Emerging technology in equipment finance

Part 1 of 2: Digital transformation accelerates equipment finance growth

As we move beyond the one-year anniversary of when Covid-19 disrupted our lives in the U.S., equipment finance professionals are feeling cautiously optimistic and confident that 2021 is going to be a good year. Additionally, there’s an overwhelming consensus that digital platforms and emerging technology are key to growing equipment finance business in the new normal as we all move forward from the pandemic. At least that was the sentiment conveyed by audience members at National Equipment Finance Association (NEFA)’s Virtual Exchange webinar and networking event in February 2021.

As part of our ongoing commitment to the equipment finance industry, Solifi was honored to sponsor, moderate and participate in this equipment finance event – one in an ongoing series to bring member companies together to learn, share ideas, and network.

Hosted by NEFA, Solifi Chief Technology Officer, Eldon Richards, partnered with Data Scientist / Data Architect Angelina Frimpong from AMUR Equipment Finance to share their perspectives on emerging technology in the equipment finance industry. I had the privilege of moderating the session allowing for an engaging technology discussion.

Specifically, the discussion focused on the risks and rewards of big data, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and other emerging technology that is prominent now or will soon make an appearance – not only in equipment finance but other industries as well. Technology where experts say you need to adopt and adapt to accelerate growth in the next normal. Or risk being outmaneuvered by your competition.

Equipment finance decision makers provide insight on emerging technology’s impact on business growth after the pandemic

Additionally, this NEFA Virtual Exchange webinar provided an opportunity to gain insight to the following three questions posed to equipment finance decision-makers and individual contributors based on their business disruption and business continuity learnings in 2020. Their responses reflect how that experience will impact their decision-making going forward as they focus on digital transformation and emerging technology to grow their equipment finance business.

1) What do you think is key to emerging from the pandemic and finding ways to grow?

Of the respondents participating in the NEFA Virtual Exchange webinar polling, 42% believe that expanding their customer base by driving net-new business with new clients is key to finding ways to grow after the pandemic.

2) Considering the impact of the coronavirus, new lease accounting rules, investment in digital transformation technologies (work from home, etc.) and a widespread need to conserve capital, what’s your prediction for new business volume (new originations) by the end of 2021?

With 40% of the vote, equipment finance decision-makers believe there will be a great disparity from one vertical market to another between now and the end of 2021, which will impact new business volume (new originations).

One potential reason for this collective opinion is that digital transformation or responding to the business disruption experience was not universal (e.g., construction and hospitality markets were especially hit hard with stay-at-home orders or didn’t have the remote worker technology in place while tech companies could essentially flip a switch).

3) Based on what you experienced in 2020 and the new realities ahead of us in 2021, what is your view of digital technology?

When we posed this poll question to the NEFA members attending the Virtual Exchange webinar, 75% agreed with the response option: Digital platforms are key to winning in the new normal – we’re developing a strategy to be a leader and connect with customers in new ways. That signals the majority of decision-makers in equipment finance are ready to invest in digital transformation to ensure business growth.

Ray Wizbowski, Chief Marketing Officer, Solifi

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