Contract Funding

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Wanting to add funding in ASPIRE? The Contract Funding screen provides a way to add fundings and funding sources to a contract. The system only allows one funding submission per funding source, but there can be an unlimited number of submissions on a contract.

Do you want to learn more about Contract Funding? Check out your ASPIRE Help section. Click on the area for Contract Explorer. Then, under Tasks, click the Funding option. http://ow.ly/Ug18w 

Have some other questions about ASPIRE? Visit our website at www.leaseteam.com.

A Recap of the Share the Vision User Conference

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LeaseTeam, Inc.’s (LTi) Annual User Conference took place at the CenturyLink Center in downtown Omaha. This year’s theme, “Share the Vision”, focused heavily on the future of user experience and offered its 117 attendees an abundance of hands-on sessions and presentations. These interactive experiences provided a forum for real-time customer feedback on the company’s products, and the ability to present ideas on how the equipment and asset finance industry should adapt over time.

Sessions demonstrated effective ways to utilize LTi products. The goal was to nurture a collaborative learning environment where users could gain practical knowledge and a better understanding of the following topics: Configurable Forms, Bank Funding, Inventory Management, and Workflow & Scorecard. The LTi Hub – previously known as the Demo Café – featured interactive product demonstrations by Subject Matter Experts (SMEs).

LTi also shared plans to expand its reach into the financial services industry, and introduced the ASPIRE Product Roadmap. This year’s focus was on helping attendees understand how their companies can:

  • Stand apart – customize solutions to produce unique consumer experiences, build new partnerships, and strengthen brand identities. 
  • Scale smart – develop strategies to increase operational efficiency, manage security and compliance needs, and effectively measure performance.
  • Grow beyond – explore future executive and business development opportunities and issues shaping the equipment finance industry.

Highlights of the conference included the Night of Champions Bash in Baseball Village for the NCAA College World Series (CWS), the Party on the Rooftop at Blatt Beer & Table, and a major announcement made during Wednesday morning’s General Session that company would be rebranding.

LeaseTeam, Inc., will be changing its name to LTi Technology Solutions and will launch a new website in the coming weeks.

LTi would like to thank all of our attendees and exhibitors for making this year’s conference one worth remembering. We appreciate your continued partnership and loyalty. For those unable to attend, we hope to see you next year where we will be celebrating 30 years of service to the equipment and asset finance industry!

An extra special thank you to Marketing Director Tessa Shaffer, and Digital Marketing Coordinator Kirsten Dargy, for the hard work and dedication they poured into putting this conference together. We could not have done it without you.

Take a look at some of our favorite moments from the conference by visiting our 2018 Conference Photo Gallery!

Share the Vision: What to Expect at the 2018 User Conference

Few events in the equipment finance industry bring like-minded professionals together to connect and collaborate like LeaseTeam, Inc.’s (LTi) Annual User Conference. Slated for June 26 – 28 at the CenturyLink Center Omaha, this year’s “Share the Vision” rendition will focus on the future of the ASPIRE user experience in the evolving business landscape. Not only will we detail what we’re doing at LTi to deliver results today and shape tomorrow, but we’ll also explore how companies can:

  • Stand apart – how can your company differentiate itself?
  • Scale smart – how can your company optimize its operational efficiency?
  • Grow beyond – how can your company broaden its horizons to embrace new opportunities?

Conference attendees present during Wednesday morning’s General Session will have front-row seats to the unveiling of several monumental changes coming in 2018.  Here is a preview of the 2018 LTi User Conference – including what’s new and an insightful schedule overview.
 

What’s New in 2018

While the Silicon Prairie’s summer forecast remains unpredictable, there are elements of this year’s conference that are sure to impress.

In previous years, the LTi User Conference has been held during the first week of June. For 2018, the conference will take place during the final week of the month. This coincides with the NCAA College World Series (CWS) at the TD Ameritrade Park in Downtown Omaha. The CWS is arguably the liveliest time of the year for the city’s bustling metropolitan area.

