Betty Crocker, IKEA and Softools?

What could US food company General Mills,  Swedish furniture giant IKEA and Softools have in common? The BBC recently published an article about economic behavior and psychology, specifically the idea that consumers experience higher levels of satisfaction from products they help create. Originally pioneered in the 1950s with General Mills’ Betty Crocker cakes and now dubbed the “Ikea effect”, this concept is truly the spirit of Softools! Except, rather than baking a cake or assembling your new desk, you can rapidly transform your business’s software use. We empower companies with a zero-code development tool, allowing them to construct process-improving business applications in their own image. Check out the full article here and see why dessert, furniture and software sometimes aren’t all that different.

Reliance Energy Case Study


Reliance Energy is a professional services company working with organisations which develop, construct and operate energy projects. More recently Reliance has diversified, offering services into other industries. Despite modest staffing resources, Reliance Energy often have up to 50 projects running at any one time. The avoidance of duplicated work is imperative, and business critical project data must be efficiently captured and shared across the team.


Operating within an industry which frequently undergoes regulatory change, Reliance needs to be agile and responsive, continually evolving its business model and processes. Standard off-the-shelf CRM and Project Management systems proved to be too rigid and expensive to customise and regularly adapt. As the portfolio grew rapidly, so did the back-office workload and the commercial risks associated with managing this off-system.


Reliance implemented Softools’ zero-code platform on which employees developed and configured applications without coding.  The resulting suite of apps automated previously time-consuming processes and has provided a much-needed means of effectively managing the projects.

Key capabilities include:

  • Project tracking & access to key documents

  • Automated Key Action reporting

  • Storage of project photos and videos directly to instantly accessible records

  • Project information exported into pre-formatted slides and reports for clients

  • Performance Reporting


Reliance now has an easily accessible, real-time view of all its projects. It’s now possible for Reliance to monitor and review its business, and to produce KPI reporting to help focus the team’s efforts where they’re most needed. Reliance now have complete visibility of key deadlines - “In one instance, our app alerted us to a deadline to sign a legal agreement that otherwise put a £350k project at risk”.

The ability to export data into pre-formatted slides saves Reliance up to a day each week in producing important project status reports necessary to keep key stakeholders in the know. Key suppliers have controlled access to the system, while clients and investor representatives are confident in Reliance’s abilities to manage projects and business successfully.

Reliance continues to grow their business supported by Softools’ agile and scalable system.

“Every bit of time we invest in configuring the system pays back 10-fold in terms of time savings and reduced risk of errors” - Natasha Goode, Reliance Energy

So, just what is a 'Smart Business'?

Smart Businesses are those that adopt emerging new technologies in a way that delivers: a) their business strategy, b) operational excellence across all internal core processes and external supply chain and c) pushes IT development into the hands of the operational teams.  However, technology will not be implemented just for the sake of staying ahead, but rather selectively in areas to drive productivity and competitive advantage.  This does not involve a wholescale change of technology, but one where all processes and supporting technologies are reviewed on a regular basis, in order to make simple KICK decisions: do we KEEP it, INVEST in it, CHANGE it, or KILL it?  And to enable it to make such decisions, the Smart Business will be constantly scanning its external environment for next generation technologies that should trigger the opportunity for innovation in the areas of: new value chains, streamlined processes, new products and services or innovative approaches for go-to-market.

To deliver the smart business will also require ‘smart leaders’ who understand the critical role of technology in delivering their growth strategies, and who utilise digital technologies to have the visibility and control they need over all aspects of the business.

- Andy Bruce, CEO Softools

Softools Newsletter No. 10

Softools Newsletter No. 10

As summer approaches, Henley and Marlow are becoming key destinations on the social calendars of many with the Regatta tents in place, the Pub in the Park just ended and the Henley festival tickets on sale we can't wait to see what this summer has in store. Here at Softools we've got a few events up our sleeves too, the Refresh program is bringing in new partners, we're planning our Softools Summer Social (stay tuned) and we have a couple of App Builder days along the way as well. So why not grab your sunglasses, pop down to Henley and join us for a chat?

This month we've got the success of our G-Cloud 9 submission that is opening up a new Public Sector marketplace, a great article on SEO tips to make your website stand out, a tour of our Hot Topic: Digital Transformation and a great case study of the Performance Assurance Framework app.  We are also launching our Softools Breakfast Briefings to give you a monthly opportunity to hear about our solutions, how they could be of use to you and what we have learnt from working with some of the largest companies in the world.

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