When it Comes to Blockchain Technology, Patience is Key

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Much like artificial intelligence, Blockchain is a double-edged sword extending its range of motion toward the equipment finance industry. And like its emerging Fintech counterpart, blockchain still faces a variety of barriers to entry before it can carve out a legitimate position in the marketplace. That’s why when it comes to blockchain – especially potential uses like smart contracts – a patient approach to adoption is key due to security concerns, compliance with the vast sea of standards that regulate the industry and the fundamental fear of the unknown.


Following the Great Recession, financial institutions were left searching for ways to restore trust in transactions with customers. A decade later, many are quick to assume the answer is blockchain – a secure ledger among members in a peer-to-peer network of computers. User access is verified by algorithms and real-time transactions are recorded automatically. Everything is instantly visible and traceable. In theory, blockchain maximizes confidence in data security and minimizes risk, as the decentralization of authority virtually eliminates criminal activity. It also reduces the time spent and cost incurred by the day-to-day operations of just about any business. According to the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation, blockchain will lower infrastructure costs by $15-$20 billion by 2022.

For example, take smart contracts – the most relevant application of blockchain technology to the equipment finance industry. By managing contracts across a neutral blockchain network, users drastically reduce the inefficiencies associated with physical documents while also safeguarding against human error and external threats during points of vulnerability, such as the transfer of ownership.

All of this sounds great on paper. So, what could possibly go wrong?


According to Robert E. Braun in Blockchain: The good, the bad, and how to tell the difference, the rise of blockchain may not be a response to financial collapse of 2008 after all. Rather, it may be “the result of a fascination with the possibility of an unregulated currency, and one which has benefited, most of all, those who wish to operate outside financial markets.” This is a daunting reality for the equipment finance industry, given the significant regulatory efforts that have taken place over the past decade. Given its volatile nature, blockchain could actually turn out to be more susceptible to malicious behavior than many existing solutions and services.

Thousands of players are vying for market share, all of whom come equipped with their own collection of bugs and shortcomings. Until the undisputed frontrunners emerge from the pack and the precedent for widespread adoption has been set, blockchain’s lack of standardization will limit its potential in the equipment finance industry – one that is certainly in no rush to replace what’s tried-and-true. From its scalability for high-volume transactions and integration with existing business systems to extensive legal battles over privacy rights, there are still an abundance of kinks and quirks to smooth out before it can be embraced with complete confidence.  


Furthermore, Braun offers baseline criteria every company should weigh before signing on to blockchain. Not only should it be a clear-cut improvement upon what it’s substituting, but it should also solve an additional pain point the current solution is unable to address. As Braun explains, “much of blockchain is a solution in search of a problem, not a problem in search of a solution.” This begs the question – if it isn’t broke, why fix it?

The implementation of blockchain technology also requires you to extend your perspective beyond your immediate user base. How far does the impact of your business decisions reach? It’s not like you’re deciding whether or not it’s time to pull the trigger on that new copier your office needs. The adoption of blockchain requires meticulous vetting to thoroughly assess the risk at hand for your company, both internally and externally. Although these considerations may seem obvious at face value, they could be easy to overlook when a proposal for a shiny new object slides across your desk.

To be clear, this is neither a ringing endorsement nor a sweeping denouncement of blockchain technology. This is a call for the industry to carefully evaluate the current landscape of emerging technologies taking the world by storm. Because at this point, equipment finance has a lot to lose, without knowing for certain what there is to gain. As more and more innovative developments continue to surface, so too will dangerous setbacks and challenges. That’s why when it comes to blockchain technology, patience is key.

Is the Equipment Finance Industry Ready for AI?

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While there’s no sign the meteoric rise of financial technology (Fintech) will slow anytime soon, it also hasn’t disrupted equipment leasing and finance – yet. Frankly, this should come as no surprise to an industry that tends to fall behind the curve when it comes to the adoption of emerging technologies. For this reason and many more, there are an abundance of insights, lessons and opportunities worth keeping a pulse on moving forward.

Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain and Smart Contracts are no longer trendy buzzwords wielded by Silicon Valley’s elite. They’re the pillars of the movement revolutionizing the way we do business. As distinguished by the ELFF, the question is not “can we work this way?” Rather, it’s whether or not we as an industry are ready to embrace the Fintech phenomenon – including the high-risk, high-reward reality of AI.


