Web 2.0 matters ― don’t get fooled into thinking anything else!By contactdesign
One of our competitors recently wrote a shocking article entitled: “Why Web 2.0 isn’t working”. In it they argued that Web 2.0 may be an advantage for front-end systems but is simply not appropriate for back-office systems. According to them it’s an unnecessary extravagance designed on “don’t make me think” principals.
I am tempted to get on my high horse and point out that at White Clarke Group (WCG) we have implemented over 40 end-to-end systems including back-office contract management and accounting systems in 27 countries. We place innovation and technology leadership at the heart of our product development strategy and Web 2.0 innovation is a key element of this strategy that has, time after time, demonstrated its value to satisfied WCG customers worldwide.
But perhaps this is not enough to convince those who have not yet tried our back-office, or those who gain comfort in a fast-moving world by clinging on to their old fashioned GUI’s or even green screens and processes.
The truth is that suggesting that Web 2.0 is just about “eye-catching graphics and visual effects” is just plain silly.
For example, one of the key trends in back-office designs today is self-serve over the web. This requires a highly scalable, secure platform with an intuitive Web 2.0 user experience, and it is not just the end customers who benefit from it.
A wide variety of users need to be catered for. These include, but are by no means limited to, end customers who might wish, for example, to view account details and update them. Or fleet managers who want to see maintenance activity on their fleet.
But Web 2.0 allows us to improve the experience for all users.
It’s common for finance businesses to use external collections agents. At WCG we provide them with a self-serve portal to our system (rather than go through the typical legacy system approach of sending files of data across to their system), because we know it’s faster, cheaper and provides up-to-the-minute information. But this advantage can only be properly leveraged through the provision of an intuitive interface which they do not need to struggle to use.
It’s not about removing the need for the user to think – it’s about allowing the user to think about what they are doing without the distraction of learning to use a slow, inflexible, unintuitive and outdated system.
Then there are the internal users in every funding organization. They too need a user-friendly experience which optimizes their journey. Rather than ignoring the Web 2.0 elements, at WCG we find that the most experienced users are just the ones who stand to gain the most from Web 2.0. They know where the problems are in legacy systems and are therefore more able than anyone to tailor the screens exactly to their individual needs.
In fact there are advantages for all types of user who benefit from increased levels of back-office automation and reduced levels of keying. Simple things like context aware “information push” and predictive selection “Google style” on back-office menu choices save a lot of time and improve accuracy for intensive, as well as less intensive, back-office users.
Why assume all back-office users are the same when they are not? Why force a user to go hunting for key customer events when you can have a system “push” the event notification to you?
Web 2.0 is ideal for all of this. This is about efficiency, customer satisfaction, the user experience, the user journey and the security and stability of the platform in a 24×7 multi-cultural global business environment.
That is why WCG has invested so heavily in its CALMS2 platform.
Just as it is no longer funny when you meet a friend who claims not to use email or the internet, it is no longer funny to hear about asset finance organizations (or worse, systems vendors) who still sell the virtue of the good old days.
The truth is, organizations cannot expect to compete in an increasingly challenging global market without enabling technology like Web 2.0.
The world has changed. Don’t be fooled by those who pretend it hasn’t. There’s a reason why Amazon, Google and Salesforce are world-changingly successful – and it isn’t because they cling on to old and reassuring legacy systems and outdated technology.
About White Clarke Group
The White Clarke Group (WCG) is a world-leader in software solutions and business consultancy to the automotive and asset finance sector for retail, fleet and wholesale. WCG solutions enable end-to-end credit processing and administration to streamline business practice, cut operational cost and deliver outstanding customer service. WCG has a twenty year track record of leadership and innovation in finance technology, consultancy and new market entry. Clients include names like: FGA Capital, Ford Financial, GE Capital, GMAC/Ally Bank, Hitachi Capital, John Deere Financial, LeasePlan, Royal Bank of Scotland, Toyota Financial Services, Volkswagen Financial Services. The company employs some 500 finance and technology professionals, with offices in the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, Austria and Germany.
For more information on White Clarke Group, please visit www.whiteclarkegroup.com