Software is great until it isn’t. How many times have you found the perfect software solution that looks like it will solve 100% of your needs? And then you realize it only solves 70%.
You then try to justify how you can do without the last 30% for now, and maybe cover the gap with a manual process — all while waiting for the software provider to “add that capability to the roadmap.”
The truth is, most packaged software solutions will never perfectly match your unique business processes because pre-built software applications cater to the lowest common denominator of the problem they solve. Specialty solutions will only get you part of the way there. And when it comes to your unique way of doing business, you ultimately find yourself having to fit your processes to the software, and not the other way around. So how do you make software work for you?
At Trackvia, we hear this story all the time. Our energy and utilities customers tell us about their issues with massive, inflexible ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems, or point solutions that are overly simplistic. In every case, the business has implemented a 70% solution that doesn’t map to their company’s unique business processes.
As the 90/90 rule humorously states, the last 10% of the code takes 90% of the work. Luckily that’s where a low-code platform like TrackVia really shines.
We recently worked with KS Industries (KSI), a single-source service provider in the energy sector, which was struggling with tracking their work in the field. Data collection was slow and inconsistent, leading to mistakes in work and errors in reporting. They were spending upwards of seven hours every week managing data in Microsoft Excel. KSI’s ERP solution lacked a true mobile capability, and way too much time was spent re-entering data to keep it up to date. KSI evaluated several pre-built software solutions, but none offered both the flexibility they needed and an easy way to integrate with the ERP.
To stop the drain of time and money, managers realized they needed to do three things:
- Improve the accuracy and consistency of data collected in the field
- Reduce the amount of time needed to get data into the ERP system
- Keep the ERP system up-to-date with current, accurate, consistent information
How did KSI solve these problems and make software work for them? They built a custom application that addressed all of the above and supported their unique business processes within a matter of weeks.
How did they do that so quickly and easily? With TrackVia’s low-code application platform, building a TrackVia app involves no programming and no coding of any kind. To create its TrackVia app, KSI simply started by importing their existing spreadsheets, then built the rest of their workflows and reports using our drag and drop tools.
The best part: The app KSI built followed almost the exact same process as their manual one (just automated), letting them avoid massive change management efforts to roll the app out to the field. The team already knew the workflow. And, because using the app is so easy, the field service professionals quickly adopted it and use it more than any previous tool. The result? Vast improvements in the consistency and accuracy of data communicated and collected in the field. To learn more about how KSI uses TrackVia, read KS Industries Boosts Margins and Improves Safety.
Because data in TrackVia is available in real time, managers can quickly capture information and keep tighter tabs on what is happening. For example, they can get notifications and alerts when conditions change or things aren’t right. Just as important, TrackVia helps management keep the ERP up-to-date with the data from the field, giving them visibility all the way to the front lines of the business.
ERP systems are great at managing resources, but as anyone in energy and utilities industries can tell you, these solutions can’t come close to solving all the problems that can arise with delivering quality field services, managing assets and equipment, and meeting safety and compliance requirements.
In this and many other stories, TrackVia integrates with and extends legacy systems. Because TrackVia is a complementary solution, there is never any need to rip and replace large systems. Unless of course your current solution is MS Excel – but that’s another story.
We’d like to hear from you. What solution gaps are you experiencing with your current ERP or other systems and how are you managing them?
For more information on how TrackVia can help your organization, read Business Applications for Your Operations at the Speed of Now.