- Software development
- How to Build an ERP for Agriculture?
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Are you wondering how to build an ERP for agriculture?
The global agricultural software market size is expected to reach USD 9.1 billion by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 25.65%. The adoption of modern agricultural practices, availability of internet connectivity, and integration of smartphones with agriculture processes contribute to the digital transformation of the agriculture industry. Let’s see how to build an ERP for the agriculture sector.
Build an ERP for Agriculture
The global market for precision farming is expected to reach 14.5 billion US dollars by 2027. For example, Agriculture ERP provides access to data from sensors (for moisture, temperature, etc.) in the field via customized reports to end users. Farmers use this information to carefully plan future yield productions and control operational costs.
You would take the following steps to build a custom ERP for the agriculture business.
Perform Market Research and Decide on the ERP Agriculture Project Scope
You would start by conducting research on the agriculture software management market. You need to analyze the current market trends and available ERP solutions in the market, including their features, limitations, etc.
You should also study the end-user demographics and their requirements. In light of your research findings, you will decide your project scope, including the functionality of your ERP for the agriculture system.
A few of the main agricultural ERP features include the following:
Land Management: This module helps an entire business operation of crop field mapping. Users can analyze the land quality, like water level, soil fertility, etc. Today, numerous IoT-based techniques are used to monitor land.
ERP systems can read data from IoT sensors and display it for easy analysis. IoT holds the largest share of agriculture technology with real-time land monitoring and delivery of data to farmers.
Machinery Management: This module helps manage agricultural machinery, including harvesters, tractors, etc., and maintain regular maintenance schedules to avoid unexpected downtimes.
Livestock Tracking: This module helps with breed management, supervision of livestock health, scheduling regular veterinary appointments, etc. The RFID tag-based livestock management market is expected to reach USD 732.08 million by 2025.
Financial Management: This ERP component helps streamline accounting activities and manage financial data, including expenses, profits, labor wages, tax payments, etc. According to statistics, 23% of businesses have opted for an ERP system for finance and accounting benefits.
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Human Resource Management: This module deals with the management of farmers and seasonal workers. It holds information about people working on a specific land, their payments, benefits, etc. Administrative ERP with human resource management has reported increased revenue growth for businesses by 10%.
You would finalize the functional and non-functional requirements of your ERP software for agriculture and share it with your ERP development team.
Form an ERP Development Team
You need a professional software development team to build the required ERP features for the agriculture sector. You would hire the following roles for ERP implementation:
- A project manager helps manage the complete ERP development lifecycle and meet timelines and cost estimates. A project manager also manages other team members working on your ERP product.
- A business analyst with experience in the agriculture market helps improve business performance. They propose solutions to user problems using techniques like Business Process Modeling, SWOT Analysis, etc.
- UI/UX designers design the application layout. They would create an interactive user interface for your agriculture ERP application.
- Frontend developers code the frontend components and ERP application interface according to the design prototypes.
- Backend developers build the core functionalities of the agriculture ERP, develop and integrate APIs, design database models, handle database integration, deploy a software application, etc.
- A software tester tests the application to ensure it meets its requirements without any bugs or issues.
Decide Software Development Methodology
Your ERP development team should follow a software development methodology for the successful implementation of the project.
Agile methodologies are largely used in the software industry for their benefits, including project visibility, faster time-to-market, collaboration with the end users, empowered development team, etc.
Scrum, an agile framework, is largely used by developers with 81% of agile teams reporting using some version of scrum in their team.
You can form a scrum team for your ERP development project. A scrum team consists of a scrum master, software developers, and testers. The small cross-functional team works closely and delivers a deployable product feature at the end of each development cycle.
A development cycle or iteration is called a sprint in Scrum parlance. The complete software development project is divided into multiple sprints. High-priority features are developed in the initial sprints and deployed to the end users for their feedback.
The software solution is improvised in successive iterations according to the customers’ expectations. 85% of developers using scrum have reported improvement in the quality of their work.
Read our article on how to implement agile in your organization for more details.
Provide Software Development Infrastructure
Next, you need to provide software development infrastructure to your developers and QA testers. This will include networking resources, database technologies, storage solutions, software development platforms, debugging tools, etc.
We would suggest you opt for cloud computing technologies as they offer numerous advantages to users. Some benefits include easy setup, fast access to innovative technologies, easy scalability according to your organization’s requirements, etc.
