Canadian Leasing Companies are Getting the Most out of their Leasing Software
Author Ugne Kontare
Partners matter a lot in the B2B business. More than 3500 Microsoft Dynamics partners worldwide allow companies to use Microsoft ERP systems with confidence that they will get the highest quality services right away. Today, the SOFT4 Partner Network of more than 40 partners allows the word on Soft4 products to be spread to the furthest limits of the globe; and for our Partners – allows margins to be increased and deeper markets than they could ever have imagined to be opened up.
PYA Solutions is one of the oldest partners we had when we started exporting Soft4 products more intensively back in 2013. PYA is a long-time NAV partner and knows the platform very well. Besides that, they knew the leasing industry, as they had some leasing customers. By now, they are experts in the field, amazingly merging technology with leasing business insights and processes. PYA’s team has completed 5 Soft4Leasing projects up to now – the first ones with the help of the Soft4 team and the last totally on their own, with project implementation time decreasing from 12 to 3 months. The company works with such well-respected names in the Canadian leasing industry, as Claireview Leasing, Holand Group, Parade Leasing and others.
In this interview with Gerry Ritter, Co-President at PYA Solutions Inc., he shared insights on what’s important when starting to work with an ISV, his experience working with SOFT4 and thoughts on the daily challenges of life as a VAR, as well as future trends in the NAV business.
Ugne Kontare: Gerry, how did the story between PYA and SOFT4 start?
Gerry Ritter: We were looking for new business opportunities within our NAV practice and we had a few automobile leasing clients running on a legacy unix/bbx platform that we wanted to find a way to migrate to NAV. We came across Soft4, as well as a couple of other authors that had leasing add-ons for NAV, and after reviewing the different options we felt that the Soft4 offering was by far the best option and closest to our clients’ needs.
U.K.: Tell us a little bit about your first project with the Soft4 team: what encouraged you to trust Lithuanians (did you and Michael (Editor’s note: Michael Leibovitch, the second Co-president of PYA) know about Lithuania before?:)) and the Soft4Leasing solution? Were your expectations met? What challenges did you have during our first project together? For example, different time zones, different cultures, language barriers, etc.?
G.R.: The SOFT4 consultant that was assigned to our project, immediately gained the respect of the client and PYA given his presentation skills, ability to listen, understanding of the client’s needs and proven knowledge of the leasing industry. Initially we had Skype meetings that included Soft4, the 1st client and PYA. Soft4 was very accommodating in working with us at times that were convenient for the client. The “across the ocean” time difference really had no impact on the project – in actuality it was a benefit. We would make requests from the Soft4 development team in the afternoon, and the requests would be taken care of by the next morning!!!
U.K.: What are your thoughts about the Soft4Leasing product – back then in 2013 and now, when you have had the chance to see version 2016?
G.R.: In 2013, we invested a fair amount of time looking for a good software fit for the North American Automotive Leasing industry. After localizing the product, Soft4Leasing surpassed most of our needs. The last 3 years have seen two new releases with each adding depth and functionality to an already robust product. Soft4Leasing Version 2016 now meets the needs of a broader market, including Automotive, Machinery and Equipment and many other leasing specialties.
U.K.: What are your main business challenges in the Canadian market as a NAV VAR? Marketing, sales, projects, support, other? Is it possible for today’s VAR to survive with standard NAV, without industry-specific solutions?
G.R.: I think the challenges that face NAV VARs today are the same in the Canadian market as they are in every other market. Margins are constantly being eroded, while marketing and sales efforts become costlier. A vertical focus allows a VAR to become an industry expert and thereby focus his efforts. This results in repeatable solutions that lower a VAR’s costs while simultaneously increasing customer satisfaction.
U.K.: What are your thoughts on how cloud trends will change our market; what will be the consequences, if any, for the market, NAV partners, customers?
G.R.: “Cloud” is a difficult subject. We see the early adopters (clients) already moving there. It seems obvious to me that the rest of the market will follow and that within a few years (5,6,7 ???) “Cloud” will totally dominate. The transition from a balloon (up-front) margin on a sale to something that more closely resembles an annuity or a subscription may represent a mid-term challenge to many VARs. NAV partners will need to become more focused and vertical than ever before in order to stay meaningful and add valued expertise to this changing model.
U.K.: Thanks, Gerry, all the best in your business!
P.S. After interviewing Gerry, we received a note from Christopher Price, IT Manager at Claireview Leasing, the very first Soft4Leasing customer in Canada: “Your input was invaluable and in the end saved us time and money!”.