Our seasoned conference attendees are likely familiar with the Hilton Omaha Hotel, as well as the surrounding amenities situated in the Old Market Entertainment District just south of the ballpark. But a fresh, inviting addition to this year’s experience is the Omaha Marriott Downtown at the Capitol District – one of the main attractions in the city’s heavily-anticipated development to the north end of Downtown Omaha. By aligning our conference with the pinnacle of the CWS and the positive buzz surrounding the Capitol District’s opening, we believe attendees will get to experience the very best Omaha has to offer. And it’s all within walking distance.

We’ve also re-envisioned the way we conduct our sessions to help attendees get the most bang for their buck. Our sessions will demonstrate effective ways to utilize our products, and our ASPIRE Product Roadmap for the future. This year we are placing emphasis on user feedback in order to foster a rich and collaborative learning environment. That’s why we’ve implemented Hands-On Sessions for current ASPIRE users to gain practical knowledge and a better understanding of the following topics: Configurable Forms, Bank Funding, Inventory Management, and Workflow & Scorecard. Similarly, it should be noted that the LTi HUB – previously known as the Demo Café – will feature interactive product demonstrations by Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). Our team of SMEs will be available for one-on-one consultations upon request at various times throughout the week.

Schedule Overview

During our conference, we network, collaborate, learn, innovate, and have a blast along the way; breakfast, lunch, and dinner included. Here is a high-level guide to your week in the Heartland.  

  • Monday, June 25:
    • SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) Training session will run from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday’s session will be a great warm-up for the week ahead.
  • Tuesday, June 26:
    • The conference officially kicks-off, headlined by the ASPIRE v5 Roundtable and two different sessions of Crystal Reports Training. Cap off the evening with the Night of Champions Bash – a corporate tent-style tailgate in Baseball Village from 6 – 9 p.m. Enjoy food, drinks, and good company as we tune in for the final game of the CWS.
  • Wednesday, June 27:
    • Strap in for the exciting news we will be unveiling at the General Session, hosted by President Jeff Van Slyke and Co-Founder Randy Haug. A total of nine sessions will take place throughout the day, including three hands-on demonstrations. Wrap up the most eventful stretch of the conference with the Party on the Rooftop at Blatt Beer & Table.
  • Thursday, June 28:
    • Close out the conference by grazing the Exhibit Hall and attending our final training sessions – including hands-on instruction for Workflow & Scorecard. Still have questions about the ASPIRE Product Roadmap? We’ll finish up the half-day by diving deeper into the information provided by Jeff at the General Session.

For more information, check out the complete conference agenda, session details, event descriptions, or our FAQ section.

In Review

The 2018 LTi User Conference will share our vision for this year and beyond. The primary focus will hinge on the future of user experience in the equipment finance industry, as well as how we plan to broaden our horizons and expand our reach into the financial services industry as a whole. In doing so, our conference will help attendees understand how their companies can:

  • Stand apart – customize solutions to produce unique consumer experiences, build new partnerships, and strengthen brand identities. 
  • Scale smart – develop strategies to increase operational efficiency, manage security and compliance needs, and effectively measure performance.
  • Grow beyond – explore future executive and business development opportunities and issues shaping the equipment finance industry.

For the 113 individuals who already have their rooms booked and bags packed, we look forward to seeing you next week. For those still unsure about attending, there could still be time to do so here.

Finally, a very special thank-you is due to Marketing Director Tessa Shaffer and Digital Marketing Coordinator Kirsten Dargy for the countless hours of hard work and elbow grease they have poured into planning and executing what just might be our best conference yet.

