Overcoming Inertia (Ep 1)

Cougar Mountain Software has been in business for close to 35 years. We’ve witnessed the transition from DOS to DB-based logic to SQL, and provided innovative robust solutions at every turn. Our tight-knit company attracts and maintains an accomplished staff of technical programmers, software engineers, UX/UI researchers, and accounting experts. Unlike software that predominantly invests in their front-facing UI façade or (at the other end of the spectrum) incomprehensible FTP programs designed for the HTML-literate, Cougar Mountain Software has spent decades making our products powerful AND intuitive. We make accountant’s accounting software. Think robust, nuanced, and highly customizable accounting solutions that can serve a 50-person accounting department as easily as a 5-employee business.

In an effort to entice some of our oldest and most loyal customers to try our flagship software, Denali, we have conducted dozens of interviews with users who have already made the switch. Following is the first of a collection of case studies in which we’ve done our best to curate and condense the most relatable stories, commonly shared concerns, and galvanizing advice for CMS Pro (as well as DOS) purists.

Liberty Supply, Inc. is an industrial supplies distribution company (like a hardware store, but on a larger scale) that caters most often to oil and gas projects. David Spradlin, who manages their books, upgraded their platform to Denali 8 years ago and was loyal to Cougar Mountain Software for 22 years before that.

“I started using their DOS accounting software 2 weeks after I started my business,” says Spradlin. He’s a fan, and several times during the interview he explains why he prefers Cougar Mountain Software to the other vendors he’s researched. “They make the company more profitable.”

“Sure, I may have to spend 2k one month as they build the custom mods I ask for, but then I’ll make that much back every month, every year after.” Spradlin is a computer whiz and veteran bookkeeper. If/when he reads about or sees some functionality that could improve his (already fastidious) processes, he says he just gets on the phone with Cougar Mountain Software, outlines the specs, and a few weeks later will be test-driving the newly incorporated tools.

Spradlin uses a three-level admin structure to preserve security while still allowing his staff to manage invoices, track inventory, and find up-to-date figures within the software’s automated pricing catalog. Matrix discount pricing is part of what initially attracted him to Cougar Mountain Software. Most of his competitors adhere to a standardized pricing catalog, layering discounts (sometimes up to 90%) on top of those costs to attract more business. Cougar Mountain software enables him to adjust discounts on an account-by-account basis, plus he adds, “Their customer service has never let me down. If I run into an issue I can’t solve, I have access to a software expert, a real person, in maybe 5 minutes.”

When we asked Spradlin to share his thoughts about the software conversion experience, he took a little while to reply. Any concern we had about what his response would be proved unwarranted, however, when he began his story with, “Gah, it was 8 years ago, I barely remember.” Because people tend to remember traumatizing events, we took the un-memorability of Liberty Supply’s upgrade to Denali as a good sign.

“It took a weekend,” Spradlin continues. He says he started the process on Friday after everyone had left for the weekend. The software finished converting/transferring, and he spent some of Sunday chasing down errors, outliers, and locating missing information. There were only a handful of items the software couldn’t identify on its own, usually because the files had typos, were out of place, or guilty of other human-engineered logic inconsistencies.

During the formal setup, he remembers changing Denali’s user interface to Classic Navigation, which mimics that of the CMS Pro platform he had so recently abandoned. The relief, on behalf of his staff, was tremendous, as they discovered this familiarity in the foreign system. It took a couple weeks to get up to speed. “Some of that was just our team learning new computer commands, like which shortcuts to use in order to copy and paste,” he stops, “but that wasn’t even the software, it was a hardware issue.”

When asked why he upgraded, he responds with a shrug in his voice. “Had to.”

Then, unprompted, he added, “It was going to happen, and there were certain mods I was looking at that I knew needed the faster, more robust, Denali platform in order to be built. CMS Pro was developed using logic that was getting outpaced. It had to happen.” Again, the shrug makes itself heard in his voice.

Spradlin does such a good job of conveying his thoughts with the tone of his voice throughout various anecdotes not shown here (in consideration of our readers’ time), we left the interview feeling a new level of appreciation for what we’re asking our clients to go through. The strained loyalty, uncertainty, and discomfort that come with moving to a new accounting software is never going to be enjoyable. Easy, yes. Fast, yes. Secure, yes. But not something that is inherently attractive. One of our newest team members said it best when comparing the upgrade to parting with a favorite pair of shoes. They are comfortable, familiar, and you feel confident wearing them. The wear and tear only endears them further until one day you realize your toes are exposed. When you buy a replacement pair of shoes it feels like a betrayal, and you feel paralyzed for a while. Afraid to give up the old pair OR forfeit the new.

Cougar Mountain Software’s friendly experts are standing by to help field concerns and talk to about the process. No decisions have to be made today. Just learn how THIS new pair of shoes (with the same tailor-made structure you rely on) can protect your digits.

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Cougar Mountain Software develops leading on-premises accounting solutions. Our hallmark software, DENALI, is specifically designed to scale to clients’ needs while maintaining an unbreakable audit trail.