Bayer and Microsoft partner to develop digital farming tools

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Bayer will work with Microsoft to co-develop new solutions that address critical industry scenarios such as farming operations, sustainable sourcing, manufacturing and supply chain improvement, and ESG monitoring and measurement.

The companies will do this by developing the go-forward infrastructure for digital farming solutions and data science capabilities. These new solutions and capabilities will be available to businesses – from startups to global enterprises – in agriculture and adjacent industries for use in their own offerings.

Bayer will also migrate its digital farming core capabilities to the new infrastructure for its own customer-facing solutions.

Microsoft Azure
The partnership is step forward in accomplishing Bayer’s target of 100-percent digitally enabled sales in the Crop Science division by 2030 and accelerating its ability to deliver outcomes-based, digitally enabled solutions to customers. – Image: Bayer Crop Science
With its Microsoft Azure Platform, Microsoft is a leading player in the field of cloud computing. That’s why Bayer chose to partner with Microsoft, said Jan Cees Bron, Communication Business Partner Benelux at Bayer Crop Science. “Microsoft began unveiling its suite of industry cloud solutions in October 2020, including Microsoft Cloud for Retail / Healthcare / Manufacturing / Financial Services / Sustainability. We saw opportunity in a similar approach for agriculture. This partnership builds on Microsoft and Bayer’s close collaboration. Bayer uses Microsoft Azure Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things and data services for pest management solutions and internal management.”

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According to Bron, the two companies will make sophisticated, off-the-shelf capabilities commercially available as (1) a business-to-business (B2B) product offering and (2) the foundational, operating platform for their own customer-facing solutions. “Bayer and Microsoft will develop tools that can help with farming operations, sustainable procurement, manufacturing and supply chain improvement, and monitoring and measurement of so-called ESG criteria (evaluating Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance impact).”

Digital solution for start-ups and established innovators
This partnership is designed to develop and deliver the industry-leading digital solution and infrastructure for Bayer, Microsoft and others – from start-ups to established food and ag innovators. “Bayer and Microsoft are building a B2B product offering, not an end-user (e.g. farmer) facing platform like Climate FieldView. There will be no immediate impact for the FieldView user experience. However, leveraging Microsoft’s expertise to maintain core FieldView functionality will enable Bayer to apply in-house innovation toward new, unique value for farmers and dealers,” Bron said.

Bayer and Microsoft intend to implement the new platform in three phases, first focusing on creation of the new platform. From there, Bayer will leverage the platform as the infrastructure for its own customer-facing digital farming solutions. Finally, the platform will be made available for licensing to other companies. Specific timelines and milestones for platform development and commercial availability will be announced at a later date.

Details – including platform name, price structure, initial customers – will be shared at a later date. Right now, there is no pricing information to share.