Charlie Lewis Originations, X-End-to-End Solution, X-General News, X-Series-E2E

So far in this “Full Transparency | On End-to-End” series the defi Executive Leadership Team has provided their perspectives on two topics:

In this next question, the team tackles:

What success(es) have you had with similar products in the past?

Starting off the conversation is CEO Tom Allanson, followed by: (in alphabetic order):

  • Jason Barrett, Chief Client Success Officer
  • Steve Bissett, VP, Client Services, BPO
  • David Call, Chief Financial Officer
  • Dave Murray, Chief Product Officer
  • Susie Storey, Chief Sales Officer

Tom (CEO): When I got to TurboTax®, we were in the process of moving from software to online. It was in 2000. It was all shrink wrap. Imagine, that was only 21 years ago or so, and you had to go to the store, pick up the software, and load it on your computer in order to do your taxes. Well, that’s evolved a lot.

One of the things that we started talking about in the early 2000s was how to get people to go to a party and tell everybody what a great experience they had in doing their taxes. Think about it, I’m going to go to a party in April, and I’m going to celebrate with all of my friends and tell them what a great experience I had doing my taxes and how wonderful it was. That was the perception we were trying to create for our clients and for our employees. Our employees brainstormed about ways to make this experience so great that people are going to talk about it at a party. We’re working on that for defi.

Jason (Client Success): The company I was with at the time was EDS. At one time it was owned by General Motors, and prior to that by Ross Perot. It became HP in 2007. Drew (Newman, defi CIO/CTO) worked there with me and we had won this $7 billion contract with the United States Department of the Navy. At this point, there were 2,600 shore-based installations, where — at every single one of them — the base commander was the “captain of the ship.” (Prior to working for EDS on that contract, I actually worked for the Navy at one of those locations in tech support.) The base commander did things however they wanted, used different operating systems if they wanted, even different email systems. You literally couldn’t print from one type of computer to a different kind of printer. We had this task of creating one common operating environment for the whole Navy.

It was difficult in the beginning. We were losing $1 billion a year. We were being run out of buildings. One guy pulled a gun on my team. One chased my team out of the building with a fire ax. New leadership came in, the “turnaround team” it was known to be later. We started adopting some transformative fundamentals that you’ll hear me talk about from time to time here in my role at defi. Through the course of about two and a half to three years, we turned it around and eventually got a contract extension that took it to $10.2 billion. When I left in 2016, it was the most profitable account HP had.

Steve (Client Services, BPO): A large US captive lender was starting up a new portfolio and needed to be live and originating in about 7 months, and they also needed our help with servicing. It was a net-new program that had to be built from scratch with some of the servicing functions kept in house as they already had scale and expertise. We ended up splitting the back-end servicing functions about 50/50 between their operation and our outsourcing. defi was able to partner with this lender and offer them a base, out-of-the box-solution and deliver on time and on budget. This project was delivered in such a short timeframe because both operations are using defi SERVICING. Using defi SERVICING, workflows from team to team based on rules configured within SERVICING eliminated the need for file transfers, Excel sheets, or other clunky handoffs you see when using disparate systems.

While not the complete, end-to-end solution that we are envisioning for defi’s future, this is an excellent example of one of our clients taking advantage of defi’s full spectrum of products and services — originations, servicing, and technology-enabled outsourcing services.

David (Finance): I came from one of the world’s largest pure-play cybersecurity point players. Cybersecurity is similar to the business we’re in — automotive fintech — where you either can be the best at one thing and let others do the rest, or you can have a platform or portfolio of products. There is no one product a Chief Information Security Officer can buy and say, “I buy this one product; my whole company is protected.” They have to buy products at all layers: endpoints, network, EDR, cloud, web gateways, and so forth. This company had a portfolio of everything, and we had to journey from being just a collection of unrelated products to all working together in a seamless fashion. So, the portfolio wasn’t so much a portfolio of products as an integrated platform.

What we came to enjoy is that our biggest customers in terms of revenue and tenure were the customers who had adopted the most of our products. They bought into the end-to-end concept. They didn’t shop other point players. They fully invested as a partner. It’s a different kind of relationship, being a true partner, than just being somebody’s software vendor.

Dave Murray (Product): I began my career as an aerospace engineer. The largest project I worked on was the International Space Station. A space station is a very complex piece of hardware and software. In order to build it, we broke it down into its components – life support, power, structural, habitat, logistical, communication systems — like we’re doing here with software at defi. The project was too complex for one company to build, so there were hundreds of subcontractors (from different countries). In order to coordinate the work, there was a primary contractor responsible for the end-to-end, holistic viewpoint of the station. That was the team I worked on.

The subcontractors at NASA may have created “siloed products” but each component had to have a high awareness of the others. For example, the power system had to consider life support, structural, and habitat and how they work together. Today, we are changing the way we think at defi. We are thinking more like a primary contractor than a subcontractor. We need to understand how all of this stuff works together – and that’s end-to-end thinking. 

Susie (Sales): At my last company, we actually sold seven different products — core product lines — that crossed over every single thing that a dealer would use to run their desktop. In a dealership, the dealers have all these systems that they work: inventory management systems, websites, digital marketing systems, CRM systems, desking platforms.

When I first came into that market, we were a singular product. We did CRM, we were known as “the CRM,” we became the CRM giant. That’s how we built our reputation. First, we developed additional products – servicing, desking, equity mining, and then we went on an acquisition spree. We bought all of the surrounding products – websites, digital content, dealer management systems, inventory management – and developed additional products like digital retailing. We became someone who ran not just the CRM platform for car sales, but also for the servicing lanes. We did their websites – the front-end that happens on the website, the digital retailing, and pricing out a car. We purchased a leading inventory management software. We became the vendor dealers went to for all inventory management and pricing.

I think it’s the same principle that I mentioned when asked “why now.” Once clients have worked with and had success with vendor who is a good partner and does a good job for them, the more they want to integrate on one platform. They want platforms, products, and services that integrate with one another. They want one vendor they can go to that can help with all of it.

Read next: Full Transparency | On End-to-End: Evolving Capabilities

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