RER: The pandemic led a lot more rental companies to become more serious about e-commerce. What changes have you seen among rental companies as a result?
Miller: Rental companies wish to interact with their customers more effectively. They wish to provide information to the clients about their current rental contacts and allow a customer to check availability and pricing. This is beyond traditional e-commerce transactions typical of a distributor and are more complex since pricing is based on customer, location and equipment usage.
How have you developed your e-commerce capabilities to help your customers through this period?
We have developed a Customer Portal that can provide valuable information to a client about their existing rental contracts and are continuing to add functionality to allow different types of transactions and interactions.
What new capabilities, products and upgrades have you developed in the past year?
This would include more information availability through the Customer Portal and enhancements for their yard and delivery. Sycor has also teamed up with LogiMove, a flexible mobile data platform that allows us to build out custom workflows and business process automation in a matter of hours and days, instead of weeks and months. In addition, Microsoft’s push towards “Citizen Developer” is a concept that allows a customer to build out mobile functionality without deploying expensive consulting firms that have to first “understand” the business process and then develop it. This new approach provides low code/no code development that bring greater value at a reduced cost.
What have you done to improve your software’s integration with telematics systems and other integration with machine data?
Sycor.Rental comes out of the box with integration to Microsoft’s Azure IoT Server. This means that any IoT capable sensor can be connected to provide real-time data interaction between the machine and back-office solution. Microsoft also provides us with state-of-the-art integration tools to connect to any third-party telematics solution. This allows us to deploy telematics how you want it, rather than how we built it.
What have you done to improve mobile capability in the past year? Is this more important than ever in the age of COVID and more people working remotely?
We continue to improve our mobile solution to allow rapid return of bulk (non-serialized) equipment and serialized units. Allowing a yard worker to return thousands of pieces in a matter of minutes is necessary in some rental industries. Yes, it is important to provide low/no touch interaction with staff. Mobility eliminates the physical paper trail and provides data electronically from the mobile worker and customer.
What are likely to be the new trends/new directions in software in the foreseeable future?
More and more customers are working to eliminate data redundancy. They want one system that is fully integrated/connected. Fundamentally, we can discuss financials, inventory, sales, service and rental. What people really want is connectivity between email, document management, CRM, BI Reporting, Mobility, Telematics, eCommerce, AI, Virtual/Mixed Reality; all in one platform. They are looking for this single platform that will grow with them as technology evolves and as their business needs change.
What new features have customers been asking for that will be important?
Enhanced customer portal; tire management.