Unhappy with your loan & lease software ?
Updated: Aug 3, 2019
In talking with prospects, one unfortunate theme often stands out – many are not happy with their current loan and lease software. Yet they will stick with it or continue to upgrade with the same vendor despite claiming that they are not thrilled with it.
Some prospects will really open up and let you know but overall it appears to be a dissatisfaction about one particular aspect of their loan and lease solution. Let’s dig deeper as to the causes that lead to an unhappy customer and offer some remedies:
1. The needs are not being met. This is a big one and a cause of many failed implementations. Not drilling down deep enough into the business requirements at the onset of a new implementation or upgrade is a costly mistake. Not only will it erode user confidence but it will encourage “work arounds” to resolve the missing pieces. At the end of the day the software did not provide the expected value and outcome that the customer was looking for which is the ultimate goal of any software implementation.
Remedy: Ensure that a full detailed analysis study of your business requirements is conducted prior to a purchase commitment and that you understand how the software will address those requirements.
2. The user interface is clumsy and/or counter intuitive. Granted this is a tougher one since a loan and lease software evaluation will start with a demo and not include a ‘try-before-you-buy’ option due to the complexity of enterprise software. However, the issue really comes down to work flow not being totally in tune with how the customer works. It’s often not about the visual appeal but really about getting anything done being painful and/or time consuming. The whole point of a software is to streamline and simplify – if you are spending more time to do a task then previously then something is wrong. Again, this comes down to needs analysis and understanding the work flow so that you can ensure that the software is in line or can be adapted or configured to reflect how you work.
Remedy: Before a purchase commitment is made, work through a contract for the entire life cycle to ensure compatibility with your work flow and way of doing things. This can and should be done as part of a detailed needs analysis.
3. The system is too slow. There are many factors that can impact system performance and not all are necessarily the responsibility of the software vendor. If the solution is on premise, is the server capable of handling the data volume and throughput (I/O), is the network speed adequate, are there a lot of overhead programs on the server slowing it down, is there enough memory, etc.
For a cloud solution, the same applies except that the server is someone else’s responsibility. Regardless you have to ensure that the cloud server can handle the work load and number of users and preferably that it is a dedicated server. In many less expensive SAAS solutions, you are sharing the server with many other users which will slow it down.
Remedy: Ensure the software vendor can work with the cloud provider or IT provider to maximize server configuration and performance within a given budget.
4. The software is not adaptable. Businesses are not static and are constantly changing. You can`t always predict what the future will bring since staying competitive means being able to react quickly. You need to be able to satisfy the needs of customers and external parties like dealers and funders as requests come up. If some new functionality is required to respond to a business change, ask how the software can meet that change. Keep in mind that configurable software can only go so far is it is designed for the standard variations that exist in the market. But experience has shown that financial service companies are anything but standard as they strive to stay ahead of their competitors by offering new product options, incentives or services.
Remedy: A loan and lease software is an enterprise class solution, meaning that it will impact every aspect of your financial service business or enterprise. For that class of software, it must be expected that there will be some degree of customization as no software will be perfect. If you understand that some customization is expected and this is especially true for established companies that are evolving, then avoid software vendors who offer generic and out of the box solutions.
5. The software vendor is not responsive or capable. You find out way into the implementation and long after the purchase that the vendor doesn’t have the commitment or knowledge that is needed. When you are in the market for a loan or lease software that will significantly impact the whole of your financial business from sales to accounting, then the software vendor should be considered as an extended partner that you will rely on for guidance and expertise when it comes to the software solution. Given that the typical life of a software solution is 8 to 10 years, then that software partner has to be in it with you for the long haul.
When you are choosing a loan and lease software you are also evaluating the vendor for knowledge, experience, commitment level and service offerings. Which is why buying only on price avoids these critical components that are an important contributor to a successful and long-term solution.
Remedy: Your software evaluation should include all of the attributes of the software vendor as well. It is as important if not more important than the software as most customers cannot realize an implementation on their own. In fact, the value that a knowledgeable and experienced vendor can bring is difficult to measure. The needs analysis stage is a good opportunity to gauge that vendor’s knowledge and see how they work first hand, prior to any purchase commitment.
In summary, successful implementations and software solutions that have a long life and provide critical value to a business will have all the ingredients mentioned above. It is the responsibility of the owners, principals or upper management or whoever is undertaking the responsibility of the project to understand what makes a software acquisition a success and then take responsibility for ensuring that each of those components is properly evaluated.