The Future of Oil & Gas Accounting Software: Web Based?

One of the fastest growing trends in technology today is the “saas” revolution, or software as a service, and by 2012 it is expected to dominate the way people use software. I’m talking about Web Based Oil & Gas Softwareweb-based software like what you probably already use every day without thinking about it such as Amazon, TurboTax and GoToMeeting.

The business landscape is rapidly changing from desktop computers to the Internet, as more businesses need to take their work on the road or even just home.

Web based software is a type of service that makes sense to a lot of companies because there is no software to download or install and instead they just have to purchase a subscription or per user fee and login.

Companies such as Intuit are already moving their products to be web-based. Last fall, Barry Pennett, vice president of sales at Intuit, said Intuit, the company behind QuickBooks, would have a “saas” version of their products as well as a way to interact online with their “in-office” versions by August 2010, at Boomer Technology Circles All-Circle Summit. Pennett acknowledged that web-based software is where the future is headed for most software companies. He said Intuit has to offer its clients the ability to take advantage of their products where and whenever needed. Intuit already offers a QuickBooks online version and easy online payroll.

As a software company, we too have to look to the future and see what our customers need. We have to think: Where is the future of oil and gas accounting software headed? With how fast the Internet is taking off, why wouldn’t a web-based version of oil and gas accounting software also be feasible? Our thoughts exactly. That is why we are currently working on creating web-based versions of our software this year, beginning with a new Investment Manager software, intended for investors in the oil and gas industry to track their investments.

Personally, I would do everything online if I could. I love the ease with which I can take care of everything with the click of a button and in one place. Why wouldn’t you also want to run your business the same way? Here are some thoughts on why you should seriously consider using companies that offer “software as a service,” adapted from Vinny Lingham’s list.

  • The obvious reason is that your software is available anytime, anywhere. With Wi-Fi locations popping up on every block and the way businesses now operate not only in an office, but in the air and on the road; it makes it so important today to not be tied down to a desktop computer with software stored on your company’s server.
  • You don’t have to wrestle with installing the software. Almost everyone has probably experienced problems trying to install software on a computer with invalid registration codes, selecting the wrong preferences or even installing the software to the wrong location. How much simpler would life be without install disks and registration codes collecting dust on a shelf?
  • Bugs encountered in the “saas” environment should be minimal, as the software will no longer depend on what type of computer or server you use at your office to operate seamlessly. Who doesn’t love the promise of less bugs anyways? Or no bugs, for that matter.
  • Similarly to the previous reason, customers no longer have to worry about constantly upgrading their systems to work with the software. Platform issues no longer exist because it won’t matter if you use Windows XP, 2000, Vista, Windows 7 or a Mac. As long as you have a computer, Internet access and can type, you can use the software.
  • With as popular as social media is today, web-based software can give companies the opportunity to integrate social networking and allow companies to chat in real time online amongst themselves or even with other users.
  • Data is now safe and you can stop fearing the next computer or server crash or that you forgot to backup your data for a whole month. “Saas” takes the pressure off businesses to remember to backup their data, since it will be stored virtually with the software provider’s servers, available at any time.

With that said, software companies coming out with “software as a service” doesn’t make everything perfect. It doesn’t even mean that the web-based service will work or that clients will flock to the new opportunity.

As with any business venture, the saas revolution isn’t going anywhere unless it truly meets the client’s needs and still solves the problems they want solved. Making it work online isn’t enough. Software companies need to offer all the features needed to make businesses run smoother, while providing a simple interface that makes you forget its work. Complicated options and shoddy support and technical service negates all the good of the saas revolution.

The Value of Online Software Demos

Software DemoPerhaps you are aware, but perhaps not. We offer free software demos. And now that you know, you should also know why.

At some point in any company, software to help the business run faster, better and more efficiently will have to be evaluated. Small companies who run on spreadsheets don’t get to be big companies by staying on spreadsheets, meaning everybody needs software! With that in mind, it is important to understand how software demos are typically handled and why we are different.

The most common way to evaluate software is by installing an evaluation version of the software and attempting to use it in real life in your own business environment. The problem with this method is that it doesn’t produce the best results for you, or the software company, for that matter.

This method creates problems when evaluating companies like yourself have to install the software and then run into issues off the bat between the new software and existing systems. These problems require the evaluator to halt the process to contact tech support before they’ve even seen how the software works.

Not only will the company feel annoyed at the delay, but it becomes a productivity delay, creating downtime in an already drawn-out process of trying to buy software.

The typical length of time required to make a purchasing decision about software from the evaluation process to the final decision is eight to 20 or more weeks, depending on the type of software needed and the number of people involved. Companies now often have everyone from the CEO to the IT tech to the secretary involved in the buying process – making the number of people involved in a software buying decision anywhere from 3 to more than 25 on any given sale.

