Countless businesses in the energy sector still count on Excel to manage their sales, service and operations. In today’s competitive world, however, that likely leads to missed sales opportunities; invoicing and payment delays; inefficient scheduling; customer service issues and lower profit margins.
Whether you’re an OEM, service provider, independent power producer or oil and gas exploration company, Excel does little to solve key business challenges such as global workforce management, project management, inventory management and customer relationship management. Sure, it’s familiar for your team but it has several limitations, primarily with data storage and sharing. Excel does not enable your business to easily store and share real-time data on your customers. Customer preferences learned by sales reps can fall to the way-side when not logged in a software solution where future reps can see it. And, managers cannot track performance and opportunities.
An effective modern software ecosystem helps eliminate the headache of managing timekeeping, billing, scheduling, routing, inventory, work tickets, compliance and regulatory performance, project plans and much more.
Cloud Solutions Prove Attractive
Many top energy businesses today are using cutting-edge software such as Salesforce to manage the entire lead-to-invoice process from a single platform. Salesforce and other “cloud” apps are hosted and managed all online. They typically have attractive pricing models based on the number of users, and customers are charged at a monthly rate. That eliminates the need for costly on-site infrastructure, servers and additional IT resources. A system such as Salesforce also offers a platform to build custom mobile apps quickly and with less cost.
Reduce Admin Time and Improve Data Accuracy
While Excel relies on significant administrative time to input data, format cells, manage workbooks and generate reports, Salesforce and other solutions eliminate much of the manual work associated with creating reports. They also make it much easier and more intuitive to update and share data. In many cases, processes are automated altogether.
When you have data and reports that you can actually make sense of quickly, you can make better decisions and meet company goals.
Aligning technology with business objectives has never been more important. Energy companies that aren’t innovating their internal processes will continue to find it more difficult to compete in an increasingly competitive world.
Salesforce.com offers one of the leading software products that help automate and streamline every aspect of your business. Their mobile platform helps make sure all your apps are mobile first and accessible at any time and anyplace.
Return on Investment
While it can be difficult to make the decision to invest in new software when your current practice is familiar and free, early adopters of Salesforce would likely tell you their sales rose exponentially when they implemented the system.
The cloud software community is exploding rapidly. Innovation is constant and software products are always getting easier, faster and more effective. That means businesses adopting Salesforce are gaining a competitive edge.
The world isn’t going to wait for you to update your Excel documents.
Instead, there’s an app for that, and it’s in the cloud.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Paul Ward is the founder and principal at Reconnect Your Business and director of the energy division at Nuvem Consulting. Paul has spent almost 20 years in the energy industry (both fossil and renewable), working with business leaders focused on growth and continuous improvement with a concern for the well-being of their employees and the world around them. Paul is passionate about generating competitive advantage for clients by reconnecting their businesses through process improvement, innovative software tool development and impactful training design and presentation.
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