LeaseTeam’s Response to the New Standards in Lease Accounting

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A new era of transparency is on the horizon for the financial services industry. The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB)Accounting Standard Codification (ASC) Topic 842 and the International Financial Reporting Standard 16 (IFRS 16) will begin to take effect in January of 2019 through 2020. To help our customers get up-to-speed, we have provided a brief overview of the new lease accounting standards, and the steps LeaseTeam (LTi) has taken to ensure compliance in both ASPIRE and LeasePlus.

A Brief Overview of FASB ASC – Topic 842

According to Deloitte, “The new lease accounting standard is estimated to bring $2 trillion of lease liability into S&P 500 balance sheets.” However, don’t let this daunting forecast overshadow the fact that ASC 842/IFRS 16 extends beyond the giants to companies of all sizes, both public and private.

Like most regulatory efforts in today’s digital economy, the underlying mission of ASC 842/IFRS 16 is to maximize transparency in order to uphold integrity in business. In this case, that means an increase in the level of visibility available to lenders, investors, and other users of financial statements to evaluate companies’ leasing obligations.

Given the timeline to completion, this was no small task. Chief in importance is the FASB’s modification to what constitutes a lease in an effort to overhaul its accounting treatment. While leases will still be classified as capital (sales-type or direct finance) or operating under the two-model approach, ASC 842 includes notable changes to the treatment of capital leases. (Please note IFRS 16 adopted a single-model approach for lessee accounting.)

A sales-type capital lease includes:

  • Transfer of ownership
  • Purchase of the underlying asset
  • Major part of remaining economic life
  • The Present Value (PV) of lease payments, plus residual value guaranteed exceeds Fair Market Value (FMV)
  • Specialized assets

Whereas with a direct finance capital lease:

  • The PV of lease payments, plus the residual value guaranteed exceeds FMV
  • It’s likely that lessor collects lease payments plus residual value guaranteed

Until now, the key difference has been that capital leases are recorded on the balance sheet, whereas operating leases are not. However, under ASC 842/IFRS 16 the majority of operating leases must appear on the balance sheet, with exception to short-term leases less than 12 months and right-of-use assets. Similarly, the treatment of operating and capital leases on income statements has also evolved. For capital leases, interest and amortization will appear separately, usually as a front-loaded expense profile given the separate interest on lease liability. For operating leases, interest and amortization will now merge into a single-line item, usually as a straight-line expense.

Our Path to Compliance with FASB ASC – Topic 842

On the software front, it’s easy to see how the implementation of a regulation such as ASC 842/IFRS 16 would raise concerns for equipment leasing and finance solution-providers. Can changes to the definition of a lease, its components, and initial direct costs (IDCs) disrupt the workflow of an entire end-to-end platform?

While some software providers continue to experience critical disruptions and code freezes in their development pipelines to accommodate the changes needed to adhere to ASC 842/IFRS 16, LTi’s suite of products are already in compliance. ASPIRE’s flexibility, made possible by our configuration-first approach, allowed our team to meet the requirements of ASC 842/IFRS 16 in less than 80 hours. Since the new lease accounting standards and IFRS 16 were first published in early 2016, we’ve maintained ongoing dialogues with our customers through user groups, our annual user conference, and customer surveys. This hands-on approach to collaboration not only nurtured many valuable partnerships during this transition period, but it has also proven that our technology is both stable and secure enough to withstand significant change from external factors of influence. The official release for ASPIRE v5.20 is slotted for Q3 2018. While the release date for LeasePlus is still to be determined, it will be available long before the new lease accounting standards take effect.

In Review

The Financial Accounting Standards Board Accounting Standard Codification Topic 842 is the official name for the update to lease accounting standards, also known as ASC 842, or Topic 842. The International Financial Reporting Standard 16 (IFRS 16) is the governing board that oversees it, and includes many similar changes, with exception to the IFRS 16’s single-model approach for lessee accounting. Even if your daily workload is not directly impacted by the measure, it’s helpful to know that:

  • LTi executed a swift plan of action throughout 2017-18 to reach compliance, given that the regulation will have a drastic impact on the way both lessees and lessors conduct business.
  • Although Topic 842/IFRS 16 was published in January/February, 2016, public companies have until January, 2019, to transition; private companies must follow suit by January, 2020.

