We visit our doctor’s office once a year for our annual physical exams.  We go to the dentist every 6 months for a check-up on our teeth.  We have our cars serviced every ‘x’ months depending on usage.  But how often do you do a system check on your company data?

An argument can be made that a frequent analysis of your data is just as important to the health of your business as going to a yearly physical is to your personal health.  So why is it very few companies ever do these system checks in their database?  It most likely is because either they don’t know how to or it is too tedious to do.

That is why we created System Checks in Ignite.  System Checks were initially part of our Ignite Analytics product.  However, at this year’s annual User Group Meeting, we announced our decision to move them out of Ignite Analytics and into our main Ignite product.  Why did we do this?  Because by analyzing support tickets and why companies were calling us, we found that companies were often unaware they had bad or missing data in their system that was causing their problems.  And by moving System Checks into Ignite, we could now have all our customers benefit.  In essence, your health insurance doesn’t charge you for a “well visit” when you go to the doctor and we felt it was in the best interest of everyone to benefit from System Checks.

Ignite has over 50 System Checks it can perform on your database.  They check not only for user-input errors (i.e. a user entered the transposed numbers and/or entered the wrong number) but also for incomplete or missing information (i.e. perhaps a tax rate is due to expire in a week and you haven’t entered the new rate yet).  Here is a shortlist of some of the system checks and why they are important.

  1. Forecasting – There are 20 system checks on forecasting alone.  Some are simple checks like whether customers have tank size fields or K Factor values of zero.  But then there are also some very sophisticated ones like comparing the customer’s K Factor to their average K Factor last season to let you know if any customers’ K Factors are too high and thus the customer is at risk at running out of fuel in the near future.
  2. Work Orders – The system checks will look for incomplete work orders or work orders that the technician finished but you have not billed out yet (i.e. sometimes you are waiting for the price on a part and the work order gets overlooked and is never billed).
  3. Maintenance – It will look to see if the database was backed up in the last 24 hours.
  4. Customer Information – There are many System Checks that can be done on customer information.  Things like whether there is past due follow up notes, the same tank serial # on more than 1 customer’s account, customers with inaccurate latitude/longitudes on their account, customers with credit balances but no transactions in over a year, budget customers past due, customers setup to have their statements and invoices emailed but someone removed their email address or entered an invalid email address.
  5. Employees & Vehicles – There are also system checks to alert you when employee licenses are going to expire soon or when their physicals are due.  There are similar alerts for vehicles so you can be notified when maintenance is overdue or vehicle registrations or inspections are overdue.

We suggest system checks are reviewed weekly.  If the test passes, you see a big green checkmark.  If the test fails, you get a big red X and a “View Report” option to view the details.  You can then drill into that information by double-clicking on the record and you will be brought directly to that record so you can correct the problem.

The idea was simple.  Change how people used software.  Prior to Google Maps being on my smartphone, if I wanted to know how to get someplace, I could go to Google’s website and type in where I wanted to go and it would give me directions I could print out.  To ensure I wouldn’t be late, I then would have to factor in how much traffic I thought there may be and then add that time to the travel time.  But nowadays, I just put the appointment into my calendar and my phone now tells me it is time to leave.  I don’t have to look up the directions or try to figure out the traffic or even remember when it is time to go.  My phone and Google Maps do it all for me. 

Isn’t it time your software starts working for you?  Do you want to continue using “Old” software like the “Old” way I used to get directions?  Or do you want to start using next-generation software like Ignite?  Having software that will analyze your data on a weekly basis is invaluable.  It can prevent runouts, improve customer service, avoid problems and/or fines, and make you more profitable.