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MIS 2017 - Laudon 15th Edition - Chapter 01 - Case Study: Are Farms Becoming Digital Firms?

MBA MIS - Management Information Systems

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Case Study: Are Farms Becoming Digital Firms?

 

1-12 List and describe the technologies used in this case study.

 

Farmers are using global positioning system navigation systems running on tablet computers to manage equipment and issue instructions during planting and harvesting seasons. Farmers and agricultural companies are using data analysis technologies to determine the right kinds and amounts of seed to plant, how much fertilizer to add, and the right amount of water to use during the growing season. Computerized planting equipment follows recommendations from agricultural companies and historic data collected by farmers. (Learning Objective 1-3: What academic disciplines are used to study information systems and how does each contribute to an understanding of information systems? AACSB: Analytical thinking, Application of knowledge.)

 

1-13 In what sense are U.S. farms now digital firms? Explain your answer.

 

Prescriptive planting uses data provided by farmers on field boundaries, historic crop yields, and soil conditions to agricultural data analysis companies that analyze that data along with data about seed performance and soil types in different areas. The company sends a computer file with recommendations back to the farmer, who uploads the data into computerized planting equipment. The data analysis company monitors weather and other factors to advise farmers how to manage crops as they grow. (Learning Objective 1-3: What academic disciplines are used to study information systems and how does each contribute to an understanding of information systems? AACSB: Analytical thinking, Application of knowledge.)

 

 

1-14 How is information technology changing the way farmers run their business?

 

Data gathered from aircraft, self-driving tractors, and other forms of automated and remote sensors provide information to farmers about crop yields, soil moisture content and soil quality. Technology is helping save money and time while increasing crop yields. Prescriptive planting takes much of the guess work out of planting and harvesting crops. Just the right amount of seed and fertilizer are laid down to improve the average corn harvest thereby increasing profits. (Learning Objective 1-3: What academic disciplines are used to study information systems and how does each contribute to an understanding of information systems? AACSB: Analytical thinking, Application of knowledge.)

 

 

1-15 How do the systems described in this case improve farming operations?

 

Monsanto estimates that data-driven planting advice could increase worldwide crop production by about $20 billion a year. However, output from predictive planting system has not achieved those levels yet.

 

Regardless of whether the farm is big or small, the impact of the new data-driven software programs will be minimal in good years because yields would be high regardless of the decisions made. The technology is likely to have a bigger impact in years when conditions aren’t so propitious.

 

Many farmers are worried about the intrusion of big data into their once-insular businesses and are especially suspicious of what the big seed companies might do with the collected data. Other farmers worry about seed prices rising too much since the companies that developed predictive planting technology are the same ones that sell seeds. Farmers also fear that rivals could use the data to their own advantage. The American Farm Bureau Federation has warned members that seed companies touting higher crop yields from prescriptive planting have a vested interest in persuading farmers to plant more. (Learning Objective 1-3: What academic disciplines are used to study information systems and how does each contribute to an understanding of information systems? AACSB: Analytical thinking, Application of knowledge, Reflective thinking.)

 

1-16 How do precision agriculture systems support decision making? Identify three different decisions that can be supported.

 

Monsanto’s software application called FieldScripts takes into account variables such as the amount of sunlight and shade and variations in soil nitrogen and phosphorous content when determining the type and amount of seed to plant. The data are analyzed in conjunction with the genetic properties of the seeds and combines all the information with climate predictions. Precise planting instructions or scripts are delivered to iPads connected to planting equipment in the field. These kinds of tools allow farmers to pinpoint areas that need more or less fertilizer, saving them the cost of spreading fertilizer everywhere, while boosting their yields in areas that have performed poorly and reducing the amount of excess fertilizer that enters the water table.

 

Three decisions prescriptive planting supports include the amount of seed and the type of seed for the soil conditions; the amount of fertilizer to add in each area of the fields; weather and other factors to help farmers manage crops as they grow. (Learning Objective 1-3: What academic disciplines are used to study information systems and how does each contribute to an understanding of information systems? AACSB: Analytical thinking, Application of knowledge.)

 

 

 

1-17 How helpful is precision agriculture to individual farmers and the agricultural industry? Explain your answer.

 

Small farmers will be hard-pressed to afford the technology required by the new programs because of the cost of the service itself along with the cost of retrofitting existing planting equipment or buying more modern equipment that includes the electronic gear. Large farmers will have an easier time of purchasing the software and retrofitting their equipment. (Learning Objective 1-3: What academic disciplines are used to study information systems and how does each contribute to an understanding of information systems? AACSB: Analytical thinking, Application of knowledge, Reflective thinking.)

 

1-18 What are the strategic objectives that firms try to achieve by investing in information systems and technologies? For each strategic objective, give an example of how a firm could use information systems to achieve the objective.

 

Visit MyMISLab for suggested answers.

 

 

1-19 Describe the complementary assets that firms need in order to optimize returns from their information system investments. For each type of complementary asset, give an example of a specific asset a firm should have.

 

Visit MyMISLab for suggested answers.

 

 

 

 

 


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