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Choosing the Right Software Platform for the Commercial Lender

July 17, 2018, 07:00 AM
By:
Topic: Technology
Related: Software, Technology

The commercial lending industry is undergoing a rapid digital transformation. Mounting customer expectations and a proliferation of new financial products and technologies are driving this change. This can make it daunting if you are considering investing in new software. It is easy to go down a wrong path and fall into a rabbit hole. To avoid getting stuck with the wrong solution, here are some key considerations to think about when seeking out new software for ABL and/or Factoring.

Stay Out of the Rabbit Hole

Having a plan with clear priorities and doing the proper research will lead to a successful software implementation that also stays within the budget. Before buying, consider the following.

  • Company objectives: Are the reasons for choosing a new system centered around operational efficiency, growth goals, or speed to market? Use these goals to help prioritize business needs.
  • Business requirements: Take the time to gather good requirements from all stakeholders who will work with the software and prioritize the list. Focus on defining a minimum viable product (MVP) that satisfies your critical requirements for the first implementation and leave less important requirements for a future phase. This will help you focus while minimizing implementation time and re-engineering costs.
  • Software trial: Competing products may appear similar on the surface. However, engaging in a trial will help to uncover operational nuances that you would not normally discover during a software demo.

Future-proof Your Application

It’s a given that choosing a system that is based on newer technology will provide greater longevity and will ultimately be a better investment. There are some basic, yet important technical considerations to consider.

  • Security: What are the layers of security that exist within the application and data center? Does the software have security protocols and certificates? How is authentication handled? Is encryption offered at rest and in-transit? How is data backed up? What are the vendor’s data privacy protocols and compliance standards?
  • Scalability and Performance: The software should accommodate the business’s changing needs and demands over time. Some things to consider are the software’s ability to process high volumes of data, perform concurrent processing of tasks, and expand to meet growing client and user count.
  • Cloud: With a cloud solution, the cost and effort of managing and maintaining the software moves to the vendor and allows the business to stay focused on what it does best. Leading cloud hosting facilities include Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure.
  • Application Programming Interfaces (APIs): As your business grows and changes, an application that supports APIs will allow easier connections and interoperability with emerging new third-party systems. They also enable internal IT teams to have quick and real-time access to system data.

There are ways to leverage technology to your competitive advantage. Take the time to evaluate your current processes and think about creative ways to improve on it.

  • Workflow Automation: There may be functions unique to your organization that merit being automated outside of what is offered in the standard software application. Anything that can improve the customer experience or create additional efficiencies in areas such as the transaction process, staff workflow or data exchange are worth considering.
  • Data Analytics: In addition to standard reports, look for user-friendly reporting tools that make it easy to extract and manipulate the data for analysis, trending and better decision making.
  • Customer Experience: Customers are more digitally savvy, expecting speed and convenience in processing and onboarding. A client portal with access to real-time 24/7 status of the account, or an automated process to pull in customer documents and credit information are some examples.

It’s About People

The choice of people, both internal and external, is critical to the success of a project. Dedicating a portion of your staff’s time to focus on the project will help meet deadlines and stay in budget. Working with a large team and high project costs does not always equate to a better implementation or outcome. It’s about the people you work with. A vendor that provides good project management services, technical and domain expertise, and values customer service will also be key in the success of an implementation.
     


Nancy Lee
Co-Founder & COO | ABLSoft
Nancy Lee is Co-Founder and COO of ABLSoft, a software company that provides a leading Cloud-based lending software for banks, asset-based lenders, factors and alternative lenders. Lee oversees the company's direction and business operations. Based in the Silicon Valley area, she has over 20 years experience in software product development and marketing at both start-up and large software companies.
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