Michael Macrie knows the secret ingredient for transformation in the business-to-business (B2B) space.

“The biggest barrier to your success is truly a lack of imagination in the people you work with,” Macrie, who spent five years as svp/CIO at Land O’Lakes, a position he left in September 2018, told delegates at the B2B Next conference in Chicago.

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Michael Macrie, previous svp/CIO, Land O’Lakes

And imagination is why the $15-billion farmer-owned, Minnesota-based agribusiness and dairy co-op – one of the biggest producers of milk and cheese in the US – sponsored a crowdsourced drone competition last year.

It’s also why the organization is now a top provider of agricultural tech and is intent on deploying an arsenal of smart technology – including voice-controlled devices, artificial intelligence (AI), image-recognition tools, and services linked to the Internet of Things – that puts big data at the fingertips of farmers.