Collector - February 2016 - 30


"If you take a brand-new system and try to make
it work just like the old system, and it fails, whose
fault is that? You have to embrace that new
technology and use it in every way you can."
were a nightmare to implement, didn't fit
in with their processes and ultimately only
made things worse.
"If you spend money to get right back
where you started, that's your fault," said
Coy Cardwell, global debt management
solutions architect for FICO. "You did
it wrong. The whole point of bringing
in these new technologies is to take
advantage of the new capabilities they can
give you. If you take a brand-new system
and try to make it work just like the old
system, and it fails, whose fault is that?
You have to embrace that new technology
and use it in every way you can."
Successful companies view spending
money on technology as an investment
rather than a cost. Aging systems may not
have up-to-date data security measures
and are more likely to fail, a downtime
disaster that could cost you an extraordinary
amount of money per hour. Investing in a
new system guards against those failures,
ensuring that your company remains open
and active.
Perrin also noted that upgrading
Williams & Fudge's systems has helped it
keep up with compliance challenges. A
growing number of states, such as New
York, are adopting additional restrictive
language that has to be provided to
consumers every time you call them.
"With the new systems, we can prompt
those messages or transfer the consumer
directly to an IVR system and allow that to
be introduced to them with the language
being stated-plus we record it, so then we
have a permanent record of it," Perrin said.
New technology makes you more
attractive to potential clients not only
because it shows your agency keeps pace
with industry changes, but also because
having more system capabilities makes
you more likely to win business in a wider
variety of markets. Clients have a high
expectation that you are going to run an
efficient operation.

30

"When you engage with a prospect
using old technology, old applications and
old interfaces, can you talk about real-time
processing, assure compliance and provide
flexibility?" Cardwell asked. "If you invest
in a very small channel of business, say
auto, and your technology can only collect
auto, what happens if someone brings you
a different kind of business, and you don't
have the flexibility to adapt thanks to the
technology you invested in? You've just
shot yourself in the foot to acquire that
new business."

MAP YOUR COURSE
When you're ready to update your system
or introduce new software, timing is
everything. Be prepared to make this
project your primary focus for a while.
Don't start looking for new technology if
your attention is somewhere else-say, if
you are also onboarding a big new client.
Put together a focus group of collectors-
the end users of most systems-and get
their input, including a wish list of what
would make their lives easier.
Next, consider bringing in outside help.
Research consultants can assess your
current operations and give you a realistic
idea of whether or not this new technology
is worth pursuing.
"You don't have to bring them in for
months or years at a time," Cardwell said.
"You can bring them in on an engagement
basis for a very specific project and still
learn a ton from them."
For instance, when Williams & Fudge
was looking to invest in new technology
a few years ago, executives met with
salespeople and were almost ready to sign
a contract.
"Then we decided to bring in an outside
expert to really make sure that what we think
we understand is truly what we understand,"
Perrin said. "So we hired a consultant to
review our operation and give us some
guidance on what they really thought we

needed to support this new technology and
what they really thought was unnecessary.
Thanks to that input, we were able modify
the contract under consideration, which
ultimately made the cost of the consultant
well worth the investment."
Consultants can conduct a cost analysis
and guide you on the scalability of the
product you are considering. They can tell
what you need now, and what you will likely
need for the future.
"I don't think anyone has the intention
of staying status quo with their operation,"
Perrin said. "They want opportunity to
grow, and hopefully your investment will
produce those opportunities. So as you are
evaluating your technological needs, think,
'OK, this is where we are now, but what will
be required if we need to expand by 50 or
100-plus more employees? Will this product
meet continue to meet our needs?'"
No matter what technology you
are considering-a new server, call
analytics system, call recording system
or e-signature product-it should be able
to integrate seamlessly and securely with
other products.
Additionally, research how the new
technology complies with applicable state
and federal regulations. If that compliance
is hard-coded into the system, will you be
able to tweak it as the rules and regulations
governing our industry evolve?
Sadly, the majority of this pricey
equipment is not a lifetime purchase-most
hardware has an average lifespan of just
three to five years. It may be more cost
effective to lease the hardware rather than
buy it outright. Or to stretch your dollars,
you could to plan to shift your old system
to your disaster recovery site so it can still
serve a purpose.
Many small companies are turning to
hosted cloud solutions, which don't require
the major expense of on-site hardware and
software. "Hosting solutions often require
less IT support, plus it tends to reduce
some of the licensing requirements,"
Perrin said. As part of your analysis, he
recommended comparing both hosted and
nonhosted solutions.

ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG


http://www.ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Collector - February 2016

Collector - February 2016 - Cover1
Collector - February 2016 - Cover2
Collector - February 2016 - 1
Collector - February 2016 - 2
Collector - February 2016 - 3
Collector - February 2016 - 4
Collector - February 2016 - 5
Collector - February 2016 - 6
Collector - February 2016 - 7
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