When it comes to AI, the looming dystopian fear is that robots will infiltrate the workplace, rendering human jobs obsolete. In reality, however, all signs point to the use of programmatic and cognitive AI capabilities to elevate employee performance – not replace them.

Still, there are plenty of more pressing concerns worth considering. Is present-day AI scalable enough to integrate with the key business processes that make a $600 billion industry tick? Remember, this is your data we’re talking about here. Not only the privacy and security measures that protect it, but also the way it’s hosted and managed. If you’re company is prone to data silo scuffles – or even a silo mentality among employees that restricts transparency across departments – the early adoption of AI could be detrimental to your business.

Furthermore, the equipment finance industry is ripe with regulation, and rightfully so. Keeping up-to-date with the latest compliance standards and protocols is daunting enough as it is. By entering AI into the equation, you run the risk of losing sight of responsibility if your system runs off the rails. In other words, how do we truly hold AI accountable?


On the other hand, the automation of monotonous tasks and the positive impact on operational efficiency that follows is nearly a surefire way to slash costs and amplify bottom lines. It’s already helped the banking industry make major strides in customer journey optimization and churn management through audience segmentation and targeted advertising. Better yet, it’s also proven to be an effective tool for fighting off fraud, money laundering and other financial crimes.

In 2016 alone, the financial services industry reduced sales-related costs by $15 billion and customer service-related costs by $23 billion through programmatic and cognitive functionalities. Although the process automation of redundant, time-consuming activities is attractive, cognitive AI’s attempt to mirror actual human thinking with natural language processing and machine learning still has a long way to go. For example, how effective is the chatbot on your bank’s website?  

That being said, exploring the possibilities of AI and other emerging technologies is an opportunity to evaluate your company’s vision for the future. It’s crucial that organizations draw a definitive line between humans and machines, which makes finding the right tech partner at the right time and price all the more important.


Fintech is the clear-cut choice for today’s B2C banking experience. But the aforementioned risks still stoke great uncertainty and fear in B2B equipment leasing and finance companies. In fact, according to the ELFF Journal, “The most recent ELFA Business Technology Performance Index (BTPI) survey results indicated that one-third or less of industry players is actively reviewing these technologies.”

Although we shouldn’t rule out possible benefits for those who gamble on early adoption, the fear of missing out shouldn’t scare you into doing so prematurely if it’s not the right fit for your company. Ultimately, it all comes down to the functionality and experience you receive from your tech partner, and the amount of trust you’re comfortable with placing in them. All things considered, end-to-end platforms like ASPIRE that mix programmatic functionality with human oversight are still the most viable equipment finance solution.

So to answer the question, “are we as an industry ready for the Fintech movement – specifically artificial intelligence?” It all depends on your company’s DNA.

Drive By User Module

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Looking for a new way to generate business? 

ASPIRE’s Drive By User module places a configurable form on a website that’s accessible to external users without the need to login. The form captures new business without showing any ASPIRE menus, and includes the ability to upload any necessary attachments. Plus, all information is communicated and saved within ASPIRE upon completion, so you don’t have to worry about rekeying any information. 

Once the online form has been submitted, it can be set up to trigger an automated workflow and become assigned to an internal resource (through a status change), and activate an automated email to go out to the submitter.

To learn more about ASPIRE’s Drive By User module, check out our website at www.leaseteam.com or send an email to info@leaseteam.com.  

Why Trusting your Technology Partner is More Important Now Than Ever Before

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All signs point to good times ahead for the equipment finance industry.

According to the ELFA’s Top 10 Trends for Equipment Acquisition for 2018, “economic upturn, elevated confidence and business-friendly policy changes” will fuel growth in equipment and software investment by 9.1% this year. While there’s no denying widespread technological innovation has been a key contributor to the healthiest global economy we’ve seen since the Great Recession, there’s also no hiding from the potential challenges and threats it poses to the future. That’s why now more than ever before, it is essential that equipment finance companies build strong, trustworthy relationships with their technology partners – especially when it comes to these three areas:


In the always-evolving and ever-expanding tech landscape, functionality comes first. It always has, and it always will. Because like most things, your company’s lease and loan management solution is worthless when it’s not working. However, it’s important to recognize that there are in fact far worse things than lagging productivity due to busted software. Like, say, losing all the information supporting everything your company has ever accomplished in a cybersecurity breach, for instance. With valuable resources constantly at stake, information security should be your chief concern when it comes to how your company chooses to prioritize and utilize technology. In short, guard your data like your company’s life depends on it. Given what a cyberattack could do to your bottom line, it probably does.


