7 Reasons to Replace Your Legacy Plant Accounting Software: Improving User Experience

Part 2 – Improving User Experience

Building intuitive, user-friendly, and good-looking software is an art and a science.  Business and personal computer software was pretty basic in the 80’s with simple text only and monochrome displays and evolved in the 90’s to window user interfaces designed for 15” CRT monitors.  In the last decade, the cloud, mobile devices, and software-as-a-service revolutionized how developers build software. However, when it comes to legacy plant accounting software, the technology, the look, and the features are still stuck in the 90’s.

 Our 7 Reasons to Replace Your Legacy Plant Accounting Software blog series continues with a critique of the competition’s user experience, the look and feel of the product, and whether functionality meets the standards of today’s energy professionals.  We began the series with a discussion of why midstream is ready for change and how to enhance data transparency and accessibility.  Future topics will include benefits of a unified platform built on the cloud, making upgrades easy, replacing software with a complete solution, ensuring compliance, and accelerating processing speed.

Look and Feel

Legacy plant accounting software doesn’t just look old, it feels old.  I’ve heard clients complain about antiquated prompt screens and horror stories of accounting users having to rely on their IT department just to find data or download results.  Time is money and any time a user must wait costs their company money—especially when it involves multiple departments. Access to the software can also be a pain because legacy solutions were built in the era of on-premise software, relying on a server and PC’s attached over a local area network.  Especially in today’s time, going into the office because your software isn’t accessible from home is not a great idea.

But it’s the clunky nature of the user interface that really makes it difficult for energy professionals to get their job done.  Users are forced to navigate confusing menus and use multiple displays to get information in context. For software that was designed to fit on a small screen 30 years ago, legacy solutions just look bad on today’s high-definition wide-screen monitors.  Some accounting software companies have tried to slap on a new graphical user interface (GUI) but without changing the underlying architecture, they’re still unable to help the user understand the calculations or the impact of setup changes. Even then, it can be very costly to upgrade to a newer version of your accounting software if you don’t have the right partner.

In contrast, W Energy Software’s plant accounting solution is built from the ground up on modern technology by developers using the latest user experience (UX) best practices.  Our slick grids make data easily accessible by allowing users to easily filter their data to what they want to see. And you don’t need to be an SQL expert or know the database tables—simply click download to Excel or CSV from our screens to access your data.  Our screens are intuitive, flexible (hide and move columns), and fast. That’s why users can get up and running with our software fast with minimal training.

Ready to learn more? Let’s talk.

This is part 2 of a 7-part series. Read part 3 here.

Blake Fraley, Director of Midstream Implementation Earning a B.S. in Management of Information Systems from Oklahoma State University, Blake started his career with Deloitte Consulting where he worked as a software developer using SAP, report developer, and PMO support. Joining our team in 2012, Blake was the first implementation consultant and helped start the Midstream team. He loves helping clients make a complicated industry easier using the W Energy Software suite of products. Blake enjoys traveling with his family and almost has as much energy as his two young daughters.

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