From the desk of Dan Strengier, CTO of InnoVint
When I first was exposed to the wine industry, I was shocked to see the cacophony of technology used to run winery operations. Atrocious databases with a UI strapped onto it, a mess of papers and notes. I like to think this wasn’t a choice but almost forced out of necessity. When we built InnoVint, our winery management software, we knew this industry desperately needed a modern software platform.
At InnoVint, we sometimes joke that our biggest competitor is a pencil, whiteboard, and excel spreadsheets. Often times it’s this pieced-together system that runs all of a winery’s operations. While I’ve seen some incredible excel spreadsheets, they are created and controlled by a single person, they’re fragile, and are difficult to use. What if that person leaves the winery? Another scary fact is that whiteboards and notebooks always seem to have conflicting and stale information when compared to the spreadsheet. It’s a recipe for a mess. The good news is that there’s a better way to run your winery operations.
Not All Winery Management Software Is Modern
Before we built InnoVint, we looked at the other production software solutions. Unfortunately, many of these software tools were built using rudimentary development ideologies, back when web application technology was immature. Product Design, User Experience, and Visual Aesthetics were often underdeveloped. As a result, few applications from this time are still seeing new growth today.
Better Software Options Are Available (and Worthwhile)
We aren’t using windows 95 anywhere — but you wouldn’t know it if you looked at the current landscape of the winery production software.
Here is what Windows 95 looks like:
Screenshots from other (unnamed) wine production systems:
As someone who’s built a modern software platform, I’m baffled by these other systems. Most feel like they were ripped out of 1995 as I boot up Windows. Software has changed drastically over the last 30 years and anything built in the 90’s is obsolete. So why does it make sense to continue to use winery management software that is prone to security risks, limited (or expensive) updates, and performance issues? It doesn’t.
What Is Modern Software?
Well-designed software built on archaic technology is not functional. Conversely, modern technology is useless if you don’t create efficient user interfaces. If users are confused or overwhelmed, the system never gets wide-spread adoption and the data becomes stale and unreliable. If you create a product that users enjoy using, the amount of data that gets inputted skyrockets and the true value of the platform is realized.
Modern software prioritizes a deep emphasis between Technology and Product Design. The technology is critical, but it should be built using beautiful and thoughtful user interfaces. You can’t have modern software with just one or the other.
Modern software empowers you. Modern software mimics your workflow. It does not make you change your winemaking process to accommodate the software’s rigid structure.
Modern software allows richer, interactive interfaces. This allows your data to be visualized in interesting, compelling, and insightful ways.
Modern software is easily leveraged by other state-of-the-art technologies. When a platform is stuck using old technologies as a foundation, it’s prohibitively difficult to utilize modern technologies. By continually building and following best practices in the always evolving software space, the InnoVint platform is uniquely set up to leverage other techniques such as GPS and geospatial mapping, push notifications, rich visual graphics, 3D modeling, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and computer vision. All of these technologies can be seamlessly connected to our winery management software.
Modern application software utilizes 100% open APIs. InnoVint is the only wine production software platform that provides this — we have a complete separation between the “cloud” (i.e. server) and the user interface. This creates opportunities for custom software to be built around your InnoVint winery account.
For example, you could hire a UC Davis student for an internship and have her build a custom interface tuned for your InnoVint system; you could automate everything to exactly your liking. I’ve seen people do this — it’s amazing. Our APIs continue chugging away, providing your interfaces with the rich data that’s stored in our cloud database. Or perhaps you’re interested in automating some amazing integration between Siri and InnoVint to read off the last Brix reading for all of your Pinot’s every morning when you walk in the door of your winery.
Modern software future-proofs you. Many winery software companies can’t or don’t want to re-invest the time, effort and dollars into modernizing their platforms. However, these technologies become more and more obsolete and every year new possibilities of bugs, security vulnerabilities, and performance issues crop up as new computers and operating systems continue to break older, unsupported technologies.
Modern software is fast. There is no reason you should be waiting on your software for anything. If you can summon a ride from your mobile phone, why should you wait for your winery production software to refresh a screen?
Modern Winery Management Software Makes Life Easier
It’s crucial to use software that makes your life easier and streamlines processes. Winery management software shouldn’t be a headache or difficult to use. It should be user-friendly, empowering, and quick – putting the information that you need at your fingertips. If your winery software is slowing you down, it’s time to consider switching to software designed for the modern era.