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Our CEO, Stephanie Alsbrooks, provides this fun quiz in her article in Non-Prime Times about what is overused and underused in the auto finance technology space.  Take the quiz and see how you do!

1. Proof of Concept / Insurance Policy
Going “all in” is fun in Texas Hold ‘Em, but there is a lot more at stake for your business than a $100 buy-in. When you are facing a multi-year expensive technology project, we think doing a smaller proof of concept on new technology makes a lot of sense. Try breaking up the project into smaller, more manageable chunks. Technology changes quickly, by the time you get to the end of a long project, it is already time to change again. Or even worse, by the time you are finished and find out it does not meet your ever changing needs someone usually gets fired.

2. RFP (Request for Proposal)
Our take—OVERUSED!
The cost of an RFP and the outcome generated do not seem to match up. Many times getting going on a proof of concept is the same cost of an RFP but with definitive results. When RFPs first took off companies had the best intentions to make a smart choice and to ensure the buddy system didn’t win out over the best solution. RFPs offer companies the opportunity to document needs/decisions and to allow stakeholders to participate in the change process. However, times have changed and software as a service and easy to manage short-term vendor contracts have lowered the entry cost and risk of moving to new technology. There are more efficient, agile ways to evaluate technology choices that still protect the intent of the RFP, keep you compliant, and save you time, money and headache!

3. Requirements Documents
Our take—OVERUSED!
Who really reads them and how complete are they anyway? Hire and work with smart people who are passionate about delivering great results and rewrite how the old-school requirements process is done. Lightweight requirements and agile story driven processes can deliver better results because they allow for rapid progress and creativity within the guardrails.

4. Questioning the Status Quo
The “way we always do it” is over rated and your competition is looking for ways to take share, be faster and offer more options to dealers. Even if you are happy with how it works today, chances are tomorrow will be different. So why do we talk so much about it but do so little to move the needle? Don’t let the hard lessons other industries and companies have faced be lost—use them as inspiration! Think Video Rentals to Netflix or record stores to iTunes.

5. Over Architecting
Our take—OVERUSED!
In technology, there is a delicate balance to upfront planning and executing, much the same as the delicate balance between the RFP/evaluation and the proof of concept. Over-architecting can extend the time it takes to start the actual action and realistically you are going to end up changing things once you get into the details. Determine the goal, spend the appropriate amount of time on the architecture and then allow for time to refine and adjust.

6. Total Cost of Ownership
Just looking at the upfront or monthly costs is only part of the money story. You also need to look at the cost to make changes in the future and costs related to data and integration. The total number can often be very different than the proposal. If you really think you won’t need future changes, see #4, you are going to have competitors running circles around you. Technology is not a once and done, it’s a constantly changing opportunity to improve and grow. Buy with that in mind.

7. Scalability
Our take—BOTH!
The ability for systems to scale is as much about the design of the system as it is about the people and the concept behind the system. What is scalable today, won’t be scalable tomorrow. Take Tesla. The people behind Tesla had a passion for quality and finding a way to make it scalable is much easier to solve once you have the product complete. Scale used to be king but in today’s configurable and social media world, getting customers exactly what they want, how they want it, wins more sales. So the thought is scalability is overused when it comes to the generic question of low cost volume but underused when it comes to scaling options to meet customer needs.

8. Legacy Architecture
Our take—OVERUSED!
You have invested a lot in your current systems. We get it. Now stop talking about them, stop using it as an excuse to not move and change. Leverage what is working well and add to it to get more of the features you need quickly. There are ways. There are always ways. Don’t be scared of failure, be scared of complacency!

9. Single System
Our take—OVERUSED!
With web services and compatible technology, getting systems to work together has never been easier. Get the best of breed for your core functions and link them together to get the efficiency you need.

10. Esignature/Digital
Other lending segments have used esignatures for years. It is time auto finance catches up and gains all the benefits the millennials have come to expect.

How did you do? Were we aligned? What one thing are you going to take away and start using more or quit using as much in your business?
No matter what your take just take some time to get started. Don’t let the technology wave sweep you away, better to be surfing it…

Stephanie Alsbrooks is CEO and Chief Technology Quiz Master

As published in Non Prime Times

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