Identifying The Problem
Most traditional collection software platforms in use today are based on old underlying technology and outdated designs. They were never built to support the latest needs of today’s collection organizations. Even collection software systems deployed in the past five years may already be outmoded.
Much like a well-maintained car that has a new appearance but an old, inefficient, gas-guzzling engine under the hood, some collection software platforms may appear modern but are powered by old, inefficient code. Both can still get you from point A to point B, but the journey is likely not a very smooth and efficient ride. Outdated software is fraught with too many manual activities, elongated processing times, limited insight, higher operational costs, and increased compliance risk.
Perhaps the collection software system was never very feature-rich or functionality-rich from the start. In this case, new systems quickly surpassed it with better capabilities. Maybe the system’s underlying technology or designs were outdated and inflexible from the start. In this situation, it is difficult for the collection software to incorporate software updates or enhancements that offer new capabilities or provide them to the degree needed to support the organization as it grows and evolves.
Even when outmoded systems can be upgraded, they may provide only minor, incremental benefits. The upgrade effort itself may require more work than it is worth. As such, collection organizations tend to skip upgrades and enhancements. This practice of “kicking the upgrade can down the street” only compounds the situation, accelerating the system’s demise. As such, collection organizations can quickly fall behind with their collection software releases or upgrades and paint themselves into a corner that is very difficult to escape without a lot of effort, resources, and cost. For this situation, moving to an entirely new collection system may be a smoother, more cost-effective and more time-efficient solution compared to making a significant jump to the latest version of an outmoded system—if that jump is even possible.
Unfortunately, it’s not always evident that a collection system has become outmoded. The decline occurs gradually but steadily over time. Typically, the realization occurs after overall collection performance has significantly declined or when a system is unable to properly support changes to the organization’s collections operations, approach, or practices.
By the time the organization identifies its limited collection software capabilities as the root cause of the performance decline or operation strategy roadblock, it has missed out on a significant amount of collection dollars. The company may have even lost customers, market position, and competent employees. Many organizations try quick, “duct tape” fixes by incorporating manual processes or inserting clunky “bolt-on” remedies as workarounds for their system’s shortcomings. These efforts typically yield less than desired results and only camouflage the real solution—replacing the outmoded collection software system entirely.
Choosing The Solution
While outmoded collection systems can create the dilemma of “upgrade or replace,” the good news is that certain modern collection software platforms at the forefront of the collection industry can make the switching decision easy. They offer increased levels of efficiency, effectiveness, control, and overall performance. Their advantages over outmoded systems are rich and distinct. They offer the latest and greatest capabilities, rapid deployment ability, relatively low switching effort, and easier upgrade process.
These new collection software systems are designed and built from the ground up, using modern technology and more intelligent designs that help collection organizations reach the next level of performance and results.
Features of today’s modern collection systems include:
- “Software-as-a-Service” offering to provide capabilities and functions on demand.
- Platform-wide, real-time processing to enable instant updates, tracking, and
- Frictionless interoperative ability throughout the platform for seamless processing.
- Embedded digital channel messaging for one- and two-way texting, email, and
- Highly interactive consumer self-serve collection portal with real-time processing and
- Centralized management overall business rules, collection strategies, contact channels, and customer engagements for “omni-channel collections.”
- “Intelligent” collector workbench for more agent efficiency and productivity.
- Easy do-it-yourself system administration, including rules, strategies, workflows, and
- Out-of-the-box advanced workflows that provide more automated processes.
- Highly robust and easily extensible database for more refined strategies and
- Better incorporation and support with external analytics applications (machine learning).
- Pay-as-you-go pricing model with no substantial upfront capital investment or license
- 24/7 infrastructure, network and application monitoring and
- Tier one banking standard information security, business continuity, and operating
- Free upgrades and enhancements discretely and seamlessly deployed without IT
In addition to adding the latest “bells and whistles,” modern collection software systems provide all of the fundamental capabilities found in existing, older platforms, but in a much easier, efficient, and better way. These new collection systems—specifically those developed to reside in “the cloud”—represent tremendous overall value. They offer a broad and richer set of modern, on-demand capabilities that provide increased ease-of-use, more flexibility, better manageability, stronger security, greater compliance, more support, quicker deployment, less internal IT resource requirements, and lower overall cost.
The collection industry and associated collection technology are rapidly changing. Existing collection software systems in use today are becoming outmoded more quickly and sooner than anticipated, putting organizations using these outdated systems at a distinct performance and competitive disadvantage.
Collection organizations that move to the latest and greatest collection software platform technology and associated capabilities can reap the rewards of better collections results, reduced operational expenses, and lower risk exposure. As such, collection organizations need to be continually evaluating the capabilities and effectiveness of their existing collection software system against the rapidly changing market conditions and evolving business needs. Equally important, they should be proactive about replacing outdated collection software systems, and less “penny-wise and pound-foolish” about switching. Those that don’t will become just another Blackberry in an iPhone world.
About the Author
Robert Fite has compiled more than 25 years of experience in the credit and collections industry with extensive expertise in decision management software tools, credit data, risk scoring, and collection technology. He has held leadership positions with Experian, Fico, and LexisNexis, and has worked with hundreds of lenders of all types, sizes, and credit products, throughout North America. He can be found on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/robert-fite-3003494.