Elders tech overhaul aimed at empowering mobile workforce

The Australian agri-business turned to Dell Technologies for help with enabling a mobile workforce.

Elders considers itself the largest, and oldest, agri-business in Australia, having been in operation for over 180 years.

It provides various services to primary producers throughout the entire production cycle, covering finance, banking, and real estate services to wool, grain, and livestock trading.

"Australia's gone through depressions, recessions, and droughts and Elders has been there along the way and I think that's what's made the brand so well known and iconic out there in farming communities," said Scott Placentino, service delivery manager of end-user services at Elders.

The Elders of 2020 is vastly different to the Elders of 1839 however; the current operation even differs to that of 10 years ago.

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According to Placentino, Elders' equipment fleet mostly comprised desktops, but over time it has evolved to be more mobile-centric.

"We have more road warriors, people in meetings, working from home," he said.

"Elders has over 300 locations around Australia with 3,000 employees, so having our workforce connected and be able to communicate and collaborate easily is something that we strive for."

Elders turned to Dell Technologies for maintaining its modern-day operation. The tech giant supplied Elders with laptops, desktops, monitors, and accessories to all of its employees. Elders also works with Dell Financial Services (DFS) to lease each device.

"This process allows us to maintain a fleet of modern devices," he added.

Placentino told ZDNet some of Elders' larger hub sites also have local server requirements, resulting in the purchase of NAS boxes -- Dell PowerEdge T340 Servers. These are used for local storage of files and local application databases.

"At Elders IT, our mission is to enable our employees to be as productive as they can be through providing them tools and systems, and strategies to enable our employees to do their work on any device at any time," Placentino continued.

"Dell Technologies has certainly taken away some of the heavy lifting from Elders. Not only do they provide a device, they also provide deployment services, asset management services, and also leasing services as well -- frees up our time to focus on our end users and what their changing needs are to make sure that we're providing services that are making them more productive and efficient."

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In overhauling its tech, Placentino said considering the needs of Elders' end users is "incredibly important in the decision-making process".

"Whether this is through conversations with employees or customers, we make sure we regularly review feedback," he said, noting the importance behind understanding the needs of employees so the company can identify solutions that can meet their requirements.

"This is an ongoing process so solutions like DFS really help us to revaluate our end-user devices, and quickly and easily replace or upgrade units when needed."

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