Last week I attended the ELFA (Equipment Leasing and Finance Association) Credit and Collections conference in St. Petersburg, FL. Over the last three years of attending, there has been a consistent undercurrent focused on digital transformation. But this year was different. This year, several presentations focused on tangible steps companies have taken toward realizing their digital journey. No longer were companies presenting a multi-year deployment strategy for “someday” getting to digital… this year they were actually showing the first real steps of the journey.

It’s exciting to see our industry start to adopt a digital journey on a broader scale. As a product owner, I know first-hand the challenge of identifying the appropriate first steps toward digital followed by the prioritization of getting this capability built into the product. As we, at IDS,  launched capabilities like digital signature on a mobile device for our Rapport origination platform, we needed to  provide education to our customer base to identify the time saving and efficiency delivered through this new digital feature. Making technology easier to consume and scale was one of the driving principles behind our launch of IDScloud (providing the full capabilities of Rapport origination and InfoLease portfolio management via a 100% SaaS delivery).

The Digital Transformation Challenge – Conference presenters talked about the days of taking on multi-year projects without getting the benefits of incremental returns are over. Having a long-term goal is still important but being able to break projects into small pieces to show progress is critical to the long-term success of a digital strategy. This allows end-users to experience value gains as fast as possible and keeps the project on track. Some key learnings from the conference include:

1 – Dig into your data

Before starting, analyze your data to understand trends and validate how proposed automated processing will deliver the expected results. If possible, use the agile methodology as it provides a great process to break down projects into smaller chunks of development. Concepts like minimal viable product (MVP) allow you to build enough functionality to test a digital concept, but not have to invest in the full build up front and it gives you the ability to boost customer feedback.

2 – Keep your team engaged

Transparency is key to keeping employees engaged. When they know the plan, they are able to provide input, and most importantly will see how this new automation will help them be more efficient, but not replace them. As deliverables are rolled out, walk you team through changes clearly identifying employee and end customer benefits. Help them to see, automating simple tasks allow employees to focus on the more complicated tasks to help them to expand and grow as individuals.

3 – Taking your customer digital

Some of the first areas where we are seeing digital is in the origination process. With customer providing information digitally, it allows for this data to be analyzed and decisions to be made based upon pre-determined risk profiles. At IDS, we have worked with an ecosystem of vendors to help automate steps like credit check to help increase the speed of the applications process. The more data being captured digitally lends itself to more refined automated decisioning and gives you more data to use in future projects.

Empowering customer self-service will be another critical step in processes automation. This will help the customer take care of simple task, like payment inquiries, and provide them with an overall better, more efficient customer experience. With this in mind, there is a balance between automation for customer convenience and delivering exceptional customer experience, which can never be truly replaced by digital processes.


If you’re just getting started on a digital transformation journey or are well on your way and would like to see how IDScloud, Rapport and InfoLease can assist you down your digital path, come join us at ConnectionPoint, July 9 – 11, in Minneapolis, MN.

Scott Wall, Product Manager, IDS