O nline banking, sending emails and browsing social media are all examples of this. According to RapidScale, 90% of organizations use the cloud in some way and may not even realise it. The main reason for this - the Cloud is not very well understood.
When questioned on the Cloud, people often assume you mean iCloud or storage in general. Although this is a perfectly valid example of the Cloud, it is far more complex than just storage, and it’s certainly used far more frequently. Cloud is used in all aspects of work life such as; training customers overseas with video conferencing or working in a virtual office with Google’s online suite of Office applications and in our personal lives with online banking, as a clear example of society personally adopting the Cloud to manage sensitive and important data.
We all use the Cloud day in, day out to manage the most vital parts of our everyday lives. So why should it be any different when it comes to managing your rental business? IDC predicts that worldwide investment in the Cloud “will reach $122.5 billion in 2017, an increase of 24.4 percent over 2016, nearly seven times the rate of overall IT spending growth.” Whether you’re considering migrating to the Cloud or not, take a look at the key benefits below to see how it could improve the way you manage your rental processes, and further streamline your business.
Any Device, Anywhere
Whether you’re out on site, en route to a job, at another store or overseas, you’ll want to be able to access your rental management system from any location. It may be because a client has called to see whether specific gear is available, to discuss a quote you sent or to find contact details for a person, venue or organisation within your system. With Cloud software, you can access your system instantly, on whatever device you have to hand, enabling you to secure more jobs and avoid losing out on business hours.
There are multiple benefits to hosting your rental business in the Cloud, for starters, all updates are automatically rolled out. This is extremely beneficial if the software provides multiple updates per year, or even per month, as all devices will automatically be updated with no hassle or time constraints on your business. This means the features are instantly available for all to use as soon as they are updated, rather than waiting for someone available to update each device separately. Plus, there’s no need for maintenance or backups: it’s all done by your software provider. They can take care of all the backups, maintenance, servers, infrastructure and take the headache away from very busy companies that need to focus on getting jobs out of the door.
Because your data is stored in the Cloud, it can be accessed no matter what happens to your machine. You can even remotely wipe data from lost laptops so it doesn’t get into the wrong hands, providing much more flexibility and control over your data. While moving to the Cloud does mean giving up some control, it is often the case that your software provider will be able to look after your data more securely than what your own time constraints would allow you to, plus it relieves the tedious job of maintaining servers. With Cloud, backups are automatic, meaning the chance of anything happening to your data is significantly reduced, as everything is backed up so often.
Current RMS is hosted on Amazon’s mighty Web Services platform, a multi billion dollar infrastructure that powers a large proportion of cloud services. AWS has one of the most impressive reliability records of all major infrastructure providers, however that doesn’t mean things can’t and won’t go wrong - when they do, you want to know that a large, experienced team is getting the issue fixed quickly. The AWS S3 outage that occurred at the end of February, which in the words of Forbes, “broke a large chunk of the internet”, was widely publicised and discussed due to the high number of sites and services that were taken offline because of it. Whilst Current was impacted, our core services including creating quotes, jobs, booking out and checking in all stayed up 100% despite such a critical infrastructure component being down.
Again, another term perhaps a little unknown, Software as a Service (SaaS), is a software distribution model in which software is licensed on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted, being accessed by users over the internet (TechTarget, 2016). This means that SaaS software can offer an affordable monthly or annual fee, rather than a large upfront cost. As it is subscription based, it also means the price is based on users, so you’re only paying for people that are actually using the software - much more cost effective. Another advantage is that the setup of the software is instant with SaaS. There is no on-site implementation for individual users and devices, you can get started straight away, hassle free. SaaS eliminates the expense of hardware maintenance, software installation and support costs, by removing the need for companies to install and run applications themselves (TechTarget, 2016). The single configuration also makes development testing faster, enabling new features and updates to roll out much more frequently.
The ability to work in real-time, means that multiple people can work from one centralized system together, improving efficiency and production, bringing your most diverse and distributed teams together. In the case of Current RMS, the sales team using the system can work off the same quotes together and view all changes through Recent Documents, the warehouse team can separately scan items off the same job from different ends of the room and business owners can check recent actions against jobs to see who’s been working together on what. This is incredibly useful when some employees are out on jobs, some are in the office and some are working from home, as everyone can still work simultaneously in real-time, while being in different locations, helping streamline the entire process by managing everything in one system.
The Cloud market is set to accelerate rapidly throughout 2017 with more and more businesses migrating their processes online. At Current RMS, we are here to guide you through the entire process and answer all your questions - no matter how big or small they are. If you have any concerns about Cloud or want to find out more about our robust, infrastructure then get in touch today, we’ll be more than happy to answer any of your questions.
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