Is Asset Finance Technology Ready for the Cloud?
Cloud technology is changing almost every aspect of our lives. Almost everything has an option to access information or services through cloud technology. Adoption of Cloud technology has come from the exceptional convenience it offers. This has created an expectation that all products and services have a Cloud option, both for personal and business use.
The Trend Towards Embracing Cloud Technology
Businesses, as well as consumers, have benefitted from this new delivery mechanism. For business-to-business (B2B) vendors, the move to Cloud has been slower than business-to-consumer (B2C) taking a more measured approach. This is especially true of organizations that serve the asset finance industry, where cloud delivery of key technologies has required due diligence to ensure transactions are secure, appropriate oversight to be in place, and accurate accounting and auditability of all transactions. In this new world of cloud, no single vendor will be able to meet all requirements and growing customer needs. To best serve asset finance providers, vendors must work together to provide comprehensive and flexible options for streamlining origination through end of term processes. Cloud makes this possible.
The Power and Flexibility of the Full Ecosystem
Cloud technology is fundamentally designed for connectivity and assisting industries to shift to a service model; where companies offer a range of service offerings in addition to product lines and one-off jobs. If built on modern cloud architectural principles, a cloud service will be able to connect to other systems which will help to increase overall functionality. There has been a paradigm shift from siloed systems where each vendor provides one function or a subset of functionality of the whole process to today where vendors much recognize the ecosystem that supports the full needs of the asset finance company.
Cloud solutions allow vendors to link services providing a seamless process throughout the full lifecycle of a lease or loan. For example, during origination, required steps including credit check or digital signature could be part of a single integrated process, yet delivered by multiple vendors. Application program interfaces (APIs) are at the heart of this connectivity. To harness the full power of the ecosystem, Cloud service providers need standardized application connections (APIs) that allow their application to connect to other applications relevant to the asset finance ecosystem. When looking at cloud service providers, understanding their ability to connect to other services should be a key criterion for evaluation. When looking at their product material, you should see references to microservices or web services in addition to the formal API which provides the framework for both the connection and the relationship between the two vendors.
This is one of the great impacts of cloud technology; the ability for the customer to build the process they need to support their business model today – and in the future. But, while we see Cloud adoption moving fast in many areas of our lives, we are still in the early stage of seeing the full impact of this innovation in the asset finance industry.
Not all technology providers have achieved the same level of proficiency in the cloud or have simply taken their non-cloud architecture and are providing a cloud like hosting capability. In this case, the vendor can deliver on the ease of access to their technology but falls short of delivering the capability of delivering a customer centric experience.
Customer-centric user experiences start with the customer! I know this seems obvious, but I believe in the midst of the complexity of the technology being delivered, there are times when this first principle is lost. Adding value to the process and giving the customer the ability to work across vendors to get the functionality they need is why cloud delivery of asset finance technology will continue to grow. Simply put, the cloud takes us back to the goal of delivering what the customer needs by leveraging a technology platform that enables an incredible amount of flexibility Cloud allows you to scale up or down as your business needs require. For example, if you were to acquire a book of business from another financial institution and had a sudden need for increased capacity (i.e. user seats, capacity for additional contracts), your technology vendor could quickly and easily scale up to meet your needs.
To get the most out of moving to the cloud, look for an asset finance technology provider that will allow you to only pay for what you need to support your specific business. With the flexibility of Cloud solutions, you have the ability to work with your technology vendor to map out the right system and functionality to meet your business’s current and future business needs.
To learn more about the benefits of transitioning asset financing to the cloud, visit www.idsgrp.com.
Author: Ray Wizbowski — IDS VP, Marketing