A variety of software solutions exist to automate lease pricing and management processes. Since this industry is highly regulated, leasing software is subject to frequent upgrades and changes. Additionally, there is a huge need for a software product to be flexible enough to accommodate the requirements and processes of multiple lessors.
Some of the major challenges in distributed software development for the leasing industry are discussed below.
The leasing industry today is saturated with software vendors who provide a single line of leasing products to all of their customers. Although in some cases software vendors are creating specialized versions of products for individual customers, this customization can itself become a problem when vendors are forced to maintain multiple software releases and variations for each of their customers. If they choose not to maintain these customized software versions, then their customers are “stuck” with that version and cannot take advantage of any ongoing upgrades that are made to the general product.
Ever Changing Business Requirements
Customers must have a software product that is flexible enough to handle the changing requirements of the market, as well as the growing competition within the overall business environment. One such need is that of internationalization and localization. With the concept of a global enterprise quickly becoming commonplace, there is an enhanced need to internationalize software products. A world‐ready product offers many benefits, including increased revenue, reduced international development costs and lower support costs.
Integration with Other Software or Products
A leasing product almost always needs to integrate with enterprise backend and pricing applications. These integration requirements demand a software product that has been build accordingly from the ground up.
Only a few years ago, lessors faced the choice of building a custom solution or purchasing an “off‐the‐shelf” system, possibly with a few modifications. Custom solutions were more expensive and riskier but had the potential to produce a solution that more exactly matched the company’s operational requirements. “Off‐the‐shelf” solutions were more affordable and proven but required the lessor to accept the limits of the system or pay the vendor to modify the software.
This decision is no longer black or white. Innovative software providers are now creating a “middle ground” by developing systems that use components and flexible configurations. Although these systems are not 100% user‐definable, they are much more flexible than traditional systems and are available at a fraction of the cost of a fully customized solution.
Configurable systems accomplish this flexibility by writing callable components and by using definable screens, report writers and a workflow language to link everything together. Below we discuss how software vendors are delivering customized, adaptable products faster and more cost‐effectively.
Software Product Customization
While the core system remains the same for every customer, the data capture, user interface requirements and processes are manipulated from customer to customer without running into version control issues. Workflow software and Rules Engine are used for customizing the product for different customers. Moreover, a Rules Engine solves the problem of making products flexible enough to handle changes in the customer’s business requirements.
Software Product Integration
Lenders and lessors need a solution that provides end‐to‐end integration for dealer portal, proposal management, business account management, credit management, automatic decision making, contract administration, data acquisition and management, payments collection and several automated functions Software control over processes enables the re‐design of these processes in line with changing business needs. Business processes can be automated in whole or in part using a workflow software and Rules Engine. These tools set procedural rules to pass documents, information or tasks from one resource (human or machine) to another for an action. Moreover, a leasing product that uses XML at its core and performs most functions through web services can be integrated easily with legacy systems in a structured manner. This type of leasing product blends sea
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