Author Profile: Ryan Pereira joined TAO Solutions (TAO) in the fall of 2010, initially working in business solutioning and design at Toronto headquarters. As TAO expanded with offices in international markets (USA, Australia), Ryan relocated to San Diego, CA in the fall of 2019 to oversee TAO’s US operational and business development. TAO’s latest application solution, LeaseSpark, is intently focused on supporting the asset-finance industry, with an emphasis on the evolving equipment finance market.

It can be daunting to continuously hear year after year about the changes and evolution within the equipment finance industry, let alone the focus upon the imminent arrival of the digital transformation era. This can be even more challenging for small ticket lessors and captive finance entities, who are often having to worry about ceaseless growth, commingled with the decision of whether or not it’s the right time to disrupt their current operational process. These in itself inhibit migration to new technology and process adoption, let alone the burden of a pandemic when many are either forced or are more comfortable to work remotely. However, each of these impediments provide a significant argument of why change is not only required, but is essential for surviving and flourishing in the equipment finance industry over the next several years.

The question is quite simple: are we as a team ready to invest in new technology adoption, which often affords us the opportunity to scale efficiently? Often the answer here is yes; who wouldn’t say yes to this? Putting aside external and internal costs that are always a factor when deciding on new technology adoption, and are important considerations, why do many hesitate? The simple answer is often trust. Do we trust that we will realize the vision of what we set forth prior to adoption? Do we trust that the technology will grow with us? Do we trust our partners to deliver on their promise? Do we trust that we will dedicate the time and focus required to evolve our own thinking to this new (current) world? Though any one of these questions may pose doubt in your mind, I assure you they are perfectly normal. In fact, they are a part of every single software implementation. Trust alone isn’t the answer, but rather just one consideration; the other is commitment. If a team trusts and commits, they will succeed. Sure, things won’t always be rosy, because hiccups can and will occur when change is present; knowing and understanding this is also invaluable to project success.

When we attend conferences and review marketing materials, plenty of shiny new terms pop up that either excite us or exacerbate our fear. E-signing ceremonies, workflow automation, AI integration, and data analytics that enhance the automation experience as a whole, are just a few examples. As the old adage states, there is no time like the present – now is the time to embrace these terms and to work with technology solutions and support channels that empower your team to not only survive the next few years, but to stay competitive and scale in the process. Often these terms are simply buzzwords that can be visualized in simple terms. After all, workflow automation is simply an automated sequence of current and future events generated in real time based on actionable items. If we read that back again, we can relate it to our own daily lives, without the technology jargon clouding the simple message.

The right tools are available that help streamline the digital transformation that is increasing throughout equipment finance today. Though disruption and change are necessary for progress and advancement, they can bring about fear, and rightfully so. But the question of “why change what works?” needs to evolve to “are we efficient in what we’re doing today, and are we prepared for tomorrow?”  There have been plenty of signs of encouragement that the industry is changing with the times, and that is nothing short of a glowing compliment to all of my peers and prospective clients.

Regardless of the type of assets finance, Lessors, Brokers, Partners, Captive Lenders, Investors, and more, should feel empowered to participate in this current age with all the right information, tools, and streamlined processes at their fingertips. The technology employed needs to scale with you and the industry as a whole. It must allow you to stay competitive for years to come, and at an attractive value proposition. It should serve as a central hub and welcoming store for all data, acting as a bi-directional neuron for all necessary and advantageous communication. The support channels involved in a new systems implementation need to strengthen this experience by placing customer satisfaction and training at the forefront of the project culture. If both of these things exist, then why would we fear progress and advancement? The digital transformation age is simply the current climate we’re all in today, and now more than ever is the time to support industry peers by providing significant value propositions that materially aid in the decision-making process. Let’s trust and commit.

*This editorial will also be published in the January 2021 Monitor Daily Talent+ news edition