There’s no question the time, energy, and resources that go into achieving and maintaining compliance with the new lease accounting standards will be challenging. But in today’s age of instant access, measures such as ASC 842 and IFRS 16 are vital to upholding the integrity of equipment leasing and other financial endeavors. LTi is pleased to have been able to channel our commitment to innovation and client services toward industry compliance. This measure is sure to redefine the way industry professionals approach lease accounting for years to come.

Job Stream

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Needing to create a new job in JobStream in ASPIRE? JobStream is where new jobs are created to be run once at a scheduled time or repeated daily, weekly, or monthly. Existing jobs already setup can also be run on-demand from this screen. Running jobs also provides the option of sending email notifications to a single or multiple email recipients.

Want to learn more about JobStream in ASPIRE? Check out your ASPIRE Help section. Click on the area for Administration. Then, under Workflow, click the JobStream option. 

Have some other questions about ASPIRE? Visit our website at www.leaseteam.com.

GDPR Compliance: What you Need to Know, and Why it Matters

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Security. Privacy. Peace of mind.

Although personal data may not be the first subject matter tied to these three desirable experiences, it has steadily emerged as a controversial issue equipped with grave concerns in the digital age. In response, a newfound emphasis on user consent has emerged as the vehicle for the change in the transparency we all wish to see in our modern technological pursuits, both business and pleasure.

For far too long, the topic of user consent has been sidestepped like a luxurious buzzword, hiding its true implications in the complex terms and conditions statements very few read, let alone fully digest. In turn, this has enabled tech titans to exploit the highly-personal information of their customers for lucrative gain, often times while feigning a resemblance of innocence to the rest of the world.

Enter the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – the first of what will likely be many proactive efforts ushering in a new era of digital privacy this Friday, May 25th.

What is the GDPR?
According to CSO, an online news source from IDG Communications, “GDPR is a regulation that requires businesses to protect the personal data and privacy of EU citizens for transactions that occur within EU member states.” This data includes basic identifiers like name, address, and ID numbers; web information, such as location, IP address, and cookie data; health, genetics, and biometrics data; racial, ethnic, and sexual orientation data; and even political views. As a result, this has launched businesses into action, enacting key changes to practices affecting personal privacy, controls and notifications, transparency of policies, information technology, and training. 

Who does the GDPR affect?
Wait – this only applies to Europe, right? Wrong. And failure to comply could prove both dangerous and costly. According to Microsoft, “The GDPR imposes new rules on companies, government agencies, non-profits, and other organizations that offer goods and services to people in the European Union (EU), or that collect and analyze data tied to EU residents. The GDPR applies no matter where you are located.” More specifically, this includes companies with a presence in an EU country; no EU presence, but using EU resident data; over 250 employees; and also under 250 employees, when the effect of its data-processing extends to sensitive personal information. Or in other words, everyone. For perspective, a survey conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers found that a whopping 92% of American companies pegged GDPR compliance as a “top data protection priority.” And if it’s not now, chances are it will be very soon based on the doors it may open to other regulatory standards of the like.

How has LeaseTeam responded?
To simplify things a bit further, the GDPR seeks to help the good guys to do right by their customers, while also protecting us from malicious cyberattacks by bad guys around the globe. This leads us to LeaseTeam’s (LTi) proactive approach to compliance – from the latest FASB Lease Accounting Standards in February, to now the GDPR in May – in which we strive to deliver maximum transparency to our customers, further building loyalty and trust. Keeping this in mind, here are the eight core GDPR requirements affecting what we do at LTi, along with the actions we’ve taken to ensure unwavering compliance ahead of Friday’s deadline. 

