Case Study

 

Improving Outcomes for Growers

Sentera

AI powered agriculture insights leader Sentera, partnered with SDG to re-imagine their flagship software platform product.

Challenges

Engineer driven design
Complexity of solution
Data visualization

SDG Solutions

Product mindset
Product leadership
Experience design
Prototype development

Driving agricultural value

Sentera uses multiple data sources, like satellites, drones, on-field machines, and human observers, to populate a comprehensive data lake. With their data, they generate in-season analytics and intelligence to increase precision and efficiency, improve visibility to supply chains, or measure and promote land stewardship and sustainability.  Their technology delivers time-sensitive insights that optimize decisions and improve outcomes to drive agricultural value.

Sentera’s products were created by engineers with deep experience in sophisticated aerospace technology, but Sentera’s executive leadership understood that it was the outcome – the insights gathered through this technology – that provided the real value to their customers.  They recognized the strategic importance of having a strong software product designed in a way that was easy to use and understand, enabling their users to make sound agricultural decisions.   Accomplishing this would require the organization to adopt a different mindset, shifting the focus from delivering engineering capabilities to a more holistic approach that packages insights in a way that more directly maps to customer value.

Shifting the Mindset

Sentera chose SDG as their partner to articulate and accelerate this ambitious strategy and lead the efforts to embed this digital product mindset across the organization.

Creating the vision

To envision a new product, SDG product strategists used a multitude of techniques to start establishing priorities and clarifying a product strategy.  They participated in the Sentera product council, led engineering and business teams through collaborative planning workshops and collaborated with the Sentera team to build a strategic, thematic roadmap for its flagship software product.  Through these activities, the team created a compelling product vision and a plan to achieve it.

User research

Sentera’s users – agronomists, growers and enterprise customers – have unique needs, often dealing with intense pressure, harsh conditions and complex business relationships. SDG conducted user interviews and completed a heuristic analysis of existing applications to understand their true needs. As part of this analysis, engineers visited farms and co-ops where they learned first hand how Sentera’s products are used. The findings were used to prototype an innovative new digital experience aligning Sentera, and their users, with the vision.

Forming product teams

Establishing a product based organizational structure was key to Sentera becoming a product focused company.  SDG helped Sentera’s executives organize their staff into “product teams”, hire a new head of product, and increase their investment in experience design.  SDG consultants also engaged in discussions on product management, design, and development topics, and helped Sentera’s entire team re-think how they establish priorities, understand their customers and ship solutions.

 

"At Sentera we've got an attractive market opportunity, but we needed help designing a user experience and a software product that would satisfy our customer and achieve the vision.  SDG's team was able to fill that gap while helping build new skills within our own team.  Their expertise in product strategy and user experience, and their collaborative nature were instrumental in helping us re-imagine our software products and realize our vision of becoming an agronomic insights company."
– Eric Taipale, CTO - Sentera

Becoming a digital product company

 

Sentera has re-imagined their product as a comprehensive agronomic insights, decision-making, and communication platform that works for all users. In Sentera’s new product strategy, the drones are a feature of the agronomic insight’s product, not the reverse. Guided by this product strategy, Sentera is well on their way to becoming a digital product company, driven by deep understanding of their users and led by the value they can offer their market, not just the sophistication of their engineering.