When the world made the shift to remote work in 2020, automotive lenders quickly migrated business functions to online models, simply because they had no other choice. Cloud-based technology wasn’t just a nicety any longer; it became an immediate necessity for survival. This helped lenders continue to conduct business while transitioning from an office setting to home-based locations.
Fast forward to the present, and the industry has learned it is possible for employees to conduct at least part of their business remotely. Lenders used their experiences during the pandemic to assess which tasks can be handled remotely, and which are best suited for traditional brick-and-mortar settings. Many activities within lending gain great efficiencies from being managed remotely with the right technology.
Although many high-profile CEOs are demanding a return to the physical workspace, most workplaces are developing new rules and norms that involve some kind of part-time remote capability for most employees. This is due to the fear that companies — including lenders — will lose top talent without maintaining some of the work-from-home flexibility that employees have grown accustomed to.
Enter the new hybrid workplace, where on-site personnel seamlessly collaborate with remote colleagues on a regular and consistent basis. Technology plays a huge role in making these environments function effectively.
One major global lender, for example, is implementing a detailed, companywide business plan for its hybrid work structure, including a dedicated employee training program to accommodate the launch of this new “flex model.” The plan includes helping employees manage their devices and home networks to keep technology from hampering hybrid collaboration.
SaaS-based software is vital to hybrid work
To make a harmonious transition to a hybrid workplace, the lending software used by employees needs to function as easily in an off-site location as it does in the office. Lenders can’t afford to lose efficiencies or compromise customer experiences in any environment.
Not every automotive lender is prepared for this shift. Many automotive industry software solutions were built for on-premises use. And although various updates and quick fixes were implemented when the pandemic hit, a patched solution that is hastily redesigned for remote activity often offers a worse experience than software-as-a-service-based applications that are inherently designed to function consistently in any location. To establish an optimized, effective hybrid work environment, ideally with customized workflows that cater to the lender’s individual needs, companies should look to flexible, sophisticated LOS and LMS systems built in the cloud environment to ensure it will deliver the appropriate functionality in all locations and situations.
Cloud-native lending automation
So how does a lender differentiate between the many industry software solutions, especially since so many technology vendors claim that their solutions are cloud-ready? An effective SaaS-based offering will deliver the same comprehensive tools whether users are working from home, a Starbucks or a speeding commuter train. Similarly, cloud-based software tends to more easily accommodate APIs to integrate with other cloud-based partners, allowing for a single seamless interface that readily incorporates the newest best-in-class tools to address compliance, data analytics, security, identity and income validation, alternative data, optical character recognition and a variety of other capabilities. The ability to use the lending platform with cutting-edge, third-party services is essential to long-term success and viability. This way, lenders can take advantage of industry-leading capabilities while remaining compliant and cost-effective.
The software that lenders depend on to originate, close and manage loans is critical for facilitating a hybrid work environment. An integrated solution that has been engineered in the cloud offers far greater flexibility than traditional, on-premises systems that have been retrofitted as an afterthought.
It looks like hybrid work is here to stay. Lenders need to invest in the right lending automation software that is designed for optimal flexibility and performance to ensure that all stakeholders are properly served in this new environment.
Bob Metodiev is head of business development at Inovatec Systems Corporation, which provides cloud-based loan origination and loan management solutions for automotive, power sports, equipment and other lenders.