April 21, 2021
The new digital relationship platform of Grupo Los Grobo was presented in Mauá society
Gustavo Grobocopatel and Martín Invernizzi, a member of MIND # 6, share details of the work behind the new Grupo Los Grobo platform.

A little over two weeks ago, Grupo Los Grobo's new digital relationship platform was presented to the Mauá society. Martín Invernizzi, a member of the Minders community since issue number 6 of MIND, is part of the team that works together with the businessman Gustavo Grobocopatel in this development that began two years ago and whose time to market coincided, without looking for it, with the turn towards the digital economy raised by the pandemic. We found it an excellent excuse to get to know behind the scenes of a technological development carried out by a huge company that is planning its future. “We tried to make an MVP [Minimal Viable Product], but since we are not a technology company that does a development, but an agricultural production company and at the same time we are consumers, we knew what we needed, both in scope and size, and We understood everything it had to have for us to like it, so we got a product ”, begins by saying Grobocopatel, who leads the project. The platform, which will initially be used by the company's clients, has several verticals, but beyond the enormous work of development and technological integration that involved creating it, the venture drove Los Grobo to work on a change in culture oriented to digitization, and to think of strategies that incorporate the different stakeholders.

What was the starting point from which you decided that this was a development that they had to carry out?

GG- The company's board of directors asked me to imagine what the company would be like ten years from now, and so we began a work that led us to analyze, on the one hand, what was happening in the world, on the other, what our clients needed, and how these clients imagined that future. I traveled to MIT twice, also to Silicon Valley, and I was in contact with the Israeli ecosystem. During that period we analyzed hundreds of Agtech options and fundamentally we did a job with two professors from San Andrés -Jorge Forteza and Luciana Pagani- interviewing producers and leaders of the sector. In this exercise, we realized, for example, that most of the interviewees thought that there was going to be a new technological convergence that was going to transform agriculture, and also that producers required simple solutions to solve their daily problems; With these two hypotheses we began to work on what would become Mauá. Conceptually we define not so much the details as the orientation.

What needs did you detect in this research and how did you define the verticals?

GG- The first pain point that we detected was that the producers found it difficult to access transactional information, they wanted to see the current account in a transparent way, in an easy and friendly way. And that was central, because to achieve this it was necessary to carry out a very complex work of integration with the company's ERPs. But there were also a series of contents that we were interested in making them available because that led to producers staying longer in the platform's environment, and from there the verticals that allow access to Climate and Market Information arose, for example. We also decided to include another very important service, which is information through Satellite Images linked to the productivity and evolution of online crops. Finally, we define the Community section, in which we seek that the link is no longer so transactional or technical but more emotional, both between the company and the clients and between the clients. The idea was to create a space of relational knowledge, a kind of "Waze of agriculture", market decisions and technological decisions, where the collective, through that information, allows the construction of knowledge and makes decisions.

How was the work dynamic?

GG- The first decision was that the development of the platform was not going to be under the umbrella of the daily operation of the company, but that it would be a parallel development with a broad participation of the leaders of the company because finally they were also going to be users, and we wanted them to get involved, to help us design the product. We form a kind of "coordinating committee" to call it somehow - in which four people participate, Martín and I among them, then an expanded committee, which we call a "monitoring committee", with directors and company leaders who contribute their ideas, which is also a space where we share progress. We then create “ad hoc committees”, which are set up and disarmed according to need and to resolve specific issues. It was a very flexible methodology that allowed us, when we were about to launch the platform, that all these users, who were also producers and commercials, knew about it. Of course, we work with areas of the organization such as Sistemas, which had to integrate their ERPs and their BI system, also with companies supplying Los Grobo, and with teams from places such as INTA, the Ministry of Agriculture, Matba Rofex, and with technology organizations for the development and interpretation of satellite images. From the beginning we were clear that browsing had to be a very pleasant experience and that is why we hired what we thought was the best in User Experience, something that people perceive today. It was an interesting technological development experience, but above all it was an experience of digitizing culture and in some way managing change in the organization.

