As technology continues to develop faster than we can all think there is still a fundamental question about what you want from your rental software?
At one end of the spectrum, customers are still looking primarily for a billing engine that will also let them keep track of their equipment. This is the universal base point for customers, they need to know what they’ve got, where it is and how much it is earning for the business and ultimately they need to get an invoice to the customer and make sure they pay it. For some customers, this is still all they are looking for, and depending on the size of your business, the nature of your fleet and the type of customers you deal with this may well be all you need.
For some customers’ this is only a starting point. Once your business starts to scale, once your product base or your market segments start to diversify, the requirements from your rental software start to scale outwards. Maintenance and service management, procurement and complex asset management, sales and consumable management, CRM and sales rep functionality — all of these elements start to become as important as the core basic rental functionality.
And these days technology has become the additional driver for many rental companies when they are looking at software. Mobile apps to take your rental software into the field, or to bring your customers to you via their smart phones, customer portals to deliver immediate information and allow your customers to interact with your business even if you aren’t there. Telematics integration to get real-time data feeds back from your equipment to your maintenance team, GPS tracking so you can find out exactly where your equipment is, not just where you delivered it to. Web services so you can connect all the other apps you use and your rental software.
What do you want from your rental software? Only you really know what will work for you in terms of functionality and technology, but make sure that you also think about the long term. The last thing you want when you’re in a growth phase is to disrupt your business with a software change. Underlying everything above are the three basic elements that no software can be without:
- Firstly: Security. Whether you are looking for a billing engine or the most technologically rich solution on the planet if it doesn’t come with built-in security keeping you, your data and your customer’s data safe then you are potentially putting your entire business and your reputation at risk.
- Secondly: Stability. You need to know that your software is provided by a real business and one that will be around for the long haul.
- Thirdly: Flexibility. This is the key to adapting as your business grows or changes, the last thing you want to do is to be forced into changing your rental software because you’ve outgrown it, or because it cannot adapt to your new ways of working.
If you are interested in exploring a new rental software solution for your business, let me know.
Written by: Helen Sowerby, Director of Business Development