It’s the magic of much-needed rain quenching dry earth. Petrichor
is that pleasant smell that rises from the soil as rainfall imbues forests and fields with new life. It connects us with nature’s cycles, and it’s the essential ingredient for the very pursuit that gave rise to civilization: agriculture.
We’ve come pretty far since our ancestors first developed the tools to cultivate grain
. And yet, that primary ability to develop and apply knowledge to build tools remains just as foundational to who we are. Modern day technology is the next verse to that same song.
Just as parched land yearns for the rain, today’s agricultural supply chains have been stuck in a drought that’s characterized by disjointed information, bulky spreadsheets, and even outdated, manual record keeping practices. At a time when global supply chains are facing enormous challenges
, this deficit in fast, simple, and comprehensive data infrastructure has led to bottlenecks, disruptions, and inefficiencies in the agribusiness.Petrichor
lives up to its namesake. By building a digital solution that’s tailor-made for agribusiness, they’ve created end-to-end visibility for suppliers, merchants, customers, and everyone in between. The result is an agricultural supply chain that’s more efficient and more predictable, with reduced risk exposure.
When Petrichor first reached out to our team at Ole & Lena, the company was going through a drought in their own right. They had all the makings of a comprehensive data pipeline for agribusiness with a great proof of concept
(POC) that had the potential to solve some of the most intractable problems in the industry. But, to put it lightly, the application had a user interface (UI) that only an engineer could love. It was enough to get the ball rolling for initial investments, but it was far from being intuitive enough for the everyday user.
On top of that, the dataflows were opaque. The most challenging part of this project was figuring out how Petrichor intended data to be collected, interacted with, and flow through different pages. Our challenge was converting that into an experience that is simple for end users. We knew that we had to overhaul the design, and doing so would require us to draw on our years of experience working with complex dataflows for supply chains.
Lastly, Petrichor’s product lacked scalability. For their POC, the developers honed in on the cocoa supply chain
. The team recognized that many companies in the industry struggled to maintain visibility of their product and its attributes as it moved across the globe, undergoing various stages of refinement.
But in order to reach their full potential, Petrichor’s application had to serve other agribusinesses, such as coffee, spices, and livestock. Their service had to adapt to the needs of different users so that their clients could keep track of the metrics that mattered most.
One thing was clear: there wouldn’t be a single right way to solve their problem. So we trained our eye on the goals that Petrichor wanted their app to achieve, took in all the factors at play, assessed them, and mapped out the best path forward.
During our initial 2-day workshop, our team evaluated Petrichor’s dataflows, processes, vision, and technology. By leveraging our consultancy, corporate, and supply chain experience, alongside soft skills like cross-functional team building, project management, and problem solving, we forged a full partnership that would serve as the bedrock for the duration of the project.
Equipped with these tools, we began researching the end users. Getting people to adapt to tech can often be challenging, even when there’s a clear value proposition. This is especially true for those who’ve worked in industries that are slow to embrace change and prefer legacy practices. And the agriculture trade is one of the most ancient industries. So we knew that perfecting the execution would be crucial in getting the adoption rates we were after.
We started by implementing human-centered design
, a creative approach to building software that focuses on the user. We needed to build an app that met the needs and expectations of the client, without having them spend a significant amount of time trying to figure out how to use the product. The only way to move forward was to research Petrichor’s ideal user, gather their feedback, and to define what they considered “user friendly” and exactly what kind of data they needed to capture.
While refining the UX design from low fidelity to high fidelity prototypes
, we leveraged our connections to engineer the technology itself. Our development team began programming in React
, building out the database, and employing an Agile methodology
to quickly verify and iterate on their work.
We also built flexibility into the app to address scalability. We gave users the ability to customize fields in-app, while simultaneously adding flexibility into the application’s backend structure, ensuring Petrichor could continue to develop their product as they expand their business.
By working closely together, we created a product that translates data into an experience.
This is particularly true for the UX. We optimized it for non-technical users by honing in on simplicity and usability, making sure that it was intuitive and easy to learn. By the end of the year, we created an app that serves the unique needs of agribusinesses, such as end-to-end commodity data visibility, the ability to generate customs documents with the click of a button, and intelligent notifications and decision support.
As a direct result of our collaboration, Petrichor secured another round of funding that they’re using to continue to expand on their product and grow their business. They’ve also increased their customer acquisition, doubling the number of active accounts.
We look forward to our continued partnership with Petrichor as we elaborate on their product, add more features, and look for new opportunities to deliver tangible value to suppliers, merchants, and customers in the agribusiness.
Want to learn more about how Ole & Lena can help you optimize your app’s user experience, digitally transform your organization, or even develop the next disruptive application from the ground up? Contact us
today for a free consultation.
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