GDPR Requirement:
International data transfers

LTi Compliance Solution:
To minimize international data transfers, we utilize our well-established hosting facility in the UK. This strategic response to business expansion across the pond falls in line with our efforts to reach GDPR compliance. We also maintain certification under the EU-US Privacy Shield Framework, and our data is encrypted at-rest and in-transit with AES-256.

GDPR Requirement:
Request consent to collect personal data

LTi Compliance Solution:
ASPIRE templates can be used to standardize best practices for privacy and consent documentation. Templates to obtain consent can be customized for web-based services at the time of collection. Additionally, LTi’s website features a checkbox for prospective customers interested in receiving marketing materials via email.

GDPR Requirement:
Retain personal data records

LTi Compliance Solution:
The ASPIRE document repository allows company controllers to maintain records of past consent and privacy notices in a clear, organized manner. ASPIRE’s transactional database simplifies tracking and processing through standard inquiry at both the contract and account level. This establishes important guidelines and provides greater transparency throughout organizations moving forward.

GDPR Requirement:
Share personal data with individuals or controllers upon request

LTi Compliance Solution:
For immediate transparency, users can quickly create ad hoc reports to electronically deliver the personal data of one or more individual in the ASPIRE database, pending administrative approval of course. This information can then be saved and exported in various formats – whatever best serves your needs.

GDPR Requirement:
Individual right to erasure

LTi Compliance Solution:
Our customers come first, and that includes their right to be forgotten. Upon request, LeaseTeam can mask personal data within the ASPIRE database. However, it is important to first consult your organization’s Data Protection Officer or a decision-maker of similar authority regarding additional regulation for financial data or legal ground for processing.

GDPR Requirement:
Additional product and service security measures

LTi Compliance Solution:
In ASPIRE, system administrators maintain exclusive control over configuration of security profiles and access to personal data within the organization. Unless a user has permission granted through his or her security profile, he or she will not be able to access the pages or the individual’s data will be concealed.

GDPR Requirement:
Data breach notification

LTi Compliance Solution:
In addition to the data encryption guidelines in LTi’s Data Security Policy, our Incident Response Policy is compliant with the GDPR’s 72-hour notification requirement for data breach reporting. Our support team frequently audits our tracking database and written agreements, and may also review employee computers at random to ensure customer data is not being misused.

GDPR Requirement:
Lawful basis for processing personal data

LTi Compliance Solution:
Finally, LTi’s Privacy Statement thoroughly details the Privacy Shield principles we abide in regards to how the visitor information gathered through our company website is collected, maintained, and utilized. For example, when visitors request additional information, LTi extends the option to include personal contact information in order to do business more effectively.

In Review
The GDPR is a European privacy law that goes into in effect this Friday, May 25th.  

  • At face value, the GDPR sounds like a confusing, regulatory buzzkill created by big government. But after sorting through the technical jargon, that’s clearly not the case.
  • The GDPR has the best interest of the consumer’s individual security in mind, as it will encourage better practices for handling personal data, including transparent communication in policies, reporting, information technology, and training.  
  • The GDPR will help businesses do right by their customers, while also safeguarding against malicious hackers seeking to exploit sensitive information for financial gain.

At LTi, we are steadfast in our commitment to the security, privacy, and peace of mind our customers experience when working with us. We believe the GDPR’s emphasis on consent to personal data and transparency in how it is used will only advance our mission. Going forward, this will undoubtedly pave the way for similar, progressive initiatives to make our world a better place online.  

Finally, we would be remiss to overlook the tremendous amount of work this created for Data Protection Officers and others of similar rank and function at companies big and small around the globe. Please be sure to give those kind souls a big handshake, high-five, or hug (whichever best suits your workplace culture) next time you see them.

Thanks, Marci!  

Benchmark Setup

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Need to set up Benchmarks in ASPIRE? Benchmark reflects the swap rate or cost of funds from the finance company’s funding source, for example, the Prime Lending Rate or LIBOR Interest Rate Index. The Benchmark is added to the yield and rate markup to determine the overall total yield applied to the contract, affecting the yield on the contract equipment as well as any financed fees.

