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Posted 12/20/2022 08:33 (#9993900 - in reply to #9894519)
Subject: RE: Traction

SW Nebraska Panhandle

I was a 20yr+ Farmworks user.  When Trimble bought them and basically sidetracked Farmworks I continued to use the program as I was used to it and it gave me reliable cost of production.  Ample reports for budgeting and taxes and anything else I needed.  But support was gone, they got rid of the "Discussion Board" where I actually got a lot of answers and it was a desktop only program.  

When I heard several of the ex-Farmworks staff was starting a new program (Traction) I thought it would be a chance to get an improved program that had Farmworks features.  I subscribed a year ago and signed up for Basic, Plus and they threw in Pro since it was not complete.

Well now they have increased the price and are now charging $2850/yr for Pro (going up to $3350/yr after 1/1/23).Thats OK because Pro is essentially for accrual accounting and I am a cash basis farmer as I suspect many small and medium size farms are.  I did not need Pro. However, what pi$$ed me off was they now require you to buy Pro in order to allocate machinery costs to fields and crops AND crop inventory does not show up in the Balance Sheet unless you buy Pro.  What in the world does allocating machinery costs and including crop inventory have to do with accrual accounting.  I refused to buy Pro and expressed my opinion and dissatisfaction to them in rather strong terms.  But I am only one small customer.

I do like the web-based aspect and it is great in that it automatically downloads bank and CC transactions which does save time.  ALso we use Climate and it also downloads field operations from Climate which is also a great feature.  But as far as a program to replace Farmworks it is far from it.  The ability to get data out is horrible (not looking forward to working out my taxes this year).  It is essentially a black box (data -in - nothing out).  Farmworks had a ton of reports to be able to actually use the data to help make decisions and get info for others.

I used to deal with a big database in another industry before I got back into farming.  I do totally understand the complexity and time it takes to get a new database program up and running.  Most startups are "black boxes" as the emphasis at the beginning is getting the data model built and writing the interface to capture the data.  Getting useful data out usually comes later and they have to hope they do not lose too many customers when they realize they can't make use of the data they spent so much time collecting and putting into the database.  In talking to the folks at Traction I get the impression they are not that worried about data reporting.  So I am concerned.

The program still has a long ways to go IMO.  Everytime I ask how to do something the answer is always "it's on our to-do list".  Hopefully, they can get some of these working and fixed soon.

A huge thing I liked about Farmworks was their Discussion Board.  It was facilitated by Farmworks and their support staff did a great job at answering questions.  Plus other users would chime in and provide assistance if they could.  I got 99% of my answers from the Discussion Board.  If I had a problem or question most of the time someone else had the same and had gotten to the answer.  And I could find out at 10 at night (which is when I do most of this kind of stuff).  I have talked to Traction about a Discussion Board but only received a lukewarm response.  It might be worth starting a Traction Discussion Board on NAT if other Traction users are interested.  Or perhaps a Facebook Group.

Once you get a year's worth of data in a program it is hard to switch so you have to decide to stick with it once you start down a path.  What really pi$$e$ me off was requiring purchase of the very expensive Pro just to get what I consider to be a normal function (machinery cost allocation and crop inventory on balance sheet).  I think that verges on unethical just to get you to buy Pro for 3 grand.

Traction just bought Conservis.  Eventually with time and bringing in some of Conservis's good features it will eventually get to be where it needs to be I hope.

I think it is pretty stupid to focus on large operators.  There are a lot more medium and small sized operations like mine out there but you also can't price yourself out of that market.

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