Glenn Pearson doesn’t mince words. After 16 years in equipment and powered access hire, having built his own business from the ground up and run a large part of a multinational firm, he moved into software as a way to help the industry advance as a whole. As Point of Rental’s RentItOnline and Syrinx 365 Product Manager, he’s plugged in to the changes happening in e-commerce, hire, and sustainability initiatives throughout the UK and Europe.

We talked to him a little bit about digitalisation and what he and the Point of Rental team are doing to help those who are ready to begin their future now.

Why is “browser-based” the future for hire software?

It’s all about ease of access. You know, even if you just look at what you and I are doing in our own jobs, 90% of my working day in front of my computer is in browser-based applications. I don’t use Microsoft Word anymore, I’m using Google Sheets and Google Docs. We’re logged into browser-based emails, we’re meeting through a browser-based application at the moment. All the tools that we use for project management are browser-based. Why should the hire industry be left out?

From our end, it means we’re able to host it in the cloud, providing a more complete solution to hire businesses. Security is always important; someone using a cloud-based solution from us gets all the investment that goes into protecting that cloud server and it makes their data more secure. It also makes it easier for us to push updates out to customers, it makes it more seamless, the architecture allows us to integrate more easily with other industry-specific software; there are many advantages to browser-based applications.

At the end of the day, though, it comes down to ease of use. Anyone working in hire can log in to their system from anywhere in the world, with any device that has internet access.

How is Syrinx building to support that future, given its history as a server-based software?

As you know, Syrinx 365 can be hosted locally or through the cloud and can be accessed via a web browser. As we continue to build that out, we’re working to maintain all of the existing functionality. We’re also building in lots of additional functionality that has been based on feedback from existing customers. We’re translating that functionality, module by module, from the legacy system and making it more intuitive, more user-friendly, and with more functionality that customers have been asking for.

By adding ecommerce functionality by plugging in RIO (RentItOnline) as well, there’s so much value that people don’t realise yet. I think it will add a lot of efficiency for hire companies and insight into their customers’ behaviours. And that will help them to make informed decisions about pricing and inventory levels, as well, going forward.

What impact will the software changes have on Point of Rental customers?

I read an article years ago – on an average software application, a huge percentage of users will only ever use 15% of the capability of the software. In the time I’ve been working with Point of Rental, I’ve heard many times from customers, “Oh, if only it could do that,” and someone says, “Actually, the system can do that; you just need to go here and find this setting and that setting.”

So, I think for me, we want to make the software more intuitive; we want to expose more functionality, even if they’re not using it. Bring a lot of the hidden functionality out to the front end. The impact is to bring more efficiency to what they do and to bring better insight to hire companies.

Having worked in the hire industry for as long as I have, heaps and heaps of data is good, but then you have to do something with that data for it to be valuable. As we build out Syrinx 365, my goal is to provide users and customers quick access to actionable information that makes it clear for them what they need to do next.

What have been the challenges up until this point?

I think the biggest challenge is trying to prioritise what comes first. Because we have software that serves such a wide span of industries, we’re working with so many hire companies in so many different sectors or verticals. So prioritising new features and who will benefit most from them each time is definitely challenging. And of course, everyone asks, “When will it be finished?” Well, actually it will never be finished; there will always be something new to add, there will always be something to do better, something new to integrate with, etc.

How are you making sure that the software meets and exceeds customer requirements/ expectations?

We have lots of focus groups set up, for each of the different verticals: tool hire, powered access, heavy plant, specialist, crane hire. We invite companies along, run ideas past them, get their feedback, ask what their pain points are. Of course, it’s not possible to keep everybody happy all of the time; different hire companies prioritise different features and functions and do things in different ways.

All in all, people and businesses tend to not want to change…but if you give them something that works and makes their life easier, they learn to like the new way really quickly. And that’s what we aim to do; give people something that works effectively, efficiently, and makes their life easier.