Some companies do not realise that their technology could be costing them the most precious thing it is supposed to provide: time, writes LeaseTeam’s Ashley J Willey

Throughout history, innovation has been at the forefront of any revolutionary change to improve the quality of a product. In today’s day and age, innovation is found through the use of technology as a way to remain competitive in the fast-changing marketplace.

Many companies in the equipment leasing and financing industry are still using antiquated systems running on separate front-end and back-end systems. These systems can cause major disruption and significantly slow down the entire process. Just as information technology transformed the value chain of businesses over 30 years ago, end-to-end software is transforming it today. Companies are moving past business as usual and finding time-saving innovation on the other side with a seamless software solution, which can provide increased time efficiencies in three different ways: through automation and workflow, transparency and data.

Achieving automation and efficient workflow requires each stage of the process to be defined by the data, which is automated by specific tasks. This time-saving tool not only creates efficiency, but it can also reduce errors, facilitate communication to all areas of the system, and provide valuable tracking analytics to the user of the software.

The information obtained by seamlessly tracking data in the system allows you to maintain efficiency throughout the process from origination to completion. Highly configurable fields and forms improve the quality of the analytics, ensuring that you always have the correct information at the right time to maintain predictability and transparency for the entire duration of the agreement. Furthermore, the progression of information within the system is configurable to be task- or transaction-based. On the account level, the data allows the system to intuitively automate and assign specific tasks based on audit and history tracking.

The transparency of a single solution further enhances time-saving workflow capabilities that only a single-system solution can provide. While the carefully configured architecture provides the user with a seamless perception of the system, it also allows quick identification of burdensome bottlenecks that substantially slow down workflow. These bottlenecks occur when information is input into the system before the second step can create the output. These bottlenecks result in lost time and costly production. However, the flexibility of the system can adapt to process the data more efficiently.

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Ability to access information at any given time has become so pervasive in the past few years that it has significantly affected customers’ expectations for service. Sophisticated technology that reduce processing time is no longer a luxury, but a requirement for customer satisfaction. Disjointed systems require extra processing time and often cost companies opportunities, because of time wasted on broken communication between the front and back ends of separate systems.

Transparency further provides the ability to access information that is both relevant and valuable to the customer. This enhanced service sends your customer the message that you understand that their time is valuable to them and you are willing to provide them with a service that provides actionable information for attainable results.

Data has consistently proven to be an indispensable time-saving tool in best business practices. Its ability to seamlessly guide a system to optimisation proves the efficacity within a single-system solution. The user of the solution has the added value of being able to rely on the information provided to make important business decisions on time and avoid missed opportunities. Not only does it provide reliable information, but this data can also help to predict customer behaviour. Furthermore, analysing this data will allow you to respond pre-emptively to loan defaults and guide you as you determine how to utilise tools that will help with customer satisfaction. Let us face it, time focused on your customer’s success is time well spent; even better, it is time that you can quantify.

While data is a proven tool for many verticals in customer satisfaction, the time-saving power does not begin and end with customer satisfaction; it is essential to providing your employees with a healthy working environment. As Generation Z takes on The Information Age, there is a standard of technology that they expect from an employer. Just as customers have become accustomed to the immediacy that today’s technology provides, so too has the working culture that is now servicing them. Not only do outdated devices subject employees to unnecessary frustration, but it can also cause them to spend more time on what should be a simple task. In addition, when you are paying someone for their expertise and time, giving them antiquated tools can ultimately cost you money, and potentially a good employee.

According to a study by SHARP, outdated technology is causing profit and opportunity losses for businesses. On average workers would save 21 days per year with up-to-date technology.

For many companies the day-to-day operations will remain business as usual; however, there are those that are challenging members of the leasing and financing industry to take on new technologies. On July 12 2017, Richard Jones, managing director of Black Horse and chair of the UK Finance and Leasing Association, asked fellow industry members at the International Auto Finance Conference to consider how digitalisation can transform the very nature of the business. According to Jones, the right technology will change the business, which is only possible “by collaboration between lenders and software distributors”.

At this point, it is not a matter of whether the change will take place in the leasing and financing industry; it is a question of time. And that is something no company has to waste.