Beware the Frankensystem: 3 Signs of a Software Monster

It’s the stuff of nightmares for any business. 

At first, all you needed was a spreadsheet. As you grew, you began using a CRM software solution to manage your clients or an off-the-shelf mobile app to handle scheduling. Over time, you used additional solutions and tools to handle inventory or implemented a new estimating and takeoff software to provide quotes. Maybe even after using all of these solutions, you still find yourself returning to the spreadsheet to keep your budget or to combine reports from multiple solutions. 

And the scariest part of all? You spend all your time taking care of this Frankensystem — a disjointed, bolted together mess of software parts from different developers, platforms, etc. — instead of taking care of your customers or your team. 

Using a variety of software solutions to run different areas of your business can have a detrimental effect on your operations. Disconnected solutions make you and your team work harder than necessary. This has serious negative effects on the productivity of your staff and the growth of your business.

But fear not! Fixing a Frankensystem doesn’t have be yet another nightmare for your team. Once you’re able to recognize the monster, you’ll be able to face it.

Here are 3 warning signs that you’re dealing with a Frankensystem. 

#1: You can’t tell if your data is accurate or not

If your software solutions don’t communicate, you may find yourself manually entering information into spreadsheets or combining multiple spreadsheets from different solutions. And if you’re tracking information that isn’t automatically updating, you have to ensure that you’re updating information on a regular basis. If there’s an error in entering this information, you’re not sure if your data is accurate.

Without a single source of accurate information, you’re left with data that you’re not sure you can trust. You’re forced into creating more system patches and workarounds to find the accurate numbers. You risk making decisions that aren’t based on true data and aren’t profitable for your business.

#2: You’re wasting time gathering data for reporting (and your team is growing impatient)

When your data is scattered across different systems, financials and other key reports take a lot longer to pull together. When you’re cross-referencing data in different places, month-end reporting can take days or weeks. At that point, if you didn’t meet your profit goals, it will be too late to make decisions to get you back on track.

In addition to wasting time, you’re also wasting the most valuable resource: your team. Your team can easily become frustrated with the number of platforms they need to learn and the multitude of obstacles to perform simple duties. It takes time and effort to recruit, hire, and train your employees. Once you’ve done so, you want to make sure you’re developing them to work as efficiently as possible—for their own success and the success of your business.

Having to train your account managers, production managers, and operations staff on a software Frankensystem of disconnected solutions can be confusing, time-consuming, and more costly in the long run, since they’re taking more time to complete their work.

And it’s not only about recruiting and hiring: Retention is also a concern. Giving your people the best tools and resources to do their jobs well is important when you’re trying to hire and keep employees.

#3: You’re missing out on sales opportunities

If it’s not easy to capture potential job opportunities, you’re losing time and money. A Frankensystem could be costing you jobs by not allowing your team to catalog opportunities while on-site or by requiring your account managers to reference several sources to get information needed to assemble an estimate. Looking at the larger picture, the inability to provide professional and accurate estimates quickly could be limiting your ability to grow your relationship with your clients by preventing you from becoming a trusted resource.

Your sales opportunities with existing clients can also suffer if your Frankensystem affects their ability to do business with you. Do your clients struggle with finding available products or completing purchases because your app won’t load? Or because your server failed to retrieve data from 4 different systems? 

It’s more than an issue of collecting payments… a monstrous client experience will scare them away to competitors (and all the revenue with them). 

Time to Fix the Frankensystem

Upgrading legacy software may sound frightening, but there’s nothing to fear. The crew at Airship is ready to help! We’ve helped clients find opportunities to streamline their business and save money with custom solutions built for their specific needs. 

Contact us today to tell us about your project. All monsters welcomed!