RER interviews Ramco Systems’ director of sales Richard Hercus, who advises that staying on top of new technology will help rental businesses achieve greater efficiencies and position them to better compete in the marketplace.
RER: Is cloud computing now the norm for rental equipment companies? Why or why not?
Hercus: Today cloud computing is not the norm, but as customer awareness increases over the next five years, it will be. Today cloud computing is talked about often by technical teams, but the CEO levels do not understand the underlying technology. Additionally, there are different types of cloud computing. For example, private clouds essentially provide applications access on a single instance of the application, while a public cloud allows multiple companies to access the same application and store your data with security.
Today, as companies transition, I have found CEOs are more comfortable with the private cloud. As companies understand the technology, they will feel more comfortable and less apprehensive with the data being stored somewhere else, and they will benefit from the financial savings that cloud computing offers. Today, we have more than 300 customers running our applications using cloud computing.
How are Smartphones and other mobile devices, and their applications changing software development?
Companies who embrace technology benefit from greater efficiencies and an overall greater ability to compete. This is true with Smartphones and other mobile devices. The ability to have real-time data and alerts or business flow processes provided on Smartphones and mobile devices will continue to increase in all areas of a company. Solutions providers are enhancing their product lines to their customers with increased solutions for Smartphones and other mobile devices. One example would be for physical inventory counts. In the past, there was a need to print physical count sheets where people recorded numbers that others possibly could not read. Today, they take a hand-held device, scan a slot location, and enter a quantity. Another example would be the notification of a credit change, which could be automatically sent to a sales manager that would allow proactive measures.
What are the latest integrations that rental software now accommodates? What can users expect in terms of software integrations in the future?
Our solution is completely Service Oriented Architecture and designed for seamless integrations. Some of the capabilities include ACH — payment transmissions to banks, portal integration for customer/supplier/companies’ own websites, handheld devices and EDI — purchase orders, invoices, and more. In the future, I see increased features with GPS integration and telemetry run hours automation. Also, additional cloud solutions will be integrated.
What sort of new technologies can rental companies expect to find in their rental software updates in the next few years?
Are you using social media, i.e. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, to communicate with your customers and demonstrate new software features?
Yes, we have a great story to tell. We want to communicate our offering and provide customers and prospects the information on whatever form of media they feel most comfortable with. Our CEO is able to share our company vision directly with the help of these technologies.
I know many rental businesses only use a fraction of the functionality of their rental management software. Tell me two of the most underutilized software features that rental companies could benefit from if they knew how to better take advantage of them.
Asset management and business intelligence tools that would allow a proactive process rather than a reactive one.