The client is a North American financial company that provides flexible financing programs to a variety of different industries that prioritizes customer needs to approve as many customers as possible. Consumer financing programs are vital to many dealer-driven industries to make big-ticket or high-priced products affordable for consumers. However, any urgency to migrate to digital technology platforms was scarce, as there had historically been little perceived value.
Our client sought to modernize its operations by strategically implementing digital solutions across the business, which it anticipated would create value in multiple ways:
- Improving the customer experience at time of sale, using digital financing applications to speed the approval process
- Reducing costs by making processes more efficient
- Enhancing customer engagement by integrating data and systems into a user-friendly portal that simplifies all aspects of account management
- Streamlining internal operations and improving insights by integrating previously siloed functions and systems
The client developed a digital transformation strategy, with a plan to upgrade systems, integrate new technologies, and digitize manual processes within its dealer financing operations. Still using fax machines and landlines to obtain financing approvals, the company put together a comprehensive plan to digitize processes around consumer financing for both dealers and the end customer.
The client sought a technology services provider/developer to build the system and lead the project. After evaluating multiple vendors, they selected one and the project was underway.
Approximately one year into the project, it started to become clear that things were not quite right. Nearly at budget, but with little to show for it, the company took a closer look behind the curtains. They were alarmed to discover that systems and applications under development were rife with problems and far from production-ready. At that point the project completely derailed and our client and the vendor parted ways.
The company scrambled to establish a backup plan. They were months out from the launch date, with little funding remaining. There were valid concerns about the potential challenges and costs of working with a new vendor on a rushed timeline, and how it would burden employees who had already invested so much time and effort. Would they even be able to find a suitable, trustworthy vendor who could take this unfinished project and help them get it to the finish line?
After careful consideration, the client chose Excellarate to take on their project. They found Excellarate’s expertise was well-suited for building this kind of system and that we would have adequate resources to support the project on the tight timelines.
The client sought a vendor that would partner with them rather than be treated as one of many faceless clients on the books. It was essential to them that the selected vendor demonstrate high degree of commitment, bring the the two companies together to form one integrated project team, and implement an effective communication strategy. Thus, a key deciding factor was that Excellarate would assign a core, dedicated team of developers and engineers to the project that would be accessible to client whenever needed. Excellarate team members would essentially become part of the client’s team for the length of the project.
The project was kicked off and would use an Agile approach with 3-week sprints. The blended team conducted regular onsite working sessions that facilitated deep knowledge transfer between members.
”Thanks again to Excellarate and to our teams for taking it one day at a time, dealing with issues honestly, and working aggressively to solve problems and provide exceptional service to our dealer customers. It makes a huge difference.”- CEO
Excellarate worked with the client to evaluate the existing, unfinished system and identify how to use as much as possible of what was already built. Our team presented multiple approaches for consideration, with the intent of refining the project plan to speed progress and optimize efficiency. Both organizations were committed to building and implementing a better, more effective, integrated system than laid out in the original plans.
The final solution has quickly become the crux of the company’s dealer services operations. It provides dealers with an easy-to-use, online interface to submit applications for financing and obtain decisions quickly.
Key aspects of the system:
- Dealer portal that supports all major browsers and serves as an intermediary for mobile and Broker API
- Broker API – a headless integration tool for dealers
- Mobile (Android and iOS native) – utilized by dealer sales representatives in the field
- Customizations including full integration with ERP and a scalable e-commerce component
The existing application was not only unfinished but had errors and gaps that needed to be addressed. It was important to the client to salvage as much of the incomplete assets as possible, to avoid unnecessarily duplicating processes or resources. Excellarate suggested implementing a hybrid application in place of the native mobile applications, but the client also wanted to preserve its investment in native application code.
When Excellarate came onto the project, things got moving quickly, and the team was hitting key milestones early or on time. In the span of six months, the new digital system was complete. In 2019, the team successfully deployed the Broker API in February, followed by the launch of the dealer portal in May. Just after that, came discovery in mobile, followed by the full production release in September.
The new system has transformed operations for both the client and its dealers. The portal completely revolutionizes the day-to-day business for dealers, who can more easily manage customer financing programs and accounts through online and mobile applications—critical to remaining competitive and meeting end-customer expectations
With Excellarate, our client was able to overcome major obstacles and interruptions to its digital transformation and, in less than two years, has gone from landlines and fax machines to a modern, completely digital business.