Part 4 – Making Upgrades Easy
Your software should evolve just like new tools, best practices, and accounting standards. Legacy plant accounting software has somewhat changed but it’s a sporadic effort often focused on bug fixes (stuff that should be fixed at no cost), user interface tweaks, and new features that seem bolted on. Most importantly, other companies charge a steep price for upgrades. One accountant told me they were paying for a “user interface” upgrade which included no new functionality. Not only is this a big price tag on an older product, it’d be like asking you to pay full price for a used car from the 90’s.
So far, our weekly blog series on the perils of legacy plant accounting software has discussed why midstream is ready for change, enhancing data transparency and accessibility, improving user experience, and the benefits of a unified platform built on the cloud. Future topics will cover getting rid of Excel-based workarounds and what a complete solution looks like, ensuring compliance, and accelerating processing speeds. But first, let’s delve into upgrades, perhaps the most painful part of legacy solutions and how W Energy Software’s painless process changes the industry’s perception of a software upgrade.
The True Cost of Upgrades
Does it feel like your software vendor is holding you hostage? Have you heard things like, “you have to take this upgrade and you’re going to pay this price or else”? Other software companies charge you for functionality that is critical to your business. This unfairly forces customers to choose whether they want to upgrade their software or continue with an outdated version.
Here are some costs of upgrading other software:
- Time – why should users bear the burden of identifying all software bugs between the new version and their current version? Each client has different business cases and uses software differently. Most companies will not test new releases against your data which takes more of your time.
- Money – some upgrades almost rival the initial implementation cost.
- Complicated upgrade process – upgrades can take months, impacting your team and productivity.
- Incremental updates – legacy plant accounting software is brittle and requires constant hard-coding.
- Product documentation – legacy plant accounting users receive limited and vague documentation, often delaying the upgrade process.
How We’re Different
With W Energy Software, we continuously refine our ERP solution and make new releases readily available through a one-click upgrade process that tests new features against your own data to ensure a seamless experience. Our customers benefit from an all-inclusive licensing model that delivers the confidence that their business is always running on the latest technology and standards. Before our users even see a new code version, we take a copy of their database and test it against the new release to ensure we find and resolve issues before asking your team to perform any regression testing. We don’t believe in charging clients to benefit from other enhancements we’ve implemented for another client. What does that mean for you? It means all enhancements we’ve developed over the last year—new functionality, additional interfaces, and fast processes running even faster get consolidated into each annual release at no additional cost to you. That philosophy separates us from legacy software companies. Of course, each annual release comes with detailed documentation and release notes for changes in functionality.
Forced to Upgrade Support Too
The legacy approach to software upgrades proves that other software vendors designed their product and support model to extract maximum support costs from customers rather than maximizing customer value. Surprising costs are not as surprising when you think of the legacy technology involved, how hard it would be to merge two company’s software into one, and how some people address functionality gaps. This translates into not only having to pay for expensive product upgrades, but also having to budget for additional customer “service”. It’s all just too costly and complicated.
At W Energy Software, we believe that you should not have to upgrade support and maintenance to receive the customer care you expect. Our customers always have access to the highest quality support, no upgrades required. What else makes us unique? We have a standing policy to provide unlimited free training when we have scheduled trainings in our offices (remotely, nowadays).
Measuring Customer Satisfaction
“Do the right thing or your clients every single day.” This motto that hangs in our office is a core value that defines how we build, maintain, and support our software products. There’s no other explanation for how our current customers are so happy with us, not to mention the overwhelming growth W Energy Software is seeing as new customers rush to our platform and service model. But don’t take our word for it—ask our customers what they think.
I’m a data-driven guy so I look for facts to prove points. There is a simple and highly effective measurement tool called the Net Promoter Score (NPS), which is used in every industry to gauge customer satisfaction. This one-question survey simply asks: “would you recommend W Energy Software?” This survey allows us to benchmark us compared to our competition. This survey has a scale of -100 (worst) to +100 (best). As part of a recent NPS survey of our customers, we received an NPS of 47 where our competitors received an average score below -30. Hard to argue with those numbers!
So, if you’re considering “upgrading” your current software, reach out to us, first, to see if your upgrade cost could be reallocated to transitioning to a technically superior software solution.
Ready to learn more? Let’s talk.
This is part 4 of a 7-part series. Read part 5 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.