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CNH's Chief Digital Officer Talks About Technology, Goals and What's Coming

Dan Miller
By  Dan Miller , Progressive Farmer Senior Editor
Ag manufacturers need to listen to farmers to understand what they need, and sometimes just shut up and do a better job, said Parag Garg, chief digital officer for CNH Industries. (Photo courtesy of CNH)

MIAMI, Florida (DTN) -- Parag Garg, chief digital officer at CNH Industrial, has worked in consumer technology for nearly 20 years, including Microsoft Windows, Amazon Fire TV and Alexa and 5G Products at T-Mobile. Moving to CNH and its Case IH and New Holland ag and construction brands "resonated" with Garg, he said.

"It's the ability to take all this great technology that's coming out of (the consumer field) and apply it to agriculture" that caught Garg's imagination when he joined the manufacturer 10 months ago. "The ability to make farming more efficient, while helping the planet and having fun along the way, is what really drove me."

During his time with the investment community at the CNH Capital Markets Day last week, Garag offered insight into the CNH's technology goals. Here are some of Garg's thoughts.

AGRICULTURAL TECHNOLOGY VS. CONSUMER TECHNOLOGY:

"I don't think everybody appreciates how much technology there is in ag. I really am enjoying it. Every day when I wake up, I wake up with purpose, right? (We're) actually solving some of the world's problems. And that's my motivation."

MOVING DATA:

"There are all these things that we can do (to move data) onboard (to machinery), to offboarding, and onboarding and offboarding. The more seamless we can make those transactions, the more it feels like a really connected experience. Imagine your smartphone without data. You're on an airplane, and you don't have Wi-Fi. Nothing feels great, it's not magical. It's way limited. But the second it's connected again and you've got that service on the back end, it's a magical experience again. That's the opportunity we can occupy, where the cloud becomes an extension of your eyes."

TECHNOLOGY DELIVERY TO THE FARM:

"We have to listen, understand what they (farmers) need. Why do they need it? Why do they see this as a problem? (Sometimes) we just have to shut up and listen ... This is what they need, and we have to do a better job at it. Not just solve a problem, but solve it with them."

INTERACTION WITH RAVEN INDUSTRIES:

"I can't say enough good things about Raven, they're just a fantastic team. They have some unique ways in the way they work. Their corporate headquarters is in downtown Sioux Falls, (South Dakota), manufacturing is 15 minutes away, and then they have a farm about 15 minutes away. They have this rapid cycle where you can go develop in the office in the morning and really go test on the farm and in the afternoon. That combined with their philosophy of solving great challenges. They have a fantastic team that really understands our farmers."

TIME IN THE SEAT WITH JORDAN:

"Jordan (one of CNH's customers) is amazing. He's a very technology driven farmer. I think he runs over 10 combines. He has created a culture where he's bridging technology and agriculture's culture, and bringing them together. It's the way he treats his employees, the way that he looks at the data, the way that they plan their operations, and then go to the field to actually execute them. It was good to see how technology can be used in an ag operation like that and how technology can really advance productivity and operational improvements."

From Garg's presentation to investors:

-- CNH's vision is to make precision technology so smart and so easy that customers can focus on what really matters to them.

-- With the purchase of Raven Industries for $2 billion, CNH is better positioned than ever to leapfrog the competition.

-- CNH is combining automation and digital services to pave the way to full autonomy and take the operator out of the cab. Farmers will be able run equipment longer, day or night, with less labor.

-- CNH has been testing an Auto-Tillage system.

-- The company also is testing Auto-Spread and Auto-Spray on its sprayer platforms, and then will be pushing on to autonomous solutions across its vehicle platforms.

-- CNH is testing new technologies such as enhancing vehicle communications, so machines don't overlap work areas and that pave the way for autonomy.

Dan Miller can be reached at dan.miller@dtn.com

Follow him on Twitter @DMillerPF

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