Everyone wants security
Despite all your best efforts, switching to a new system can put you in a vulnerable position. Because of this, it’s vital that you do all you can to protect your data. “Data is king and it is imperative that a customer properly backup the data before performing any updates or upgrades,” says Haley. “From a security standpoint, backups must be kept off site in a secure location.”
Saint says access to the testing environment should be restricted to the “core team” until adequate restrictions have been created. “Restriction profiles should match job descriptions to ensure each employee has permission to do what they need, but not more than is needed,” he says.
Dealing with fear
Change is often difficult, particularly when it comes to something as important – and let’s face it, technical – as your business management software. Overcoming this trepidation is vital to the success of the project.
“Everyone has heard of implementations or upgrades that have gone horribly wrong and those stories or experiences cause many customers to be reluctant to upgrade or switch software,” Haley says. “At Automated Rental Management, we work hard to add enhancements to the software every year that will allow all of our customers to get more value from their software investment. Many of the enhancements are more industry specific and would not positively impact some of our customers. For example, we released a new mobile applet for managing the delivery/pickup of equipment using smart phone technology while in the field. If your company doesn’t deliver/pickup equipment, that new capability would have no value to you and it may not be worth upgrading to get that feature. In that case, you may opt not to upgrade until the next release, when there is a feature that you are excited to get.”
Naturally, there is a certain amount of resistance to change, and that’s particularly true in the current economy, Shea says. “Those concerns can be addressed by proper pre-planning and good, ongoing communication between the software supplier and the rental company. In our experience, the cost of upgrading or converting is much less of an obstacle today than it was, say, five or six years ago. Rental operators are much more informed about the cost benefit of keeping up with current technology. Now that the cycle is slowly improving, we are hearing from a lot of rental companies that want to hit the ground running with up-to-date technology in place.”
In the end, however, it’s up to you to decide if and when a change is needed. Software providers should be honest about the benefits of changing, as well as the potential for “pain,” or inconvenience that can go with it. “After all, you know your business better than anyone,” says Saint. “You’ll make the best decision if you’re fully armed with all of the information regarding the change.”