- Public Sector
Modernization of the BC Range Program through the development of an agricultural app. The BC Government’s Range Program allocates and administers hay cutting and grazing agreements on Crown rangeland.
With MyRangeBC over 2,000 range agreement holders in British Columbia can now use the agricultural app online system to more easily create, update and manage their range use plans.
FreshWorks Studio partnered with Quartech to help modernize BC’s Range Program. Available on iPad and web, MyRangeBC is an example of using technology to enhance relationships rather than automate services to remove human interaction.
“This is another example of how technological innovation can make a positive contribution to these time- honoured industries. Rangeland users and government staff worked together to come up with a solution that works for everyone.”
British Columbia’s Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRO) was challenged with modernizing the way that hay cutting and grazing agreements are collected, updated and managed in British Columbia. The ministry recognized that it could provide more efficient and higher-quality service to range agreement holders if it simplified the language, phased out paper-based processes, and designed a new digital platform from the user’s point of view. A paramount focus was also to ensure that agreement holders with varying levels of technical comfort would be able to engage with the agricultural app. Due to the amount of effort and time required to update a RUP, ranchers often did not update their plans until they were due for renewal.
The ministry was eager to understand how to use design to become more innovative and user-centric. It knew it needed to challenge traditional methods of service delivery, but was wary of second guessing end users’ wants and needs. So in 2018, FreshWorks was awarded the opportunity for help to create MyRangeBC — a new online tool that helps BC range agreement holders and staff work together on Range Use Plans.
After about a year of standstill, the project was finally pushed for kickoff. FreshWorks and Quartech partnered on this project and started by creating personas for this project.
Once the personas were created the FreshWorks team was able to produce the first deliverable within only 30 days. This was very crucial to the project as we wanted the Range staff to feel that they owned the product from the beginning.
Through a series of trips to the Innovation Centre in Smithers, BC, our Service Designers tested the application prototype directly with range agreement holders and members of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association to identify strengths and weaknesses and integrate user feedback into improving the application prototype and workflow designs. The team remained agile by working within two-week sprints and demoing and testing along the way. On a quarterly basis, full demos were conducted for all Range staff.
The modernization of the Range program allows for a faster and more direct communication link between clients and Range Program staff, saving time and money for all involved parties. Additionally, the standardized record system is faster to use and easier to keep up to date, it allows access to accurate information about user obligations and processes. MyRangeBC provides the ability to print out Range Use Plans or view them online. Due to the ease of use and reduced time it takes to update a Range Use Plan, MyRangeBC enables more effective government monitoring and management of flood, fire and drought impacts on the land.
As part of the project, the mobile app development team also created a library of tutorial videos for agreement holders guiding them through key features of the application. Our team also conducted two webinars for over 60 range staff to provide additional internal training. All of the videos and webinars have been archived online for easy viewing and on-boarding of new staff and agreement holders.
All new Range Use Plans are submitted electronically using the new standard content requirements. Plans can be submitted, viewed, amended and printed from the website.
Electronic submissions of new plans and amendments allow Range staff and agreement holders to share content immediately. Agreement holders are able to check the status of submissions and contact the identified staff member at any time to discuss their grazing or hay cutting operations.
MyRangeBC uses the secure BCeID for accessing, submitting and signing legal materials relating to crown range agreements. Many individuals may already have a BCeID used for groundwater registration or other BC Government apps.
The MyRangeBC app was built using Swift, React, Redux, NodeJS, Postgres, and Openshift technologies.
Download the App
Through this agricultural app and digital transformation, we’ve taken the range use plan workflow that would typically be two weeks and reduced it to just three days.
MyRangeBC is the foundation to build more tools for Range staff and agreement holders. In the future, the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, would like to have the whole system more streamlined and accessible online.
The team never turned down a request—they always looked for a way to make it work.
"The solution launched and has received praise from internal and external users so far on its ease of use. FreshWorks Studio navigated resource constraints and delays to deliver a high-quality solution that works. Flexible, patient, and organized, the team led a smooth workflow from start to finish."
Product Owner, BC Government Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development