Nowadays, it’s not enough for software to simply do what you tell it to do. Rather, users are on the hunt for a satisfying experience that persuades them to come back for more. This should come as no surprise – attraction to reward-based experiences is fundamentally rooted in human nature. It explains why the fields of behavioral science and technology have joined forces to better understand the psychology behind human-computer interaction. So, what happens when a product doesn’t provide a favorable user experience? More often than not, it’s traded in for the latest, greatest solution to hit the market. Because there’s no shortage of talent aiming to disrupt and dethrone the powers at hand in the tech industry. Although its level of impact varies from industry to industry, this nonetheless underscores the value of insights collected from user surveys, research and reviews. Believe it or not, we listen to your input.


That being said, no user experience – no matter how fresh and friendly – will ever perfectly align itself with the product’s back-end functionality – no matter how intuitive and configurable. Just like any other consumer good, technology wears, tears and eventually breaks. Which is why the guys and gals on your technology partner’s customer support team should be your best friends. After all, their success in the workplace is directly driven by the success you and your company experience using their product. Despite all of the otherworldly superpowers displayed by technology, no one is immune to the never-ending cycle of research, development and testing. So next time you file an anxiety-inducing support ticket, take a deep breath and approach the problem as a team. We’re not just your service-provider; we’re your business partner.

At its core, any investment in technology is an oath to efficiency. If your goal is to increase productivity and profitability, we as technology providers bring you the tools you need to simplify and streamline your day-to-day operations. Take LeaseTeam’s ASPIRE, for example. Our complete transaction lifecycle solution drastically reduces the time you spend on monotonous contract management tasks. In turn, you can redirect your attention to critical matters that shape the industry – like tax reform, trade issues and accounting standards.

No matter where your business objectives lie in 2018, building a strong, trustworthy relationship with your technology partner is a vital component of any modern equipment finance company – especially when it comes to information security, user experience and customer support. In the meantime, add these subjects to your list of things to discuss with your technology partner – right after your system performance review, of course.

Tradestyle Overview

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Are you struggling with tradestyles in ASPIRE? Tradestyles provide a method to customize and brand the ASPIRE business partner portal for remote users. An image file can be uploaded and a unique URL is assigned so that users can access that display the tradestyle on the header of the login page and all other pages. Each tradestyle setup will be assigned a unique URL that can be given to external users accessing the system via the web (vendors, vendor sales reps, etc.). This is the URL that they will use to access the system and display the assigned tradestyle. Want to learn more? Click the link and login with your password. Once you have logged in, click Knowledgebase. Then you will click the ASPIRE v5 Help link. From there, click on the area for Administration. Look under the System Setup area and click Tradestyle. http://ow.ly/Ug18w 

Want to learn more about what ASPIRE has to offer? Visit our website at www.leaseteam.com

Your Website and the Fight for Relevancy

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Once upon a time (say, around 1998), accessing the internet was an intricate process. First, you needed a computer with a wired, dial-up connection. Next, you needed a subscription to an online service like AOL or CompuServe. And, finally, you needed patience, because getting connected oftentimes felt like a game of chance. If all of those pieces fell into place, you were then free to type in a URL and visit the site of your choice.

But, now? The Internet can be accessed on-demand by little more than a smartphone or smartwatch. It has spawned this new, shiny Internet of Things (IoT) that’s connected and intertwined with other devices, exchanging data as if this is how it was always meant to be. And it’s a double-edged sword when it comes to getting your brand noticed. With so many entry points and so much content saturation, the difference between getting seen or falling through the cracks can be thin.

Here are five things that can help your website in the fight for visibility in today’s IoT.


It’s vital to understand how your audience will see your website on the go. Options are aplenty in regards to how your site will interact across numerous devices, from mobile friendly (essentially fitting your entire site to the mobile device) to mobile optimized (reformatting your site to make it more “thumb” friendly) to responsive design (completely flexible to fit screen size rather than device type). Understanding how your site differs across many devices will help you maximize your content design and planning. 

SEO Strategy

SEO helps your site get noticed by affecting a search engine’s unpaid (or organic) results. Writing content with frequently searched key words and making it easy to share, as well as tagging titles and adding descriptions to pages are some of the simplest ways to boost your site’s search value and ultimately boost your traffic. 