Want to learn more about Benchmark Setup in ASPIRE? Check out your ASPIRE Help section.  You will click on the area for Administration. Then, under Economics, click the Benchmark Setup option.

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

How Configuration Brings out the Best in Software Development

Just when you thought you had technology all figured out, Facebook unveils its latest algorithm change and Amazon is exposed for housing millions of fake customer reviews, just as GDPR requirements are about to enter the playing field. Suddenly, everything you thought you knew for certain about tech flies right out the window.

Alright, so maybe that’s a little dramatic. Still, the inner-workings of modern technology and the behind-the-scenes bureaucracy that influence today’s digital world are tough to grasp, whether it’s in the consumer or commercial environment. Simplifying a project scope to a high-level understanding is a great introductory strategy, but that doesn’t truly illustrate the experience and expertise required by swamped development teams to meet aggressive deadlines within budget constraints. As a result, confusion among customers is common. Take the configuration vs. customization mix-up, one that is as easily formed as it is forgiven. After all, both approaches to software development seek to deliver an innovative solution that best meet the needs of the customer in order to maximize employee productivity and operational efficiency as a whole. This makes understanding the fundamental differences between modular software development and custom software development all the more important – especially what makes the former more cost-effective, conducive to collaboration and easier to maintain than the latter.

Configuration

Modular software development is a strategy that entails breaking down a system into separate components, or modules, so they can be used in a variety of applications and functions alongside other components in a system. More importantly, modules can then be continually reused in other systems, spreading the wealth of functionality without the repeated heavy lifting.

This configurative approach to problem-solving presents many benefits to customers and tech partners alike – and frankly, very few drawbacks. First and foremost, less time spent developing and delivering the solution means a much lower price tag. Being able to repurpose existing code later on, whether it performs simple procedures or complex functionalities, drastically lightens the workload – making each following project configuration even easier to plan, build, implement, support and maintain. Why build from scratch when you can utilize existing software modules that have already proven successful for other customers seeking to eliminate similar pain points? In turn, this makes it much easier for quality assurance teams to pinpoint, troubleshoot and fix bugs moving forward.

As a result, this provides greater flexibility across the board – both in system functionality and communication between internal and external teams. Not only does modular software development aid collaboration between tech partners and their customers, but it also opens doors to valuable integration opportunities with reputable third-party vendors with solutions that have already been tested by the marketplace. All things considered, modular software development is without question a more time-efficient and cost-effective approach to problem-solving for all parties involved.

Customization

In today’s increasingly personalized world, having it your way is no longer a bonus – it’s the standard. Just as mobile apps and intuitive web experiences empower consumers to customize all the colors and features, toppings and sauces, delivery speeds and methods their heart desires, the same goes for tech partners and their customers.

Of course, not all of a customer’s wide-ranging technological needs can always be accounted for with existing functionality that’s already been successfully deployed in a tech partner’s install base – no matter how diverse and complete it may be. In this event, custom software development is likely the best approach to satisfy an organization’s system needs. When opting for customization, both the tech partner and customer are committing to a brand-new system designed exclusively for that enterprise. Each and every detail is tailor-made to their needs and their needs only. And since what works for their company may not necessarily work for others, this presents an opportunity to outpace the competition for years to come.

Although this sounds like an opportunity for endless bells and whistles, it comes at a steep price. Naturally, the cost of consulting, development and implementation skyrockets with the project’s drastic increase in timeframe and workload. This uptick in volume extends even further beyond the immediate impact on project cost, opening doors to expensive maintenance and support fees due to the custom solution’s unique requirements.

