I had a great experience at the 2021 ELFA Annual Convention in San Antonio. One part of that great experience was learning more about what others were doing across the equipment finance ecosystem. As a technologist and thought leader, I am always on the lookout for ways that others are changing the business or changing the way they use technology to improve their business.
In that light, here are three observations that caught my attention.
Arrival of a modern software ecosystem
The “IDS now Solifi” rebranding is a sign of industry maturation to a modern software architecture, ecosystem, and business model – open platforms in a Software-as-a-Service go-to-market. Solifi’s ownership and leadership obviously have a strategy to be more to their customers and are leveraging the flexibility and scale of cloud-based software to bring those solutions in a more integrated experience. The Solifi Marketplace is, I believe, the first example of an equipment finance service provider offering a truly collaborative solution set for customers. I see this rebranding as a catalyst for partnership and change throughout the industry.
Simple and fast drive AI success
In a session on Machine Learning and AI in equipment finance, Shankar Subramanian of Netsol Technologies described two critical characteristics of successful implementation using AI. The first was to keep the objective simple. Pick a simple outcome and then work to improve it. Complex systems are hard to deploy and can be hard to evaluate for efficacy. Simple is a key to success when it comes to technology deployment. The second is the rate at which data is generated. The value of AI applications is that they can predict and learn. The faster the data changes, the faster the agent can learn and improve its predictions. Shankar described how they are using IoT based data, which is intrinsically operational and thus near real time, for predictive maintenance of both the equipment and lease. I found this to be the best example of AI implementation at the convention and a great example of the value of operational data like IoT to equipment finance solutions.
Attentive agility is key to managing complexity and change
In the session on Gen Y as a Vertical Market the subject of labor shortage impacts on credit was posed to the audience. One of the audience members, a representative of Farm Credit Leasing, described how they use access to labor as part of their credit process. They have done so for several years, but today they are ahead of the curve researching customer labor shortages as a credit risk. I thought this was a great example of how we must be attentive to the complexity of credit and how macroeconomics affects microeconomics in this industry. Farm Credit has demonstrated how attentive agility in business processes can be a competitive discriminator in times of rapid change or uncertainty.
I am sure there were other examples of both these three observations as well as other examples of meaningful change in the industry. I was energized by these three events. We would love to hear from you on things you saw and we missed. Send us your observations at firstname.lastname@example.org.