Spreadsheets vs AGROBASE Generation II®

Which is More Costly?

There are still many seed companies that have their breeders use spreadsheet software (such as Microsoft Excel®, Apple iWork Numbers®, LibreOffice Calc®) to manage and analyze their plant breeding data. This is even true of fairly large companies that use expensive software like SAP to run their logistics. Meanwhile, the breeders must develop hybrids and varieties, the ‘lifeblood and future’ of the seed company with spreadsheets. When considering possibly adopting software specially developed for plant breeders, and the eventual issue of cost of the software comes up, the management of some seed companies thinks the plant breeding software is too expensive. After all, the breeders have developed varieties and hybrids without it, so do they really need software? Few seed companies consider the ‘hidden costs’ of limiting their breeders to spreadsheets. But this is like saying that we don’t need a computer since a slide rule would eventually get the job done. Breeders might ask "Why should management use accounting software? It could also all be done in spreadsheets actually – costs, sales, payroll, and so forth can all be done on spreadsheets." But, company management would immediately object for many reasons – and good reasons too. However, similar reasons apply to plant breeders who are forced to remain ‘confined’ to spreadsheets.

Decision makers think of the license cost of the plant breeding software versus not spending on that software. But this is not reality. It is actually the cost of a plant breeding software license compared to the hidden, yet real, costs that any seed company incurs by using just spreadsheets as a software tool for plant breeding. That is reality. Consider the following:

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1. Data Vulnerability
Data vulnerability.

Hundreds of spreadsheets – who controls them, where are they all located, who has access privileges? In most seed companies, data is vulnerable with no firm control. Breeding records are crucial. With AGROBASE, all the data is in a secure SQL-Server database with access restricted to known users. Pedigrees are hidden if required, and even each experiment or nursery can be ‘locked down’ for each user who accesses the database. Serious control for serious data – your data.

2. Lack of Data Standard
3. Data with Errors
4. Data not Connected
5. More Effort to Register Hybrids
6. Time Consuming Operations
7. Breeders spending too much time working with spreadsheets.
8. Wasted effort.
9. Laborious Analyses.
10. Archaic Analyses.
11. Sub-optimal Decisions.
12. Potential Legal Issues.
13. Time consuming data upload.
14. Competitive Disadvantage.
15. Potential decreased valuation upon mergers or acquisitions.

Conclusion: Using Spreadsheets as Plant Breeding Software is More Costly than AGROBASE Generation II.

Using Excel as the plant breeding data management tool comes with substantive, hidden costs. Licensing AGROBASE Generation II plant breeding software is really an investment to maintain and increase a seed company's competitive edge and thus less costly than simply using Excel. AGROBASE Generation II is designed to help increase the probability of developing and releasing the best possible hybrid or variety. As competitor hybrids improve, a seed company`s hybrids have to be better still and stay in the market longer. Only the management in a seed company has an idea what that is worth. So what is more costly – using spreadsheets or licensing AGROBASE Generation II?

Surprisingly, spreadsheets are the more costly software when everything is carefully considered. That is reality.