Part 7- Accelerating Plant Accounting Processes
What is the most precious commodity in the world? Is it oil? Money? One could make a strong argument that the answer is time. We have a limited amount of it, and we cannot make more. We’ve heard horror stories of how much of that time is consumed by legacy plant accounting software. Maybe you’re experiencing that lag and pain right now.
Hopefully, you’re not in the situation a couple of our clients were in before making the switch to our software. I know it’s hard to believe but they had to set an alarm during the middle of the night to kick off their allocation or settlement process in their legacy plant accounting software. Legacy “solutions” force users to structure their workflow (and yes, even their sleeping schedule) around incredibly slow processing times. What’s worse is that after hours of waiting for a process to complete, they found that process failed for a variety of reasons, forcing them to rerun and hope that it will work the second or third time. It’s incredibly frustrating, time-consuming, and costs midstream companies thousands of dollars in employee time and missed opportunities for higher-value work. How can you prevent PPAs if it takes hours to run a process and you don’t have time to validate the results? Wouldn’t it be nice to click “start” and have your settlement processes complete up to 150 times faster?
We’re wrapping up this blog series, which has explored the challenges and risks posed by legacy plant accounting software. In the final critique, I’ll cover the many ways legacy solutions slow users down and how to drastically improve processing times. Be sure to read or revisit the rest of the topics in the series, which included enhancing data transparency and accessibility, improving user experience, benefits of a unified platform built on the cloud, making upgrades painless, eliminating Excel workarounds, and ensuring compliance.
Time is Money
Even if your plant only has a couple of hundred meters and a few contracts, running allocations and monthly settlements can be calculation intensive and time-consuming processes. Then, consider larger plants with thousands of meters and large-scale transactions whose accounting processes can take hours using legacy solutions. Given the unreliable nature of such software, accountants must coddle processes and pray they will complete without having to rerun them.
Why does it take so long for other software to run processes? Legacy plant accounting software was built decades ago when it was common to install it on a server, physically located in a midstream company’s office. Then, the accounting staff accessed the software on PCs attached to the local area network. This notion of running software on a server is inherently limited and constrained by the computing power of the hardware, which is one reason these processes take so long.
Another reason processes can take so long is how the database is architected and accessed. Inefficient SQL queries, a lack of partitioning, and a general lack of investment in legacy products are driving midstream companies to find something better.
This lengthy delay prevents accountants from validating results earlier, catching any issues before the statements must be sent to producers. When your team is required to spend time fiddling with their legacy plant accounting software, the list of other to-do items just seems to keep growing. As a result, staff spend less time resolving data quality issues, which translates to more prior period adjustments. These issues have a compounding impact on employee time and productivity, creating unnecessary costs for midstream companies.
Run Processes up to 150 Times Faster
The problem is legacy plant accounting software providers don’t have money to invest in their product so they cannot improve processing times without completely rearchitecting the software to take advantage of modern computing technologies. As we’ve seen throughout this blog series, innovation and significant product improvements are nonexistent with the status quo software provider.
When our CEO and founder, Pete Waldroop, started W Energy Software, he had an opportunity to design plant accounting software a second time using the latest technologies. Pete was the lead developer for the most widely used legacy plant accounting solution in our industry. Not only did Pete see how important it was to optimize processes and continuously invest in modern innovations, he brought two decades of product development best practices and lessons learned to the table. The result is that W Energy Software’s plant accounting solution is built from the ground up with meticulously planned features and processes that are lightning-fast.
W Energy Software can run settlement and complex allocations in seconds! What makes this possible is our software architecture is designed to harness the cloud’s on-demand computing power. We’ve developed several proprietary libraries to provide high-speed batch computation and our custom batch processing engine includes unique features that maximize I/O throughput. Finally, our well-trained development team meets regularly to discuss topics related to performance best practices. As an Amazon Web Services (AWS) Select Tier Partner, our developers and software are certified to rigorous standards for leveraging the best-in-class cloud. On the other hand, legacy plant accounting solutions are limited to the computing power of much older technologies.
Make the Switch
You’ve seen several reasons why companies are continuing to switch to our solution. If you struggle with data transparency, a difficult user experience, on-premise issues, being unable to afford upgrades and have workarounds, ensuring compliance with the latest regulations, or are just tired of processes taking forever, reach out to us to see how we can help transform your business processes.
Have questions? Please reach out to our team for more information or to see W Energy Software in action.
Ready to learn more? Let’s talk.
This is part 7 of our 7 Reasons to Replace Your Legacy Plant Accounting series. Read the entire series 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.