Archive Monthly Archives: November 2015

Why price is irrelevant when purchasing software

If you were to look around at all the marketing in our world today, you might be inclined to think that price is all that matters to make a sale. After all, why else would our inboxes be full each morning with special offers, one-day only sales and heavily discounted items we may have been looking at online in the past week?

pricetagWe live in a world where, we, as consumers like to get good deals. But honestly, when asked, most people aren’t in it for the price.

So what are consumers looking for if isn’t the best deal?

“Of course price is important to customers, but it’s seldom the most important consideration. In fact, surveys of customers show that price is usually six or seven items down on the list of importance,” said Michael Boyette, executive editor at Rapid Learning Institute.

This trend is especially true when someone is purchasing software.

Why is price not the only factor involved?

Too Much Risk

First, not many companies who are shopping for software have the time to shop based on price alone. The majority of software companies – especially niche software companies don’t generously display their prices online.  The reason? We too know that serious clients aren’t purchasing on price alone because there is too much risk involved.

Case in point: Let’s say Bobby wants to purchase oil and gas software. The reason he’s even looking for software is because he has a need for it. Either something about how he’s handling his oil and gas presently isn’t working for him, or he’s just starting his business and wants to start it off right.

If Bobby bases his research and purchase solely off of which software company has the best price – then he likely hasn’t taken the time to see if the software is capable of handling the specific issues he started looking for in the first place. He also doesn’t see the value of the software he just purchased because all that mattered was price – a lose-lose situation for both Bobby and the software company.

Bobby didn’t spend the time to qualify if the software could handle everything he was looking for or even if it was the best solution period for his needs. Now Bobby has a mediocre product, but an intact budget, and the software company has a new, but unhappy client who will cost them more time and money in the long run, and who will end up walking away to the next software company who can offer a solution at a cheaper price in the future.

Price vs Value

So what does matter if price doesn’t when purchasing software?

“Customers will shop on price if they have no other way of differentiating you from your competition,” said Carolyn Higgins, president of Fortune Marketing Company.

Software purchases will ultimately come down to this: What is the company’s perceived value of the software and will it help alleviate their pain point?

You might opt out of purchasing a software program and say it’s because the price was too low or too high, but in reality, what you’re actually saying is that you didn’t go ahead with the purchase because you didn’t think the software was worth it. In your mind, you already have an idea of what value the software holds to you – and if what you’re looking at doesn’t reach that threshold – it doesn’t matter if it was the best deal or not.

The truth is that “people overvalue what they have, and undervalue what they don’t have,” said Neil Davidson in his book Don’t Roll the Dice.

Unless you can see the value of what the software can do for your company, you’ll go on price any day – and still not have the best solution for your business.

Value-Based Software

So how do you go about perceiving value?

“When somebody buys software, they want reassurance that it’s going to work and that you’ll be around if it doesn’t,” Davidson said.

Value is in what the software company can offer besides its price.

In Bobby’s search for oil and gas software – he places value in a product that has been used by others like him and that works well. If he’s doing the research, Bobby will want to know that others have used the software and what they think about it. If he’s going to invest time and money in this search, he probably also wants to see how the software works, ask some detailed questions of the support staff and understand what exactly will it take for him to get up and running.

In truth, he’s looking for the support system behind the software. The people. Their values. The way they run their business. Does it align with what he needs? Once Bobby has those questions answered, then he’s likely ready to buy and price won’t matter – whether it’s higher or lower than competitors.

What do you value when searching for software?


Source: SherWare Blog

5 Tips For Making Sure Your Data Converted Successfully

checklist

Having your data converted from one oil & gas accounting system to another can be either a joy or a pull-out-your-hair experience. Once the data is converted you must do some checking to make sure that it converted correctly before operating the new software as your production system. Here are 5 things that must be checked to make sure the data converted correctly.

1. Check your division of interest listing to make sure that all wells total 100%.

Since the heart of a revenue distribution/joint interest billing system is the division of interests, you must make sure that the DOI converted correctly. The easiest way to check this is to look at the interest totals for each well to make sure they still add up to 100%.

2. Look at the owners and interests on hold.

Make sure that those owners and interests that were “on hold” in the old software are still marked as being held in the new software. You don’t want a surprise of several extra checks showing for owners that shouldn’t be receiving checks the first time you run a distribution in the new software.

3. Check owner suspense balances, if converted, to make sure they match what was showing on the old system.

If you had the suspense balances for the owners converted, make sure that the converted balances match the balances from the current system. Otherwise you’ll be paying out more or less than you should the first distribution or billing that is run.

4. Check year-to-date and inception-to-date totals by owner and by well and match to the existing system.

The owner totals are where the 1099 amounts come from so you must make sure that the amounts match the current system before continuing. Otherwise the 1099s at the end of the year will be incorrect.

5. Run a revenue distribution and/or joint interest billing on both the old software and the new and compare statements and checks.