If the process is this difficult to start with, why make it harder by giving you a program to work through on your own from start to finish?

We feel the best way to visualize how our software could fit with your company’s goals and needs, is by going through a live online software demo at a time convenient for you. Our free software demos take anywhere from 30 minutes to more than an hour. It all depends on what you need for your business and how many questions you’d like to discuss. Our demos are not pre-recorded and are tailored to what you want to see.

Here is how they work:

  • First, you contact us by calling or requesting an online demo here on our Web site.
  • We will contact you as soon as possible to schedule the demo at a time that works best for you.
  • You will be sent an invitation to Join A Meeting online by clicking on the link and calling the number provided to you to join the conference call. This will give you the ability to view our computers from the comfort of your own office. As many people as you want to attend the accounting software demo from your company can click on the link and join the conference call.
  • Our support technicians will walk through the software to give a general overview of how it works. By getting your input and understanding how you operate your business, we can tailor the demo to show you the functions that will maximize your productivity for each revenue distribution and save you time.
  • After we have been able to answer any questions and show you what features are “make-or-break” for you to make a decision, the next step is up to you.

Our number one goal is to show potential buyers how our oil and gas accounting software can really work for their business. We want it to be a great fit for your company as well as for ours. Downloading links for demonstration versions of the software won’t answer your questions, nor will it help us see how you could best use the software.

What if you could speed up the process for buying the oil and gas accounting software you need, just by going through an online demo? Cut out days or weeks of your evaluation process by getting all your questions answered at once. Instantly see for yourself if the software has the features needed to run your business. What’s the cost to you? An hour of your time.

Request a free accounting software demo today and see how our oil and gas software can fit with your business.

Using Social Media to Collaborate in the Oil & Gas Industry

It’s probably safe to say that a majority of you in the oil and gas industry use or are familiar with some of the new social media tools available today, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. In this era of instantaneous demand for knowledge, it’s becoming normal to know what people everywhere are thinking or doing at any given time.connecting to the oil and gas software industry

Have you thought about integrating these social media tools for your oil and gas business? In an article written by Next Generation Oil & Gas Magazine, the author breaks down a recent survey, the Oil and Gas Collaboration Survey 2009, conducted by PennEnergy in partnership with the Oil & Gas Journal Research Center, which surveyed industry personnel across the world about how to collaborate in the oil and gas industry better.

The survey found that more than 70 percent believe that collaboration and sharing knowledge is important in many realms of the industry, but that most of their businesses are not utilizing these newer technology tools available today. Almost half of the respondents thought they could save a least an hour each day by using newer social media tools as opposed to face-to-face meetings, e-mails and conference calls.

“In the oil and gas industry, collaboration is a key strategy to reduce costs, improve efficiencies and promote collaborative working relationships among oilfield asset teams located in remote locations around the globe,” says Jill Feblowitz, practice director at Energy Insights in the article. “Energy Insights believes that the momentum behind Web 2.0 will bring it to the oil and gas industry. Web 2.0 technologies can support the following industry requirements: connection with remote geographic locations, knowledge capture, knowledge access, informal knowledge sharing, and joint ventures and team projects.”

These new technologies include internet portals, where businesses can access their companies information from anywhere, allowing collaboration from all locations, time zones and countries; social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.; video or photo sharing; blogs, and wikis, which are online versions of encyclopedias or references where topics, articles, questions, documents can be stored and accessed online.

Another technology used by businesses are cell phones. The number of people using smartphones such as the BlackBerry and iPhone has exponentially grown in the past few years, changing the landscape for how we connect with people. Phones are no longer used just as a contact tool to stay in touch with others. We can now, in theory, be able to complete everyday tasks from paying bills and ordering things online to checking e-mail, video conferencing and editing documents.

Respondents from the survey found that they could use social media tools to capture knowledge of some of the older generation engineers and employees retiring. A growing problem in the industry is that a number of the experts and experienced workers in the industry are now retiring – and taking their knowledge of the industry with them.

At our own office, we find ourselves using new media and technology to make sure our office is running as smoothly as possible. Many of the software programs we use to stay in contact with our clients are based in the “clouds,” or hosted online instead of the traditional programs you download to your computer. This allows real-time integration of all of our documents, records and correspondence with clients and prospective oil and gas software clients. It also allows us to interact from different time zones and offices without losing any data.

We also use other technologies such as Twitter, to connect with those in the oil and gas industry and others who also work with software to discuss issues we’re currently working on and to ask advice for those we haven’t seen before, Instant Messaging, to interact with our clients in real-time to answer support and software questions, and GoToAssist, which allows us to connect to our clients’ computers to solve any issues they’re having.

Read the whole article from Next Generation Oil & Gas here.

What about you? Does your organization implement any knowledge-sharing or collaboration through any new social media technologies? If not, how could you implement some of these at work? How important will it be in the future for the oil and gas industry to adapt to these new technologies?

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