When we think about software innovations, we typically think of the more glamorous effects they're having on the customer side. But there are benefits to be had in the back office as well. We asked leaders of some of the most prominent software suppliers what we can expect to see in this area:
J.J. Shea, Solutions by Computer: There's always room to improve back office operations and communications. This will primarily come through integration with banking partners, tax rate update services and other third-party providers.
Rod Theoret, Texada Software: There's a continuing movement for rental companies to become more paperless. Today we provide the ability to easily find, store and retrieve electronic documents within our application, which has a major impact on administrative efforts and cost. We also see rental management software will need to support the back office with more focus on managing the business operations via KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) so customers can see the health of their business with reporting and analytics.
Wayne Harris, Point-of-Rental: The back office is already being transformed by software. Before computers, the A/R department spent full time preparing invoices and statements; stuffing them in envelopes; and mailing them to customers. Now the computer system will automatically send invoices via email or fax and at the end of month, send statements to customers without any intervention necessary.
Patrice Boivin, Orion Software: It will be more centralized and offer visibility on all equipment with profitability by segments and project.
Ray Bonestroo, Genisys Software: More rental companies will insist on integrated accounting software, instead of having to use third-party software (such as QuickBooks) which charges its own annual software maintenance; charges to fix problems with its own software; and then makes you purchase it again every 2-3 years to stay on the current version and continue operating at a minimum level. Integrated accounting provided by the rental software company allows the company to have one source for everything instead of multiple software companies being involved.
Clark Haley, BCS ProSoft: We'll continue to see increased flexibility related to methods for deploying back office systems. Companies will have their choice of on-premise, cloud-based, or a hybrid when it comes to their preferred method of deployment. Efficiencies can also be gained by integrating telematics and CRM solutions, eliminating the need to enter data in multiple places.
Rob Ross, Alert Management Systems: Just like in other industries, more and more office work can be done from home, reducing commute time and expense, while keeping central office expenses minimized. For rental business owners, exit planning used to mean selling out. For an increasing number of aging (but computer savvy) rental entrepreneurs, it's entirely possible to imagine transitioning to a retirement venue while staying active in the business far longer than would have been possible in the old days.