Suspicious Spouse asks “Can I trust his spreadsheet excuses?”

Dinah McNav, the ERP Agony Aunt, answers the problems and pressures faced by businesses everywhere. This letter comes from a wary wife who suspects that her partner’s protestations of working on production processes is a pack of porkies!

Dear Dinah

It feels strange writing to you about this but I don’t know who else to turn to. I think my husband is having an affair!

Despite the fact that he’s often in the office from 7am, he’ll often spend all day there and arrive home late. Sometimes not getting in until 9 or 10pm. When he does come home he makes excuses that he’s always tired and doesn’t spend much time with me. We very rarely spend the weekend together and when we do, his mind is always somewhere else. I feel like we are growing apart.

It finally got to the point where I confronted him. He said that he’s under pressure at work with deadlines, increased workloads and because they use disparate software systems with no integration it makes his job harder. He blamed the late nights on having to spend so much time manually pulling together all the financial records from each department so that he can present month-end reports accurately.

I don’t know what to believe. He says that the information he needs is often in a number of different applications, including the accounts system, separate spreadsheets for stock control and the production processes, and that the best time for him to find it is when there’s no one else there.

A lot of what he is doing is manual, so it certainly makes sense that he needs to be in the office out of hours to do this, so that no one can make changes while he’s reporting. The thing is I have no idea whether he is telling the truth as none of this means anything to me.

Tell me Dinah, should I trust him? Could what he’s saying be correct?

He’s never given me any reasons to think that he doesn’t love me. He’s never come home smelling of perfume, but my imagination is running wild now.

Can you suggest something that could help our relationship?


Miss Trustful


Dear Miss Trustful

Thank you for writing. Let me put your mind at rest before we go any further. I believe your husband may be telling you the truth (although it’s worth pointing out that I’m not a marriage counsellor!). I can imagine there are a number of people out there in a similar situation as you, partners working long hours, not spending time with their loved ones; so you are not alone.

I don’t think your husband is lacking anything from you. Instead, it looks like he’s lacking functionality in his business management software. If he finds this, it could make his life a lot easier, giving him a better work/life balance, meaning he’ll spend more time at home.

Your husband’s company seems like a prime candidate for a software review. Recommend to him that his company consider introducing an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system that includes Business Intelligence (BI) and reporting. This will help bring together all core business functions, including financials, supply chain management, manufacturing, and project management. This integration will help to reduce the amount of manual input of data between departments, giving him more time to relax at home.

I always recommend Microsoft Dynamics NAV for an SMB. Other ERP Systems are available but, in my humble opinion, they’re not as good as NAV. Unlike other ERP systems for small and medium businesses, NAV has been designed to meet the unique needs of your business. It can support the requirements of a single user or as many as 250 users across multiple departments.

Business Intelligence and reporting will allow him to deliver meaningful reports and analysis across the whole business. It also gives access to real-time integrated data that can be displayed graphically, or through online analytical processing (OLAP), and Microsoft Excel. This will provide your husband with the information he needs to make fast informed decisions that have a positive effect on the business. To make his life even easier the BI function can be displayed in the Microsoft Dynamics NAV RoleCentre where he can see all relevant business activities such as tasks, notifications, lists, key performance indicators (KPI) and, most importantly, reports.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV Business Intelligence provides benefits such as:

  • Stimulating productivity – access to real-time information and reports means that everyone can monitor performance, spot trends, and react to problems before they occur.
  • Full integration with Microsoft Office – linking to familiar programs that you are used to using, such as Microsoft Office & Excel, allows you to interrogate the data more closely and share information with others.
  • Responsive dynamic reporting – Build customised reports for specific data management needs and analysis to meet the demands of management and suppliers
  • Drillable reports – through the real-time overview you are able to drill down into the details of the transaction to get a clearer understanding of information.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV & BI gives you all the information you need to predict trends, understand your business more clearly, and continuously operate at peak performance.

Most importantly ERP, in particular NAV, will help your husband’s business to:

  • Improve efficiency – automating and integrating all business processes means that all the information is available for everyone to see, improving communication and collaboration.
  • Eliminate manual processes – having all your business information in one system reduces, if not eliminates, any need to transfer data from one system to another.
  • Improve decision making and reporting – integrated Business Intelligence (BI) functionality, significantly reduces the time spent compiling information and producing reports.
  • Connect better with suppliers and partners – improve communication internally and externally with key people & organisations to gain key information in real time.
  • Log in remotely – when someone really does need to work late, they can get access to the information they need whenever and wherever they want.

All this will greatly benefit your husband’s business but, most importantly, it will hopefully improve your relationship by reducing the time he spends at the office producing reports and updating various databases.

However, if he does take your advice about investing in ERP and is still not spending time with you it is more than likely that he is having an affair, so it’s time to ditch the zero and find yourself a hero girlfriend! And if you ever decide to go into business on your own and you need some advice, just let me know!

Good luck

Dinah McNav, ERP Agony Aunt

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