farmers who only want the financial aspects of the programme.
In 2007 iAgri launched iAgri Version 5 and it is with some pride we note that some farmers are still using our Versions 1 and 2. Rather than being a disappointment that they hadn't upgraded, we regarded the continued use of these old versions as a complement. New computer technology and more sophisticated platforms such as Vista mean that one day, these old programs will stop working and an upgrade will be necessary. Many have already found that out.
Version 5, or iAgri 2007 as it is known, has considerably more sophistication and is much more comprehensive than the old versions of the program. Having said that, the policy of keeping everything as simple as possible still applies. iAgri 2007 has been re-written from the ground up. It is more robust, easier to track and repair any small bugs if they occur and easier to to incorporate new features and new ideas.
Our help desk is second to none and subscribers are supported using free 0800 or 1800 phone lines or by, using the internet as a vehicle. Using these facilities iAgri can offer help regardless of where subscribers are in the world.
iAgri Limited made a policy decision to move to a subscription basis in 2002. We did this because it enabled us to provide a better service whilst reducing costs for our subscribers. It has also allowed iAgri to develop a closer relationship with our subscribers as opposed to a 'sell and forget policy'. Subscription keeps us on our toes. If we are to keep subscribers on our data base we have to perform. To date, you could count the number of subscribers we have lost on the fingers of one hand so we must be getting something right. The advantages of subscription are outlined elsewhere in this web site.
iAgri has been around a long time in IT terms and aims to be around for many more years yet.