Business analysts Ruben and Gert-Willem: "We make the link between IT and the Sales organisation"

Department: IT

"We are looking at the best IT solutions that will ultimately contribute to more profitability on the farm."

Afbeelding: Ruben en Gert-Willem_intro
Ruben Kemerink and Gert-Willem ter Avest

"We are like bridge builders; we make the link between IT and the Sales organisation and translate the IT needs of Sales, Marketing and Communication into practical solutions that make work easier and are valuable to our customers." Ruben Kemerink and Gert-Willem ter Avest work as business analysts at ForFarmers. What does their work entail, which projects do they work on and why do they work for the Future of Farming? 

What does a business analyst do at ForFarmers?

Ruben: "We translate the IT needs of the business (Sales organisation) into practical solutions. For example, Sales wants to make data more easily applicable, or asks for applications that will enable them to achieve more with the available data at the livestock farm. Then it's up to us to look for the right IT solution."

Gert-Willem: "And the sooner we are involved in an issue, the better we can think along about the right IT solution. Sometimes someone asks very specifically for a certain tool from a supplier. We first check whether a supplier meets ForFarmers' requirement, including good functionality, reliability and high security (data/information security). A new application must therefore fit our working methods and preconditions."

Which departments do you work with a lot?

Gert-Willem: "I mainly focus on the tools for supporting the sales and marketing processes. So I work closely with Sales (specialists, account managers, marketing managers, etc.). New releases of the tools we use are released annually, and each time I assess which parts of the release are useful for ForFarmers. And as soon as something new is implemented, I advise the users on the application. Together, we agree on how we can use the tool and I hear what the users have to deal with. If necessary, I discuss with the supplier whether certain 'shortcomings' can be resolved."

Ruben: "I mainly focus on Agroscoop, the monitoring programme for animal performance on the farm, and I mainly concentrate on the Pig and Poultry sectors. Colleague Henrieke Boehlé-van Olst is the contact person for Ruminants and Poultry. I am also the contact person for Agrovision, the supplier of Agroscoop. As soon as I receive change requests from Sales, I consult with Agrovision about which changes are possible and which are not. As soon as a new release is introduced, I make sure that my colleagues within Sales can work with the new release. I also support the rollout of new applications."

Why do you work For the Future of Farming?

Ruben: "As the son of a former pig farmer, I know the agricultural sector well and wanted to complete my internship and graduation for the study Technical Business Administration (towards process optimisation) in the agricultural business sector. In 2016, I started at ForFarmers. After the internship and graduation, I rolled into this job. The great thing is that we ultimately do our work for the customers. I look for the best IT solutions that ultimately contribute to more profitability on the farm. For me, that's For the Future of Farming."

Gert-Willem: "In 2013 I was looking for a job at an organisation with a SAP environment, because I already had a lot of experience with SAP. I wanted to apply my knowledge in a commercial company and saw ForFarmers as a good match. ForFarmers is part of the food chain and as one of the bigger players in this chain it has a responsible position. It gives me great satisfaction to make SAP products also applicable to the agribusiness. Thanks to our partnership, SAP also knows more about the agribusiness and they think along in solutions to better support the agribusiness. This only makes our chain more efficient. My enthusiasm for working for ForFarmers has only grown stronger now that ForFarmers is also focusing on sustainability and a circular agriculture."

What gives you energy?

Gert-Willem: "It gives me great satisfaction when I get feedback from Sales that an adjustment in a tool has helped colleagues. That gives me energy."

Ruben: "This also applies to me; it gives me a lot of energy when we can make the daily work easier by coming to the most practical way of working together with the business and the supplier of an application. And that is often a challenging process: the business wants to accelerate and achieve the maximum, a software supplier slams the brakes because scope, budget and time are often the limiting factors and they serve more customers. Getting to the best solution in this playing field between organisation and technology, that makes me happy!"

Afbeelding: Ruben Kemerink achter PC
Ruben: "it gives me a lot of energy when we can make the daily work easier."