Social Integration

Can your consumers access content specific to your products and offerings from anywhere on the internet? The only answer to that question should be, “absolutely.” It can be an uphill battle to try and get your audience to continually come back to your traditional website, but all it takes is the click of an app to get them looking at their social feeds. Your social sites should act as extensions of your website, providing consistent messaging throughout all of your platforms that gets retweeted, shared, liked, reposted and everything in between. 

Fresh Content

Making sure your homepage doesn’t remain static is the best way to ensure consumers will continue coming back. Whether it’s incorporating feeds to your social content, keeping your press releases and blog posts front and center, having a revolving content block of new products, or simply changing out graphics to familiar topics, establishing your site as a hub for new information can increase your search results and generate more traffic.  

Brand Consistency

So simple, yet so misunderstood. This includes everything from making sure you are using the same color of blue throughout your website and social media presence, to not mixing Calibri and Arial and any other combination of fonts throughout your site hierarchy (visitors to your site will notice the difference, even if you don’t). Following your established brand guidelines or style guide throughout everything you touch is the easiest way to make sure you maintain your brand’s integrity, leading to increased recognition and awareness.

JobStream Module

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Do you have daily or month-end tasks that are routinely taking up too much of your time?  

ASPIRE’s JobStream module gives users the ability to schedule automated processes behind the scenes, running either once or on a recurring basis, to ensure any periodic tasks aren’t becoming full-time jobs.

With JobStream, things like invoicing, depreciation, delinquency processing, UCC filing status updates and more can be scheduled to automatically run either daily or at month-end. Plus, these scheduled automations can help lessen the performance impact to your system!

To learn more about ASPIRE’s JobStream module, check out our website at www.leaseteam.com or send an email to info@leaseteam.com


Not sure where to turn for help in ASPIRE? Here at LeaseTeam, we want to make things as easiest as possible for you. That’s why we set up an ASPIRE help area. Want to learn how to get there? Click the link and login with your password. Once you have logged in, click the ASPIRE Help link. From there, feel free to click around and learn more information about the different things that ASPIRE has to offer. http://ow.ly/Ug18w 

Want to learn more about ASPIRE? Visit our website at www.leaseteam.com or email us at info@leaseteam.com.

Checkup Time for Your System

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With a new year upon us, it's natural that we look back on 2017, set sky-high resolutions for 2018 and promise ourselves that we won't be plagued by similar shortcomings this time around. But while taking stock of what was on a personal level, why not do the same with your lease and loan management solution? Better yet, why stop at what was and also consider what could be?

Performing a system review not only brings one of the most important pieces of technology in your business front and center, but it also allows you to analyze and identify any operational strengths and weaknesses your current system may have. Essentially, it's a routine checkup of the overall health of your system.

Working alongside your software vendor, you'll learn about any areas where your solution may be misaligned with your business objectives because of process changes, growth strategies or employee turnover; any new or available functionality that can improve or help realign your solution;  and, ultimately, if you are maximizing your investment in your solution.

When all is said and done, your system review should provide you with some of the following recommendations:

  • An updated system configuration - like your business, your solution is constantly in a state of change, making it essential to understand what your software offers and utilizing it to the fullest. This exercise will leave you with a system configured to meet the direction your business is headed, not where it's been.
  • Additional education for users - new things are full of mystery, which can sometimes lead to them not being utilized right away. When it comes time to unleash any new features or functionality in your solution to those who are using it the most, having a comprehensive arsenal of training opportunities and materials can help provide users with the knowledge and understanding needed to adjust and adapt quickly. 
  • Management reports. It's worth saying again: new things are full of mystery. Keeping management and all key stakeholders fully informed of the results of your system review ensures everyone is aware of not only what was learned, but also what will be changed or implemented.  

So, as you move into 2018 full of self-reflection and ideas for improvement, remember to do the same for your system, because it could be the difference in the start of your next year. 

Licensing Overview

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Let’s get down to business with licensing in ASPIRE. The licensing update screen is where they ASPIRE license is entered. The listing displays which ASPIRE modules are available for use under that license. To enter a new license key, click the Create New Record icon on the toolbar. Copy and paste the license key into the License field that displays. Click the Save icon to save the license key. A locked icon indicates that the module is not licensed for use. An unlocked icon indicates that the module is licensed and available for use. Want to learn more? Click the link and login with your password. Once you have logged in, click Knowledgebase. Then you will click the ASPIRE v5 Help link. From there, click on the area for Administration. Look under the System Setup area and click Licensing. http://ow.ly/Ug18w 

Want to learn more about what ASPIRE has to offer? Visit our website at www.leaseteam.com