One key decision that Result Group has made has been to shift to the Java language for all of its software. It has been a US$15 million (€11 million) investment for Result and means that its software can operate on any operating platform and is easily customisable. Java also lends itself to working over the internet and networking between different sites and computers, both key features of modern rental software systems. Result's customers were told three years ago that there would be a five-year transition between its old systems and the new Java-based solutions. In that period, the old packages are being supported, but when the five years are up, all development work and upgrades of non-Java products will stop.
Result's managing director Derek Robson says 40% of its customers have already switched to the Java product.
If Java is the programming language that underpins the Result software, it's the various rental modules themselves that primarily interest its customers. These include the usual panoply of rental and sales functions, finance, asset management and business reporting. The company will offer some specialist software add-ons where appropriate: for example, it can offer the Cognos business analysis tool as well as Vertex software to manage complicated inter-State tax arrangements in the US.
As well as these software modules, Result offers a growing number of options to integrate further technology. These include RFID (radio frequency identification) for asset tracking, smart pens, touch screen operation, XML documents, online reporting and e-commerce. “None of these things are wish lists”, says Mr Robson, “They are done.”