The digital revolution is transforming customer service standards across industries, enabling innovative digitally enabled services and features.
With the advent of modern equipment leasing software and enhancements, businesses are now expecting higher levels of service. As new market entrants emerge from the fintech and technology industries, disrupting the core business and reshaping the industry, equipment finance companies and lessors must assess and improve their digital capabilities if they want to remain competitive.
To address these challenges, the equipment finance industry is embarking on a comprehensive digital transformation. However, this transformation has previously been limited to isolated initiatives, such as upgrading their core equipment finance software, creating individual applications, or improving their online and mobile channels.
The equipment finance industry is gearing up for transformations that focus on how they interact with customers, giving them more control and choices. Furthermore, equipment finance companies provide customers with new, value-added digital services like the ability to validate loan approvals and open accounts quickly.
In the previous blog from this series ( read blog here), we discussed some key factors that are driving this transformation journey and how these drivers are impacting the equipment leasing companies. Some of the key focus areas have been around moving to more standard platforms for their core equipment finance software, consolidating for leaner infrastructure, and automating processes. In part 2 of this blog, we will explore some other initiatives that companies are experimenting with.
A new way of working for IT and the business through an agile workforce
Today, many companies do not have an optimal software development process. Development teams are maintained only for the duration of their respective projects and work independently of the business. Developers concentrate on completing projects, not assuming responsibility for the application’s full life cycle; instead, they pass their work on to operations, which oversees maintenance and bug fixing. The geographical dispersion of the team makes it difficult to respond to changes in the market.
To overcome these challenges, agile methodologies need to be implemented correctly. The best agile teams include business staff, developers, product managers, data analysts, user interface designers, and user-experience designers. They are also best when they are co-located and multifunctional. In addition, they tend to perform better if they focus on features rather than components.
With this model, each team has a long-term mandate, which fosters end-to-end accountability and helps developers acquire deep, specific knowledge, resulting in increased productivity. The development process structure and incident handling can also be structured with a relatively high degree of autonomy for teams. As a result of the close interaction between business and IT, as well as each team owning the digital service it’s working on, efficiency is boosted and only what is needed by the clients and business is built.
The implementation of agile improves the efficiency of the development team and helps attract high-quality IT talent. According to recent research, agile environments foster qualities valued by top talent today—including appreciation of one’s work and good relationships with colleagues. A company’s ability to attract and retain the right talent is crucial in today’s rapidly evolving digital world.
Advancing in the right direction
Embracing digital transformation can be an exciting and rewarding journey for the equipment finance industry. Here are some of the steps that we believe are critical to making it successful:
Develop a rough architecture of the target system – encompassing core equipment leasing software, applications, data, and infrastructure – in a short period: The entire IT organization must be involved in the design process, including architects, application domains, operations, and infrastructure. In the coming months, the target architecture should be detailed in successive steps.
Maintain a rigorous program management approach to ensure progress while being agile in the planning
process: Despite not being able to see the path to the target architecture, the company should move toward it. In addition, it can help the company embark on the transformation quickly and adjust to the requirements that change along the way by using a wave-based approach (allotting, for example, six months per wave).
Ensure that the delivery process is automated as much as possible: When migrating to a new target landscape, focus on migration first, then automation. As a general rule, automate core systems and the application and infrastructure delivery process as quickly as possible.
Agility at scale: In our experience, most agile initiatives and pilots begin in IT before they spread throughout the company. That is why we recommend that companies start with pilots and quickly roll out agile. To build an agile organization that is aligned with the company’s vision and aims at scale, pilots are the starting point.
Establish a DevOps team: Through the creation of DevOps teams and the application of continuous delivery principles, best-practice companies break down the silos separating development and operations.
Develop your digital talent and train your team: Organize events like hackathons and discussion panels with CIOs and developers to cultivate an engineering culture and deep technical expertise. Hire agile coaches and developers from fintech, technology companies, and software vendors or offer secondments to your people. You can attract and retain top talent if you create a physical environment and an IT culture that are similar to those of “true” technology companies (such as co-locating employees).
Headquartered in Philadelphia, USA, Odessa is a software company exclusively focused in the leasing industry. The Odessa Platform powers a diverse customer base globally, providing end-to-end, extensible solutions for lease and loan origination and portfolio management. Odessa facilitates business agility through rich feature sets including low-code development, test automation, reporting and business intelligence to ensure organizations can more effectively align business and IT objectives. Learn more at www.odessainc.com