The Best of Both Worlds

Today, we at LeaseTeam believe ASPIRE reaches peak performance when utilized as a configurable end-to-end solution that prioritizes modular development over customization. The expansive install base we’ve established in the stable, flourishing and tightly-regulated equipment finance industry allows us to successfully do so, saving our customers a great deal of money and our team a great deal of time and energy. However, this is not to say configuration-first partners like us shun custom development opportunities. Although we do offer in-house custom development when necessary, we first evaluate a prospective customer’s functionality needs by determining if the customer’s desired functionality is an improvement to ASPIRE. If so, can this functionality be used to benefit other customers in the future? In the event that it does, we configure the solution together so others can potentially reap the benefits of the functionality down the road, too. If that’s not the case and the customer truly does have unique requirements they cannot operate effectively without, we join forces to design, build and implement a custom solution.

In Review

Although custom software development clearly has its perks, modular software development is more feasible for tech partners and their customers considering:

  • Configuration is more cost-effective, conducive to collaboration and easier to maintain.
  • Customization has its perks, but is only ideal for massive enterprises with unique requirements.
  • Embrace the best of both worlds by exploring a configurative approach first, while falling back on your tech partner’s custom development capabilities as a safety net if necessary.

In the end, it all comes down to which strategy best fits the customer and its objectives moving forward. Whether configuring existing functionality into a unique solution or building one from scratch, both processes require a great deal of technical skill, ingenuity and respect for the big picture in order to ensure customers survive and thrive.

Opening a Support Ticket

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Having trouble opening a Support Ticket for ASPIRE or LeasePlus? LeaseTeam’s Support is the first stop when experiencing an issue. Tickets can be submitted via email to support@leaseteam.com. Please make sure to provide relevant details up front, including the following:

·         Company Name:

·         Your Name:

·         Phone Number:

·         Email Address:

·         Product (LP, ASPIRE, LSM, GP, Report Director, RDM):

·         Version:

·         Severity: Production down, Severe, High, Normal, Low

·         Full description of that problem or question (please include steps to recreate the issues as well):

**PLEASE BE SURE TO INCLUDE ANY AND ALL SCREENSHOTS OF ERROR MESSAGES IF RECEIVED**

When you describe the severity, please keep in mind initial response times. Please try to use your best judgement when selecting the level for an issue, as it is used to prioritize work fairly and appropriately for the situation. The severity levels are:

·         Production Down – Inability of all users to access one or more products – 15 to 30 minute initial response time

·         Severe – Production functionality not working for a specific area; critical business processes affected – 2 hour initial response time

·         High – Business is affected; issue is not impacting mission critical processes – 4 hour initial response time

·         Normal – Business moderately impacted; users can work; efficiency is hampered – 6 hour initial response time

·         Low – Business not impacted significantly; issue is annoying or an enhancement – 10 hour response time

*Initial Response Time is the time between a new ticket submission and the first contact by a Support Representative.

The severity level may change during the life of a ticket. For instance, severity level may be reduced with a viable workaround or the inability to recreate the problem. Severity may also be upgraded based on increased usage of the function, project deadlines, or increased frequency of the issue.

Want to learn more? Email us at support@leaseteam.com or call us at 1 (402) 493-3530.

Want to learn more about what ASPIRE has to offer? Visit our website at http://ow.ly/Swt2t

Why Industry Conferences are Vital to Successful Time Management

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"I don’t have time for this. There just aren’t enough hours in the day." Or my personal favorite – "It’s five o’clock already?"

We’re all familiar with office jargon like this. Whether you’re an investment banker or a software developer, a physician or a professor, a trucker or a farmer, time is of the essence because you can’t buy more of it. Sure, maybe you can stretch a deadline until next week or even hit a target launch date ahead of schedule when everything goes as planned. But either way, that means squeezing as much productivity out of each 24-hour sprint as humanly possible. Although in today’s landscape technology helps optimize time to reach maximum efficiency, that doesn’t mean it’s the only component of effective time management.