Most people don’t think they have time to run a parallel revenue distribution or joint interest billing, but this is the best way to catch conversion mistakes. It is also the best way to gain peace of mind in the conversion process when you see the statements and checks matching. Sometimes you find the mistakes were with the old system in that it wasn’t handling something properly that was never caught. We’ve seen this repeatedly.

Data conversions are not for the faint of heart, but there are some things you can do to make sure that the conversion goes smoothly.

 


Source: SherWare Blog

Does anyone still use disks to install software? Should you?

Remember the days when you’d anxiously await the arrival of your new software installation CD so you could finally get started on your new software?

While some companies still rely on install disks for their software I see it eventually going away. Companies that still use install disks sell them in a retail environment, because, let’s face it: it’s silly to sell an empty box with a download link, although I’ve seen companies do it… *cough TurboTax*. This option is seen less frequently now since most software doesn’t require the disc to run it if you’re using up-to-date operating systems.

In the past few years, software giant Adobe has done away with discs and made everything available online for purchase and download through links alone.

With the rise of web based apps and downloadable content, issuing a install disk is outdated as soon as you put out an update. So it makes sense that we see more and more companies going to an install link vs. an install disk. It definately expedites the install process.

I would assume there are people out there that hold onto the data disc and like knowing where it is purely for the nostalgia. I have a stash of CDs from my childhood that I keep for no other reason than to look at them and relive the memories. (Other than that, they just collect dust). 

CDs were vital to software companies originally so the user could install the game or application on a new computer with the disc (and it didn’t get scratched). But this was also a time when internet speeds were creeping along and a download would take weeks not minutes.

Today with the Internet assisting in daily operations it would be more trouble than help to have a CD on hand. Here at SherWare, I’m at work around 8+ hours a day on the computer. Since getting my MacBook Pro over a year ago, I’ve installed probably 10-20 different programs that I use. In the last year I can count how many times I’ve touched an install disk: 0. My computer doesn’t even have a CD drive. If your updates come from the Internet anyways, why can’t your install files?

The simple answer: It can, and should.


Source: SherWare Blog

5 Best Oil & Gas Blogs to Follow

Does catching up on current events that aren’t promoted on your Facebook newsfeed or highlighted on the the radio seem like a luxury? Blogs are where I usually turn to to decompress, but honestly, the oil and gas industry doesn’t have many interesting bloggers right now. Instead, here’s a list of the top five sites for the oil and gas industry. Each site has pros and cons, but will give you a variety of places to find current events, trends and analysis of what’s happening in the oil and gas industry.

SmartBrief Energy & Chemicals

I love this site as a source for oil and gas trends and news because it not only collects from 200+ e-mail newsletters and trade associations, but it’s content that is relative to what’s going on today in the United States.

Pros: This site gives you the headline and the first paragraph of the article – so you can either browse the main page to see what catches your eye, or click on the link for the full article. If I’m browsing blogs, it’s because I have a short amount of time and need a mind break – so I don’t want to spend my time following links.

Cons: I can’t think of any! I really like this site to quickly get an idea of what’s going on across the board.

Oil & Gas Journal

The Oil & Gas Journal is a go-to place to find articles, white papers and analysis on the industry at every stage of the production process – from exploration and drilling to refining and processing and pipelines and transportation.

Pros: This site really hits all facets of the oil and gas industry so it’s not only relevant to the downstream but the upstream sector as well. It also probably has the most research and articles that highlight trends, facts and data analysis as opposed to straight news articles.

Cons: The majority of articles require subscription to access the highly-detailed articles, but you can also sign up for weekly e-newsletters too.

Energy Industry Today

A website that collects energy related articles and aggregates them from a myriad of sources. These articles will tend to be broader world-view oil and gas news such as: “OPEC to keep ‘no output cut’ policy” and “Oil Price Forecast: Could Iran Deal Push Prices Higher?”

Pros: Registration is free for a majority of the articles and you can search for feeds that contain exactly what type of news you’re interested in.

Cons: The site only lists headlines so you have to click and read a bit to get a good synopsis of the article.

Google Alert for Oil Industry News

Google alerts are great for many reasons – but the news feature is like Google search on steroids. I love that it collects the most recent news articles and gives images and a brief synopsis right in my Google page.

Pros: It’s produced by Google – so its user experience is easy, intuitive and one click away if you already use Google for searching for news anyways. It also contains a variety of articles from all locations – not just the top stories run over and over on the same page.

Cons: If you’re looking for insight into the oil and gas industry – this isn’t the place to start. This feed is strictly going to be news stories pulled from the web.

ExxonMobil Perspectives

Yes, this is put out by a huge oil conglomerate, but I think its opinion pieces and perspectives on issues the industry is facing today such as fracking, global oil markets and energy topics in general is not only informative but interesting to read.

Pros: It’s not a curated content site for news like the others. Here is a place where you’ll get a little bit on insight into what top energy industry leaders and experts in the field think on timely topics.

Cons: It’s not a neutral site because it’s put out by Exxon. But it’s not a place where they overtly promote their business -and even if they did, it’s their site, right?

Where are the places you browse to first for headlines regarding the industry? What do I need to add to this list?


Source: SherWare Blog