Frontier Project Highlights

  • Frontier’s MyFarm now has 4000 users benefitting from simpler data management and insightful analysis tools, to inform their business decisions and ensure their farm and grain management is both efficient and resilient.
  • WHISHWORKS has developed more than 150 APIs, connecting Frontier’s digital platforms and on-premise systems to speed up project delivery and supercharge innovation.
  • The joint team delivered not only on MyFarm, but other innovations like MyMarkets and MyCrop. A new MyCropMarketing app was launched in February this year – the latest in a series of functionality upgrades available to farmers via the MyFarm platform.

The Company

The UK’s leading crop production and grain marketing business, Frontier Agriculture, has more than 1,100 colleagues across 46 UK sites and an annual turnover of around £1.5 billion.

Through successful management of arable supply chains and expert market insight, Frontier’s mission is to be the crop production and grain marketing partner of choice for UK farmers.

The Creation of MyFarm

The MyFarm farm management platform was launched in 2012. Highly detailed crop recording, market data and expert analysis all on a single, easy to access online system: real insight for Frontier customers, right at their fingertips.

MyFarm was created as a free service for Frontier customers that would strengthen relationships between the business and its customers and offer true value to farmers.

After a number of years of successful operation, it was clear that MyFarm’s technology needed to be enhanced in order to keep up with Frontier’s ambitions and their customers’ needs. Internal developers at Frontier became increasingly frustrated by development issues as they tried to create new functionality whilst ensuring MyFarm remained true to the original vision.

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The Solution

In 2018, Frontier engaged WHISHWORKS to develop a new version of MyFarm that would fully realise its potential as a secure, easy-access system that connected customers with their farm data.

To help Frontier make the most of MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform and speed up the development and launch of the optimised MyFarm, WHISHWORKS needed to seamlessly integrate MyFarm with a number of data sources using Anypoint Platform as the key integration layer.

To deliver key data-driven insights to farmers and employees using the Anypoint Platform, Frontier needed:

  • Standardised integration design and governance.
  • The application of best practices at API and platform level.
  • To future-proof their investment through expert platform setup and configuration.
  • The development of in-house capabilities supported by expert training from WHISHWORKS and documentation.
  • The implementation of key integrations to connect internal and external data sources.

“MuleSoft’s Anypoint platform is another tool in our armoury to join up our diverse services and share our expert culture with customers,” said Paul Frost, IT Director, Frontier Agriculture

It was important to Frontier that this API model could be reused as they continued to build on MyFarm as a comprehensive customer platform. It also needed to mechanise ongoing and future initiatives, digital solutions and applications, and be the go-to portal for all of their digital services.

The first priority for WHISHWORKS was to review MyFarm’s existing platform setup and application network, and apply MuleSoft’s API-led architecture to maximise the value of the investment in the long-term.

WHISHWORKS worked directly with Frontier’s team to create and deliver on a roadmap of essential integrations, including the development of numerous APIs. Processes were also streamlined with agile/sprint methodologies so that the joint team was able to more quickly deliver on not only MyFarm, but other innovations like MyMarkets and MyCrop.

“The way that WHISHWORKS structures implementation works really well: in addition to the dedicated on-site people who you deal with day in day out, you’re further supported by a team of experts behind the frontline. You constantly benefit from the knowledge and expertise of the wider WHISHWORKS network,” Paul added.

MyFarm Realised

WHISHWORKS gave a structure to the development and launch of MyFarm that cut through many of the challenges both Frontier and the platform faced.

To date, WHISHWORKS has developed more than 150 APIs, connecting Frontier’s digital platforms and on-premise systems to speed up project delivery and supercharge innovation.

MyFarm now has 4000 users benefitting from simpler data management and insightful analysis tools, to inform their business decisions and ensure their farm and grain management is both efficient and resilient. Other benefits include:

More efficient IT operations:

  • Streamlined processes and workflows with agile methodologies.
  • Improved monitoring and reporting capabilities.
  • Faster development time on other projects thanks to API reusability.
  • Performance optimisation with APIs designed for optimum CPU and memory utilisation, ensuring 100% API uptime.
  • Huge reductions in development effort, time and cost.

Improved user experience and employee productivity:

  • A lower number of calls to the Help Desk team.
  • 30% faster user onboarding.
  • Faster issue resolution.
  • 100% increase in MyFarm usage.

By developing Frontier’s internal capabilities, supported by expert training and documentation from WHISHWORKS, internal IT teams are now able to focus on important business solutions instead of time-consuming development issues.

Through business-to-business collaboration, Frontier and WHISHWORKS were able to not only deliver on the roadmap, but strengthen their relationship for future projects.

We do everything we can to provide expert advice, market commentary and efficient systems for our customers. WHISHWORKS has been able to expertly accelerate the process around creating a platform to facilitate that. They gave a structure to the development and launch of MyFarm that cut through many of the challenges we were facing, and our team is constantly supported by experts behind the frontline. Our team is now doing exactly what they need to be doing, with WHISHWORKS as our software development partner.

Paul Frost – Frontier Agriculture

What’s next?

Following the success of MyFarm, Frontier and WHISHWORKS are working closely on a number of key projects including the migration to Mule 4, the latest version of Anypoint Platform’s runtime engine, as well as the implementation of a data lake to provide Frontier with enhanced finance and sales analytics capabilities.

Frontier is exploring how more advice and market insight can be shared with its customers via MyFarm.

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