IDS: Integrating systems to build on success

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On the eve of Leaseurope’s annual convention, Katie Emmel, VP Product Management and Product Marketing at US equipment leasing market leader International Decision Systems (IDS), takes a look at how digital technology is transforming the leasing industry and assesses what’s in store for US and European lessors.

International Decision Systems (IDS) has a market leading position in the US and a growing presence in Europe, and with over 250 customers worldwide the company is forging ahead with technology upgrades to its flagship products, InfoLease and Rapport in response to changing demands.

“In the US, our big focus is our existing customer base – we’re the leading equipment finance solution partner, and the key right now is to guide them through the upgrade from InfoLease 9 to InfoLease 10, which is a major technology change,” says Katie Emmel, VP Product Management and Product Marketing at IDS.

“We have protected all the capability and functionality in our back office platform, but the key benefit of InfoLease10 is the open platform that it is built with a full layer of web services,” Emmel goes on to explain.


The move to adding web services for all business functions opens the way to full system integration, which is an acknowledgement of just how much of an impact digital transformation is having on the leasing industry.Emmel says lessors are increasingly looking for real-time integration and more automation of processes, both as a way of streamlining working and adding efficiency, and in response to new customer demands. Initially most have looked to achieve this by introducing a company web portal or mobile access to allow dealers or partner organisations to undertake some transactions, but are now finding that integration is about more than this.

“We’re seeing a change in the concept of integration. It’s no longer up to the vendor to decide which functions can be opened up to access and to pre-define how this will be done. Now it’s up to lessors to decide which business functions they want to make available to their partners and customers,” she said.

“Dealers and customers don’t necessarily want to have to go to multiple systems to check their status, and have to manage a lot of third party add-ons. That means systems need to be integrated and by using web services we can make that happen more easily and more efficiently,” Emmel added.


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Jonathan Power, Managing Director, EMEA, for IDS reports that while US lessors may “have their nose out in front” in the race to adopt digital technologies, their European counterparts are also looking closely at how the technology could work for them.

Another shared concern for both US and European lessors is the growing administrative burden of compliance and regulation on both sides of the Atlantic. In the US, legislation such as the Dodd-Frank Act requires funders to build up a lot of “big data” to illustrate how decisions are made and the factors taken into consideration.

“The amount of data we track in our system and the capability we offer to interrogate that data is very important. Our customers’ top focus areas include handling governance, risk and compliance, all of which need data and which also need to be managed cost effectively. Technology offers a way to do both,” Power said.

“Analytics ties into this, as it helps both with compliance requirements and also as a way of speeding up the process of decisioning, which increases efficiency,” Emmel explained.

Opening up applications via web services means that data security becomes a very important issue, and InfoLease10 offers a full audit trail of changes made to a lessor’s portfolio which can be reviewed at any time. However, Power says that recent decisions such as the European Court of Justice ruling that EU-US “safe harbour” rules regulating firms’ retention of Europeans’ data in the US are under question, could potentially change what global financial institutions are able to do with the data they collect.

Best practice

“Constant regulatory change is very expensive for lessors. In the US we are seeing lots of new requirements which are often open to a level of interpretation as published. Typically we see the large banks take action first, and once the course of action is determined, it flows down to the smaller or more regional organizations,” Emmel said.

“One of the advantages of our large customer base at IDS is that our users can share experiences with each other, and while some information is clearly confidential, there are lots of opportunities to highlight best practice,” she pointed out.

Power agrees that European-based lessors also face regulatory challenges, not least because there are so many different jurisdictions involved which each have individual requirements, along with pan-European requirements under Basel III and CRD IV. He points to trend for some captives to “passport” business from one European country to others in a bid to simplify this.

End-to-end solutions

Looking to the future, Emmel predicts that lessors will continue to focus on growth and financing solutions, offering financing for the asset but also warranties, maintenance and usage-based concepts.

“Companies will be looking to tighten their relationship with their customers. It will be interesting to see the impact of the new lease accounting changes, particularly in the US, on this trend. Increasingly customers want to see one contract covering everything, while the new standard is likely to require a breakdown of components,” Emmel said.

Power predicted that a number of lessors will start to look at new areas such as leasing for end of life assets, or refurbishment, recycling and re-use. Another trend is the ongoing bid to drive down costs and improve margins, supported by software such as IDS provides.

We are seeing big leasing companies looking to adopt standard process and products which they can re-use. Offering one set of products, as opposed to multiple customised offerings, is a way of increasing efficiency and improving the customer experience,” Emmel said.

In IDS’s experience, lessors are starting to look at consolidating their support activities, creating a platform from which to serve customers in a highly responsive, consistent fashion which also allows them to achieve cost efficiencies.

“We’re seeing a lot of growth in the market and companies are more focused on acquisition than has been the case for a number of years. That growth doesn’t necessarily mean more headcount to manage the business, though. The key is to make operations efficient, while being adaptable enough to meet new challenges and add new offerings. Digital transformation is central to that,” Emmel concluded.

Find out more about IDS at Leaseurope – visit IDS personnel at their exhibit or during the event. Learn more about IDS at or