MI- From that place the remarkable thing is that this undertaking is not a spin off of Los Grobo, but rather that we carry out a process of cultural change within the company. It was a decision of the entire management team, which was convinced that doing so would be the most beneficial for the future of the company. So if I had to make a comparison I would say that more than an "agile methodologies scrum" it was a "rugby scrum", in the sense that it was being pushed from all areas. While the development teams wanted to quickly understand what to do to get started, another team was leveling and training people. It was hard work, but when it coincided with the pandemic, it gained a lot of speed. As part of this cultural change, within the research process it seemed important to us to give producers the opportunity to feel heard and for that reason also, in a process that took 45 days, we exposed them to development so that from the beginning they felt part of this co-creation. Their feedback allowed us to add and refine details, but the most remarkable thing is that at launch, when we went inside to present the tool, many of those producers were proud to have participated.

What was the platform's dissemination strategy?

GG- Under the premise that this is not so much a technological or digital issue as it is cultural, in the midst of the entire pandemic, the digitization of relationships and the mediation of technology, we did what we call the “Mauá Tour” , because we wanted to be in person. We toured more than 30 of our branches, and interviewed nearly 300 clients. With each one the experience was to take their cell phone, download the application, and then make them enter and navigate. Why? Because there is a very rigid point where people just don't download the app or if they download it then they don't use it. The interesting thing is that today, after all this, the retention indicators are more than 35%.

What did you learn from all this process?

GG- I believe it was an extraordinary team job because on the ground a bell product was created that strengthened the leadership and skills and hard and soft skills of many people. At the beginning, not everyone was convinced, nor was it known how well it would achieve the impact it would have, how the iban reacted to the customers. We didn’t know if the people of the technology world could understand what the company needed, Los Grobo could speak to those who worked with these technologies, and everything was happening, because the advance of the project went on facilitating. As the project progressed towards greater adhesion and understanding, people began to make creative contributions and thus began to feel part of it. What surprises me and the pension that is successful, is that so many people “get up in the car”. Perhaps because in my experience in the entrepreneurial world, I always had a lot of ideas, but I quickly gained a lot of followers, but in this case, I just wanted to say that it was a collective process. I believe that if a process does not involve everyone concerned, there is a risk of converting into the “lost patrol”, which goes along the sole, without nadie pueda following it.

MI. For my demonstration experience, after working at a much more digital company, this type of organization is able to find the fastest speed between online and offline. Of course, they are in empezó en marzo when they start the pandemic, they are something that works inside the company and it also allows to capture talent that with the beginning of the cuarentena it is scarce because it was taken by the technology companies.

How good is the measure of this development, and what about the limit of imagination on the platform?

GG- Since the beginning we have been advancing with different challenges, first with reach, since with the empowerment that in the case of a well project, we had the technical resolution in time and form, and we managed to make the platform work as we thought it would. Another challenge was that customers accept it, and today we have more than 1000 people who are using the application, which gives us positive feedback in general. Now the challenges are that everything is turning into bad business for the company, and that we can monetize it. So we are going to come with the weather, which we imagine will be from here to there. We have learned a lot of things, and we know that there is still so much to improve and there are features that can surely be added, services that are not on the market now that could be, as for example everything related to digitized logistics, management tracking online, precision farming, building communities to create and share knowledge, etc. It is a way of continuous improvement and also of innovation.

Verticals of Mauá

• Current account. that integrates the information bases of the company to be able to do the home banking of the producer (in pesos and in dollars),
• Granaria account. that makes visible the money in grains that could be used for exchange.
• Weather reports.
• Its own platform that provides satellite images (from the Sentinel 2 satellite, translated together with a team from the Technological University of Tandil), so that the producer can delimit the polygon of his field, and access specific information on the terrain.
• Market. With access to information from the boards of the MAtba Rofex and the Chicago Stock Exchange.
• Supplies. Where the producer can see his transactions with the company
• Community. In which they point to the relational and the generation of knowledge. →

Automatic translation from spanish.

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