By Per Högberg, Director of Asset Finance
Implementations based on standards
Contract Management Systems (CMS) are at the very core of an Asset Finance system landscape, in a logical functional split often combined with an onboarding engine driving processes in credit scoring and KYC related processing such as AML and Beneficial owner verifications. To these core elements comes channel applications for new business origination, targeting retail networks or direct customer facing in B2C or B2B setups. For an auto finance business to replace their CMS and/or onboarding application is a strategic long-term decision.
Main drivers for such a replacement often include improving back-office efficiency and scalability, as well as more forward-leaning objectives in launching new financial product offerings to the company’s customers, due to that very few initiatives are solely driven by objectives in improving efficiency. Offering new or improved services with fully digital end-customer interaction points is a given.
At the very foundation of a successful project in replacing the CMS and onboarding platforms is the partnership between the customer (in this context being the financial services entity) and the supplier of system software services and professional services required for a high-quality implementation.
This partnership is the foundation for robust decision making by the customer management stakeholders and workforce to ensure the final solution setup meets the defined objectives, and in which both parties are equally committed to reach implementation objectives in terms of functionality, timeline, and cost.
To ensure progress in implementation projects, especially when driving the decision making process, the supplier’s professional services project team should base the dialogue and communication on pre-set standard setups and configurations. As a general principle, asking the customer, “Which pre-defined option A, B or C would be preferred for configuration item X?” is a productivity multiplier in system implementation work - unlike asking the customer “What characteristics would you like to have for configuration item X?”.
These principles are further strengthened by the professional services team, which by possessing key knowledge about the customers business will enable them to propose clear recommendations as a starting point.
With a strong partnership and trust established between the parties, an initial agreed position to always strive for re-using proven standards and pre-defined configurations is a key enabler to reach time-to-market objectives, scope control and change management during project implementation.
To be a competitive financial services company for the future must not become static, and the business and customer offerings must also change based on new market demands.
To be a supplier of software services comes with the responsibility of continuously maintaining and developing standards in terms of customer processing options and configuration possibilities. It also requires actively, and in a planned way, decommissioning legacy setups not deemed viable for future market developments. In our minds, this process should be perceived and approached as an evolution with stepwise deliveries, rather than enforcing drastic changes on an existing customer base.
With customer collaboration and advisory services, these stepwise improvements can, for existing customers, be planned and executed in a way to ensure customer financial service entity business value. Controlling long-term maintainability, and consequently your Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), is equally important from both customer and supplier perspective.
However, because the asset finance market is dynamic, standards need to be continuously maintained and further developed to support these changes.To be a competitive financial services company for the future must not become static, and the business and customer offerings must also change based on new market demands.
Preferably, these changes can be a key enabler for progress if taken in controlled steps, in which tight collaboration and partnership with a supplier of IT system services cover a large extent of the IT landscape requirements. With deliveries through a SaaS-based model, the complexity of IT software infrastructure delivery is also taken out of the equation, and thereby enabling the finance company to focus solely on business development.
As a supplier of software solutions in the asset finance business domain, it is important to be prepared with the mindset being willing to integrate to any service as mandated by your customer, in order to form an ideal IT landscape that supports the customer’s business in an optimal way. This is taken in consideration to both legacy customer investments undertaken as well as new components required to design a competitive market offering.
Determining service and application integration points based on business flow and process design is, in most implementation scenarios, clarified already as a deliverable from an analysis phase. In order to integrate this the best way, securing both time-to-market and long long-term maintainability is the technical domain in which the supplier should offer as an open API approach based on modern industry standards.
The supplier should also be flexible enough to manage new market or customer-specific requirements with an approach of building further on maintainable API layers, avoiding tailor-made one-offs. Also, it can – and will, from time to time – happen that an integration point is discovered after the analysis phase, despite best efforts from both customer and supplier. Business will continue regardless, and creativity in business development from the customer side may thereby put new requirements on the solution being implemented.
In Banqsoft, we operate with an approach of API first, meaning that everything we develop is with the end goal of API consumption in mind. As the development roadmap and plans meet requirements from a specific customer case, we need to be fast moving and flexible in adjusting REST services exposed on our integration layer as well as modifying our robust data staging layers for reporting purposes.
For an auto finance business to replace their CMS and/or onboarding application is a strategic long-term decision.
With cloud technology and robust integration standards such as RESTful APIs, we see increasing possibilities and potential good business cases for partnering up with software services vendors offering complementary functionality for increasing customer business value. When utilizing cloud service setups as an enabler, partner solutions can be materialized without added complexity in managing the customer IT landscape.
In the last 2-3 years, we have seen an increased willingness and maturity among our customers to assess the full perspective of solving business process functional requirements by connecting to and consuming readily available cloud services, rather than pushing development requirements. This also includes services delivered in partnerships with key software service suppliers. Time-to-market as well as long-term maintainability are equally important drivers for utilizing service setups in a cloud environment, in most cases from the overall IT landscape perspective, resulting in a hybrid cloud setup.
So, reflecting on implementations based on standards, choice, and including partner cloud solutions to meet functional requirements can truly be a win-win for involved parties. Banqsoft partnerships in the cloud service environment have first kicked off in the AML and beneficial owner verification area, where we find how service partners at ease can plug-in to readily available APIs in our integration layer. From our customer’s perspective, this ensures compliance and increasing business value both in onboarding and contract management of existing contract stock, without added complexity.
Banqsoft’s Nordic Heritage
Banqsoft offers a complete end-to-end software suite and service offering for the asset finance industry, with long experience from both the market leading position in the Nordic region as well as financial services businesses in more than 30 markets around the globe powered by Banqsoft’s View21 financial software suite.
Banqsoft is the de-facto Nordic market leader in Auto Finance, with experience from a large number of customer implementations projects and several success stories, where our software suite View21 is the core IT platform for break-through business achievements with our customers. We are continuously building on our experience and improving coverage for our standard setups, to become more agile and fast moving, while ensuring processing quality for our SaaS customers and striving to push the envelope for time-to-market.
To find out more about our company and services, learn more at www.banqsoft.com.
Director of Asset Finance