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25 years of helping rural businesses to thrive

Awards sponsor Landmark Systems has been supporting the rural business community for a quarter of a century with its flexible software solutions. The company puts its continued success down to the entrepreneurial flair of its customers, so is delighted to be backing the Rural Enterprise category.                      

Back in 1987, when a certain Rick Astley was riding high in the music charts, a pair of former Farmplan employees spotted a gap in the market and formed what has gone on to become one of the most respected names in rural business software.

Landmark, now a major player in the provision of agricultural and property management systems, was the brainchild of Nigel Parsons and David Gore, two industry experts with a desire to use their in-depth knowledge of the countryside to help rural businesses succeed. The company they formed had a simple aim: to design software that met the specific needs of rural firms and to back up that software with top quality training and outstanding after sales support. “Those core principles have remained virtually unaltered since day one,” explains Nigel Parsons, now Landmark’s Managing Director.

“We felt very strongly from the outset that the big off-the-shelf software packages with limited after sales support were simply not geared up to meet the needs of farmers, landowners and countryside entrepreneurs.

“We wanted to use our knowledge of the sector to create accounts and management software which recognised the unique challenges of running a rural business.” Landmark started out designing software for farmers to enable them to manage their stock, property and business more efficiently.

But as more land owners started to look at their buildings with a view to renting them out or selling them as commercial or residential property, the company spotted the opportunity to diversify.

“Many of our clients began to dip their toes into the property market because they had redundant farm buildings,” says Parsons.

“Our KEY Accounts package had been perfect for their requirements but it was clear that these needs were changing. We therefore developed a new product called KEY Property to enable existing customers to manage their property assets which integrated completely with their current software.”

In the years that followed, the KEY product range gained an enviable reputation for product reliability and an extremely strong training and technical support service.

“We are very proud of the way the product has evolved to take into account the changing rural business landscape, to the point where we have recently introduced KeyPrime, an exciting new entrant to our software range,” explains Parsons. “KeyPrime Accounts and KeyPrime Property are premium products which recognise how far many rural businesses have travelled along the diversification route. The KeyPrime range can run independently or be integrated with other KEY products. It boasts a number of enhanced features in direct response to the increasing sophistication of many of today’s rural enterprises.

“In many ways the development of the KEYPrime range is the reason we are so pleased to be sponsoring this year’s Rural Enterprise Award.

“Over the last 25 we have seen rural business rise to the challenge of a changing economic landscape by innovating and diversifying. Our company has been successful because the clients we exist to support have been courageous and resourceful in identifying and developing alternative income streams.

“It has been fantastic to be part of that journey and it is always a privilege to see how much enterprising talent is out there. For that reason it really is an honour in our Silver Jubilee year to be putting our name to an award which recognises the many producers, entrepreneurs and craftspeople who create such a vibrant and sustainable rural economy.”


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