94% of businesses have reported increased security after migrating to cloud-based resources and 91% claimed to have better met the compliance requirements.
You can analyze leading cloud service providers and choose the one that offers your required resources for ERP development. For example, the leading cloud service provider, Google Cloud, offers you the following advantages:
- You can implement a modern software ERP application through cloud services for DevOps, an API-first approach, and a serverless environment with low latency.
- You can add intelligence to your agriculture ERP with Google cloud’s AI model for customer support, document search, etc.
- You can accelerate the development process and reduce your time to market by extending ERP capabilities through multiple cloud-based APIs.
You can read our article on the top benefits of cloud computing for businesses for more information.
Design an ERP for Agriculture
Your UI/UX designers would create ERP mockups that explain the application layout and interaction of features. They would design the user interface components such as icons, menus, etc., and their placement on the application screen.
Your designers can consult our guide to designing the perfect icons for your software application.
Moreover, your designers would create a visual theme for your ERP. They will select an appropriate color palette, typography, etc., and follow UI/UX principles in the process to create a visually appealing and easy-to-use user interface.
We recommend your designers consult web interface guidelines to develop an intuitive ERP user interface.
You would require an ERP application design that works smoothly on multiple devices such as desktops, mobiles, and tablets as your users will access your agriculture ERP application from offices, fields, etc.
Your designers should be familiar with design approaches like responsive web design and mobile-first design.
Your UI/UX designers should be experts in tools like Sketch to create wireframes and prototypes. For example, Sketch offers the following features to design an engaging agriculture ERP:
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- Your designers can create interactive prototypes with options to apply basic transitions and view previews.
- Sketch offers an extensive library of third-party plugins for almost every feature like graphical charts for sensor data analysis, translation, device-adaptive layouts, etc., that your designers can use to develop a customizable user experience.
- There is also a version control feature that allows designers to collaborate on an iterative design process.
You can consult our UX design process guide for more details.
Develop Agriculture ERP Software
Your developers would code the front-end and back-end features of your ERP application.
Your frontends developers would build the UI components like buttons, menus, headers, etc., and code the application layout according to design prototypes.
ReactJS helps developers build interactive web applications. It offers a virtual DOM to dynamically update a web page. Moreover, one-way data binding makes it faster.
Your backend developers would code the core functionalities of your ERP solution. Developers use programming languages like PHP to build an enterprise-level ERP applications.
PHP is a platform-independent and open-source language with multiple features to support ERP development. PHP can generate dynamic page content, perform access control, encrypt data for security, modify data in the database, etc.
Moreover, PHP has a support of a range of frameworks that make ERP development efficient. For example, your developers can use CakePHP framework for agriculture ERP development and take advantage of the following:
- Use code generation and scaffolding features of CakePHP and build ERP faster.
- Get access to a range of built-in features that accelerate development such as database access, authentication, caching, etc.
- Make use of extensive security features, including CSRF protection, SQL injection prevention, input validation mechanism, etc., and build a secure ERP.
The database is an essential component of an ERP system. Your ERP application requires a database system that can store large amounts of data in various formats. Moreover, it should allow easy access and manipulation of data values.
Your developers should design a database model according to the structure of your business data. Some database models that your developers should know are relational, entity-relationship, document, network, etc.
Some database solutions your developers can use to implement a database model for your ERP are Oracle as an SQL database and MongoDB as a NoSQL database.
Oracle, a relational database management system, offers the following features:
- You can build a scalable and high-performance database with features like application clustering and portability.
- Oracle offers high data availability that is necessary for building real-time applications such as real-time monitoring of crops, weather, etc.
- It offers a complete backup and recovery system in case of system failure.
MongoDB, a NoSQL database technology offers the following advantages:
- It is a cloud-based data platform that allows developers to use flexible document schemas.
- It offers powerful querying and analytics through features such as indexing.
- You get better data availability and scalability via the data replication feature.
You can read our article on SQL vs. NoSQL for more details.
Application programming interfaces or APIs allow software applications to interact with other external or internal software services.
APIs as loosely-coupled software services are easy to develop, scale, and maintain. Your developers will use REST architecture for API development. It offers a uniform interface for API design and allows developers to build scalable APIs with flexibility via client-server decoupling and stateless properties.
Your developers will also perform API integrations to use third-party services in your ERP product. API integrations accelerate the development of a feature-rich software application as they do not have to build each functionality from scratch.
