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How Duppal and Zoom digitalised the agricultural sector in 1 month

To allow the work to continue in corona times, Duppal realized a Zoom environment for LTO Noord in one day. A month later, the agricultural Netherlands could no longer live without it. “It’s even better than we expected.”

Futurologist Jules Verne could have imagined it in 1860: a driver of LTO Noord who, while harvesting, attended a meeting via Zoom on his smartphone from the soundproof cab of his tractor.

It’s been happening since March 2020.

Agricultural Netherlands is using Zoom.

And that has further increased the effectiveness of LTO Noord.

“Corona accelerated digitization,” says Johannes Dolislager, Head of Communications at LTO Noord.

LTO Noord is the interest group of farmers and horticulturists in the 9 northern provinces. The organization is the link between members, governments, society and the business world. The directors are mostly farmers themselves and the association employs 160 people. The head office is in Zwolle, the other offices are in Zoetermeer, Drachten and Wageningen.

Corona causes uncertainty everywhere. Farmers and horticulturists are also worried. In order to support its members in the best possible way, LTO Noord already scaled up the number of information lines at the time of the first outbreak. People needed faster communication. Until corona, the weekly newsletter was enough for members and stakeholders. A month after the outbreak, 91% of the departments were on WhatsApp, meetings were held via Zoom and the communications team held the first webinars.

Employees have welcomed the further digitization of services with open arms. In recent years, working independent of time and place was already common practice at LTO Noord. “Our people live and work all over the country,” Dolislager explains. “For a meeting, you could easily travel 100 kilometers there and 100 kilometers back. That’s fine if you have six appointments on one day at the same location, but if you only have one or two appointments at one location, you can also do that from home.”

Because LTO Noord already facilitated working from home, the organization was able to deal with the effects at the start of the corona crisis well. Digital meetings took place via Skype, Teams and soon via Zoom as well. Immediately afterwards, LTO Noord switched to providing location-independent hardware so that everyone could set up an up-to-date digital home workplace with a good office chair, a good screen, a laptop and a docking station.

To avoid a patchwork of video tools, employees were asked what they thought was the most pleasant application to work with.

Question 1:

What makes you happiest?

Question 2:

What works best?

‘Zoom’, was the answer. ‘By a mile’.

The arguments:

  1. All participants are in the picture
  2. Ease of use
  3. Image quality
  4. Sound quality
  5. Accessible to everyone

“Managers like being able to see all their employees. Then you’ll know if someone’s feeling good or not. In times of corona, that’s especially important. In other applications, people who don’t say anything don’t show up on screen. Through Zoom’s mosaic screen, you can see all the participants at once.”

650 meetings per month

The ICT manager of LTO Noord approached Duppal to find out what would be involved in implementing Zoom. “We wanted a system that was safe and easy to use and that offered support in Dutch,” Dolislager explains. “That’s how we ended up with Duppal.” Because meetings of LTO Noord usually take longer than is possible with the free 40 minute Zoom version, Duppal suggested doing a test to see if the investment in a paid version would pay off. Within a day, the kick-start program was set up. LTO Noord purchased 20 licenses and the rest is history. “It went very well very quickly,” Dolislager noticed.

In order to support the users optimally, Duppal developed an adequate user adoption plan. Users received:

  • A Dutch manual, designed in the corporate style of LTO Noord
  • Online training, with practical handles, tips and tricks
  • Technical support

 

Licences pay for themselves

“I’ve heard nothing but positive feedback. All colleagues were happy,” says Dolislager. So the plea was quickly settled. Not in the least because a Zoom license turned out to be less expensive than the LTO Noord travel allowance for employees and drivers who had to travel hours for sometimes just a single consultation. “Even with three days a week in the office and two from home, the licenses pay for themselves,” Dolislager calculates.

The number of licenses was therefore quickly increased to 40. By mid-April, everyone was convinced and employees and directors were used to the new way of working. Measured over a month, LTO Noord now has some 650 meetings and Zooms for 250,000 minutes. In addition, LTO Noord has opted for two Zoom Webinar subscriptions.

Each type of consultation is conducted via Zoom: one-to-one interviews, application interviews, team meetings, presentations, project meetings, you name it. “Generally speaking, anything is possible and anyone can participate. People from outside the organization don’t need to have or download the application to be able to participate. They can zoom in via a web link and close the page when the meeting is over.”

 

Security

LTO Noord only regrets that some parties have put up Zoom blockades. Because of alleged security issues, governments force their employees to consult via Microsoft Teams or Skype. “Zoom could have paid more attention to that,” says Dolislager. The communications manager remembers an incident at a municipality where a visitor disrupted an online meeting with pornographic images and annoying slogans. The municipality had put a public link for a public call online, which anyone could use. So it wasn’t a hack, but rather negligence and a wrong attitude. Nevertheless, a national discussion about safety arose.

 

Settings and adjustments

LTO Noord immediately asked Duppal for clarification. Duppal in turn called in Zoom specialists to answer all the questions. Shortly after, Duppal organized an online security meeting for its customers to discuss the settings and adjustments and to deal with the alleged security issues once and for all.

  • Zoom no longer allows users to directly attend a meeting. They must first make themselves known to the organizer.
  • Zoom has provided each call with a password by default, making meetings impossible to hack.
  • A meeting disappears forever into nothingness, unless the organizer records the meeting.
  • By default, the security is set to the highest level.

 

Check ✔️

An example. The Dutch Food Week. Normally, 50 people travel to 1 place, somewhere in the Netherlands, to discuss activities for the event. In 2020, they met via Zoom. Dolislager: “One minute before the meeting they walked to the computer, one minute after the meeting they were back on the couch.” After the brainstorm, the project leader made a plan and provided financial coverage. In the second Zoom call, the tasks were divided. “It went so much faster than usual. Now it was a matter of dialing in for an hour, instead of traveling through the country for three evening meetings in three different regions. We’ve really become more incisive.”

 

From a tractor

An example. The Dutch Food Week. Normally, 50 people travel to 1 place, somewhere in the Netherlands, to discuss activities for the event. In 2020, they met via Zoom. Dolislager: “One minute before the meeting they walked to the computer, one minute after the meeting they were back on the couch.” After the brainstorm, the project leader made a plan and provided financial coverage. In the second Zoom call, the tasks were divided. “It went so much faster than usual. Now it was a matter of dialing in for an hour, instead of traveling through the country for three evening meetings in three different regions. We’ve really become more incisive.”

Duppal’s tips

Tips for cool brainstorms

Online brainstorming in Zoom becomes a lot more fun with breakout rooms and whiteboarding. With breakout rooms, you divide participants into groups so that they can, for example, discuss a topic within their group. A whiteboard is a digital flip chart. All participants can type and draw on it. A tried and tested way of collecting ideas.

Polling is another cool feature. Participants can ask each other questions and thus gauge an idea or opinion. That can be very enlightening. The breakout rooms and polling are offered in Zoom by default and can be set via ‘advanced settings’.



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