In RER’s July issue, we interviewed software providers about how the cloud computing concept continues to penetrate the rental industry, and we will be reprinting them in the coming weeks in RER Reports. In this interview, Brian Spilak, president of Texada Software, which this week made its first foray into the equipment rental space with the acquisitions of the assets of Rolls Scaffold & Equipment, and DixEquip, talks to RER managing editor Brandey Smith about the growing comfort among business owners to outsource IT services, and the quick penetration of mobile device technology.
RER: The cloud computing concept has steadily grown as its benefits become more apparent to businesses and individuals alike. Do you think the popular release of Apple’s iCloud will further enhance awareness of the cloud computing concept and make offsite storage of data more comfortable for rental business owners?
Spilak: Absolutely. We launched our SaaS (Software as a Service) deployment option earlier this year and we have had many customers adopt this way of deploying our rental management software application. Many organizations are utilizing similar services in other important aspects of their business and it is becoming more commonplace as business owners become more comfortable with the outsourced offering, i.e. payroll services, salesforce.com, email hosting services, etc.
Does Apple’s iCloud offering mean that smaller rental businesses with fewer locations will soon be best served by utilizing a similar cloud model for their software implementation and data storage?
Yes. Many owner/operator type rental businesses don’t have the IT infrastructure in place (facilities, people, etc) to properly manage an on-premise server application. Taking that headache away from the owner/operator rental business is just another way for them to keep the focus on what they know and what they are good at, which is servicing customers and providing reliable equipment.
Many rental management solutions providers tout their superior customer support capabilities. How important is customer support to consider when selecting a new software provider?
Support and service is one of the key factors in deciding what software supplier to partner as it is the key to ensure successful deployments and proper usage of the mission critical applications.
Describe the very latest technologies that rental businesses are benefiting from both in terms of hardware equipment/devices and software features. What do you see coming?
The tablet and smartphone device markets are a couple that we see has provided tremendous benefit to the rental companies that utilize our applications. Putting critical data in the hands of field personnel to allow them to make educated business decisions on demand is something that we feel is key to success in the industry going forward.
What advice would you give to rental businesses that are still using relatively out-of-date legacy software systems that don’t offer the latest integrations and efficiencies?
Legacy systems require large investment direct from the end users to take advantage of some of technological advancements that have evolved over the last number of years whereas software companies typically include these technologies in their standard product set and roadmap. Would recommend these companies assess their growth plans over the next three to five years and determine the investment required to their legacy system to support that growth. The results of that assessment may provide answers to the direction in which they should be heading in the future.