For example, your developers will integrate Accuweather API to track weather conditions, Google Maps API to integrate real-time locations, etc.
The latest technologies are important to build an innovative software application. Your developers should be familiar with machine learning, natural language processing, augmented reality, etc., to build an ERP for agriculture with advanced features.
For example, machine learning algorithms would help you understand huge agricultural data and make future predictions based on historical data values for weather, farm yields, etc., and also automate processes such as automatic watering, seeding, etc.
Similarly, augmented reality can be used to remotely monitor atmosphere conditions, soil quality, etc. Given these numerous applications, AI spending in the agriculture sector is expected to reach $4 billion by 2026.
Software developers commonly use Python programming language for machine learning model implementations. Python has extensive support for libraries, frameworks, and tools for machine learning.
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You developers can use multiple utilities to accelerate the ML development process. Some Python libraries for machine learning include the following:
- Scikit-learn for predictive data analysis;
- PyTorch for deep neural network implementation;
- Theano for deep learning and scientific computations, etc.
Frameworks like OpenCV help application developers build AR features. OpenCV can help your developers implement features to identify objects in fields, perform image processing, etc., for remote monitoring and inspection via your ERP system.
Test ERP Solution for Agriculture
Your developers need to ensure the quality of their application code through unit tests and integration tests. These test routines will guarantee that software modules run successfully individually and together.
Your software testers or QA engineers will conduct comprehensive testing of your ERP application. They will run multiple tests, including security testing, regression testing, performance testing, usability testing, feature testing, etc., to test the functional and non-functional requirements of your application.
Software testers automate testing scripts to accelerate the process of quality assurance. 42% of businesses now consider test automation as a key part of their quality assurance due to improved quality and time to market.
Testing tools like Selenium would help your testers in automated software testing. Selenium testing tool offers the following features to application testers:
- An open-source testing platform to run functional test scripts on web applications and multiple browsers.
- It offers record-and-playback options for rapid and repeatable web testing.
- Your testers can also draw up graphs and reports using the “ExtentReports” integration to deeply analyze your app testing results.
Deploy and Configure
Once your ERP is tested for its functionality and performance, your developers should initiate the deployment plan. The high-priority features are deployed first, followed by the low-priority software components.
DevOps practices help in faster deployment with continuous testing, automated configuration, and close collaboration between team members.
Your developers can use multiple DevOps tools like
- Git for version control;
- Docker for distributed applications deployment in multiple environments;
- Ansible for task automation;
- Puppet for real-time context reporting, etc.
Your developers need to configure your ERP system with the existing business processes. They would verify ERP operations and their outcomes in the live environment, including accurate data migration, output verification via reports, etc.
Monitor and Maintain Your ERP System
After an agriculture ERP deployment, an important task is ERP monitoring. You can set KPIs to monitor the performance of your ERP application and analyze improvements in users’ productivity, revenue growth, etc.
You also need to plan a maintenance schedule with your project team to provide regular software updates, feature improvements, etc.
Ready to Build an ERP for Agriculture?
Agricultural businesses run critical operations dependent on both manageable and uncertain factors. Robust software helps farmers manage many controllable circumstances.
Custom agriculture ERP development requires a competent team of software developers and testers. We would advise you to partner with a software development company with experience in ERP development.
Why not take a look at the field-expert community of developers at DevTeam.Space? You can outsource your complete ERP software development project to us or hire developers according to your project team’s requirements.
All our developers are vetted for their software development skills and have experience in building cutting-edge software solutions for multiple industries. Moreover, they follow an AI-powered agile project management process.
If you want top-quality talent to work on your agriculture ERP development project, send us your initial project specifications. One of our account managers will get back to you to discuss further details on how we can help you.
FAQs on ERP for Agriculture
You would require technical expertise to build custom functionalities in an ERP system. You need to decide the system requirements and features, form a development team, and provide them with a software development infrastructure. Your developers would design, build, test, and deploy your ERP system.
ERP systems integrate and automate business processes like sales, marketing, human resources, customer service, manufacturing, inventory management, supply chain management, etc. ERP in agriculture offers multiple uses, such as land management, including organic farming lands, vegetable farms, etc., real-time data insights via dashboards, crop planning, financial management, etc.
The cost of an ERP system will depend on the complexity of ERP features. An ERP software application development can cost anywhere between a few tens thousands of dollars to a few hundred thousand dollars. You can contact DevTeam.Space and get a more accurate estimate depending on your ERP product specifications.