We recently put The Alta Group’s digital business advisory experts on the spot. John Rizzi and John Hurt were asked, “Briefly, what advice can you give equipment leasing companies that are facing system evaluations, implementations, or upgrades?”
It’s certainly a loaded question. Equipment finance organizations differ significantly in the platforms they use and technology goals desired, not to mention their business models. Specific advice must be tailored for each company.
But some generalizations are possible given the current market. Based on their experiences, Rizzi and Hurt advise equipment finance companies that are contemplating technology changes to consider the following.
- Be open minded to new products and system vendors.
- Spend more time on due diligence and proof of concept before committing to a program.
- Adapt your business to closely align with the new system’s capabilities and work flows.
- Avoid code customization simply because you have always done it that way.
- Invest in change management programs and trust your employees’ ability to adapt to change.
- Add skill sets in your organization that will leverage the self-service configuration and integration capabilities offered in open architecture systems.
Information technology activity in the industry is on a notable upswing but there is still plenty of pent-up activity, report Rizzi and Hurt. Some companies are waiting for successful results by others before embarking on their own implementations. Once this occurs, market activity should spike higher. So, what’s driving the changes?
“Beyond the need for lessors to modernize their portfolio management platforms, the appetite to embrace all things digital and the regulatory environment are the core drivers for change,” Rizzi says. “Digital based applications supporting customer-facing activities have been widely adapted over the past 10 years so the focus today is on enhancements to the balance of the operational leasing lifecycle,”
Rizzi and Hurt discussed their advice and the current market with us as part of an extensive Q&A covering critical digital challenges and opportunities for the industry.
“The biggest complaint from lessors is the struggle to modify core system capability to achieve full alignment with the value-added business functionality unique to each company. Traditionally, this has required significant time to explain business requirements to the system provider and money to have the customization completed, resulting in a lag in delivery,” Hurt explains.
“Systems today are being evaluated in large measure on how well they can be configured vs. customized via APIs or standard platform bolt-ons. Systems that achieve full alignment the best are more attractive, especially to lessors whose business models are constantly evolving.”
Their Q&A also covered the technology capabilities most needed in the early stages of offering managed solutions transactions, cybersecurity efforts being made, the potential of newer technologies including blockchain and artificial intelligence, and their advisory work in the equipment leasing and industry.