Considering features for a new software system

Knowledge is power. Whether you’re actively looking for a new rental software system to run your entire organization or simply evaluating your current functionality, you need to know what questions to ask.

Does your system data reside in one system or will you rely on integrations to meet all your rental software needs?

Many systems on the market are presented as a single system but actually leave you with separate systems. Using separate systems for rentals, financials, service, payroll, etc. that all rely on integrations can be a pain when trying to extract data. Integrations are also complicated because they leave you vulnerable to problems as solutions are often upgraded at different times. Using one platform that has all the functionality you need and is designed to grow with your business is something any business should focus on when evaluating a new rental software system. Data housed in one system means data can be reported on or extracted in real time. Outdated technology connected to multiple systems doesn’t provide a business a strong path forward.

Is the new rental software system using up-to-date technology?

These days virtually all business software and system platforms are provided by Microsoft. If your system is not using up-to-date Microsoft tools and systems, i.e. SQL Azure database, your system is at risk of becoming obsolete. The fact is many vendors misrepresent the version of software they are selling because systems built on legacy technology are simply too costly for the vendor to update. Being on an older version may affect you in either the short or long-term. If you don’t choose a technology leader you will always be playing catch up. 

Do software customizations affect upgrades?

Customizations can often make all the difference between you and your competitor, however many systems cannot be upgraded efficiently after any customizations have been applied. What many don’t consider is that upgrades are necessary to keep systems secure, but if a vendor is responsible to update their base code as popular technology changes – the effort can be overwhelming for them and you can be on the hook for the expense and overall process. 

Your partner may use Microsoft tools but is your cloud system provided by and backed by Microsoft?

There is a big difference between using Microsoft tools to write a system, which pretty much everyone does, and having a system provided and updated by Microsoft. Annually, Microsoft invests millions of dollars on Research and Development into their products, including Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. This means companies such as Open Door Technology can focus on creating powerful apps that speak to the rental industry without being distracted by updating core financial solutions.

Does your cloud partner give you access to your data? (It is your data after all)

Some cloud software providers refuse to allow their customers to have administrative access to the customer data. This prevents customers from creating and managing custom reports to get the data needed for critical information.  

Are you able to make your own backup of your cloud database whenever you want?

You may have different reasons for wanting to do this but having a copy of your database is pretty important if your software provider goes out of business.

Are you on the most current technology your vendor has on offer or is there one more major upgrade in your future?

Some software suppliers are hiding legacy versions of their software with a fancy front-end but the customer will be forced to go through at least one more major upgrade in the future.

Does your system offer free or near-free automatic upgrades from your software provider?

You may be using legacy software where a periodic upgrade can cost as much as the original implementation of a new rental software system, or even more. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central offers semi-annual updates to ensure your system is always up-to-date.

Are you able to customize or personalize the system to meet your unique requirements?

Customization is a bad word to many but without the ability to customize or personalize, you miss the benefit of configuring a new rental software system to fit your unique business requirements.

Is your system updated on a regular basis to give you access to new business processes?

Many systems offer substantive upgrades only every five years or so, which leaves you to work with an older system for the rest of the time and deal with major upgrades that can be very disruptive to your organization.

Are your mobility options limited or can you run your whole business on the device of your choosing?

Most mobile apps only provide select functions to run one area of your business, such as Rentals. Choose an app powerful enough to run your entire company as well as provide field users with job specific features to run offline and online.

A little bit about Open Door Technology

Open Door Technology is a North American Microsoft gold-certified ERP partner specializing in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. Our company is one of the larger partners in this space since we first started supporting the original product line back in 2000. A majority of our clients are comprised of oil and gas service, rental, and manufacturing companies located in the USA and Canada. We are also both a reseller and a development partner, selling several applications through the reseller channel around the world. This has given us a significant head start in the partner channel compared to many partners adapting to the latest version of Business Central, which has some significant platform differences from its predecessor, Dynamics NAV. Since the release of Business Central we have developed two rental-specific applications which have been published on Microsoft AppSource. Two of those apps are ODT Rentals 365 for North America, the Middle East and Europe as well as ODT Service 365 for North America, the Middle East and Europe. We are also a leader in the financial services space with several other apps.

Business Central offers you the very latest mid-market ERP technology running on top of Microsoft’s SQL Azure cloud infrastructure is available in a public cloud (SaaS), hosted, or from an in-house database. Choosing SaaS gives you twice yearly automatic upgrades based on the premise that continuous change is better than major periodic upgrades. Choosing an in-house or hosted solution offers the same upgrade process but on your schedule. The ability to have your system upgraded automatically twice per year, even with customizations, at a zero or near zero cost is a game changer for most organizations.

The Microsoft “look and feel” makes it easy for your users to learn and operate while the tight integration to Microsoft Office offers exceptional productivity. This new offering has allowed Microsoft to separate itself from its competitors.

Choose Dynamics 365 Business Central and you will be able to work with updated technology with a price point and rapid deployment capability only found in the mid-market. Contact us for a low pressure conversation to see if Business Central would be a good fit for your organization.

*Should you choose a rental software vendor or an ERP vendor with rental capability? Your business may need more than just a rental specialist. An ERP vendor with rental functionality can add flexibility and expertise to your organization. Learn more in our previous blog here.