Now in its 30th year, the Equipment Leasing & Finance Association’s (ELFA) National Funding Conference recently brought industry professionals together once again at the Swissôtel Chicago earlier this month. Given the elevated market confidence in a booming industry with can’t-miss opportunities at stake, this year’s record turnout of nearly 700 attendees is hardly a surprise considering the annual gathering continues to make it easier, more flexible and extremely affordable for funding sources to participate and meet with the companies that fit your funding profile.” Needless to say, the ELFA National Funding Conference is a prime example of a productive, high-impact use of time tailored to meet the needs of a competitive industry. In spite of the vast technological changes in the marketplace, industry events remain vital to successful time management. Here’s why:

Conferences have everything you need, all in one place

Technology has high-jacked the conversation surrounding workplace productivity (and rightfully so), but that doesn’t mean it’s drained the value from strategically-planned networking opportunities like the ELFA National Funding Conference. Much of this has to do with the principles on which it was founded. The event is structured upon the idea that independent leasing companies are always looking for new funding sources, so providing an open trading floor will empower parties to sell deals back-and-forth more effectively. With this understanding in mind, the ELFA has carefully crafted an ideal atmosphere for all kinds of funding relationships, with respect to everyone’s own unique appetite for business. Whether you’re looking to nurture existing relationships, or test the water with new prospective clients, this event proves to be a wildly-productive use of time year in and year out.

In the past, the conference has kicked off with a cocktail reception on Tuesday night, followed by 20 minute meeting slots scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday – reminiscent of speed-dating. However, this changed with the introduction of ELFA Executive Roundtables, which begin on the same day at 1 pm. Before implementing this new conference feature, most attendees arrived midday Tuesday, still with plenty of time to spare before the evening festivities commenced. But with this slight tweak in scheduling, it’s now more feasible to arrive on Monday due to the uncertainty presented by weather and travel – especially in a bustling landscape like the Windy City.

As a result, leasing professionals and funding sources alike flock to the event an entire day in advance, often times booking independent meetings of their own to maximize the amount of valuable face-time with others. Just like that, a simple change to the conference schedule introduced a new dynamic to way attendees interact, helping attendees get more bang for their buck.    

Tech partners are the facilitators in the field – not the focus

At events like the ELFA Funding Conference, there is typically a hierarchy of priorities. Leasing companies check in with financial institutions first to get their funding lines approved before branching off to smaller funding sources with the hopes of expand their portfolios. Somewhere along the line, tech partners – the problem-solving catalysts for any complications that arise – may enter the equation. Of course, traditionally most equipment finance companies aren’t as interested in meeting with the software provider because that means spending money at an event where the goal is to secure funding. However, with the rapid emergence of digital banking and other FinTech pursuits, software companies are becoming less of an afterthought on the conference trading floor.

In an expanding U.S. economy, leasing companies are thriving, which amplifies the importance of securing larger-funded and more diversified relationships. Liquidity in the market means many high-risk, high-reward opportunities are available, as banks have an excess amount of money ready to put to work rather than sitting idly by collecting dust. At the end of the day, one of the key factors of influence in the equipment finance industry is risk mitigation. For example, smaller banks tend to fall victim to accounting exposure issues, so that’s when it’s time to go find partners to do business with – a need that is often satisfied by industry events such the ELFA Funding Conference. When those smaller banks start selling off deals, the need for sophisticated, end-to-end technology solutions to drive high-volume deals to the finish line suddenly becomes amplified. That’s where tech partners like LeaseTeam step in and spearhead issues that arise with our end-to-end lease management solution, ASPIRE.

Like any investment, emerging technology is a long-term commitment that impacts how you work every day. It’s a big-picture approach to time management. On the other hand, industry conferences are short-term commitments with a more immediate impact. They are quick bursts of high-impact activity that help you secure new business or discover opportunities to innovate within your existing model. Together, a robust technology stack allows leasing companies and funding sources to capitalize on deals with confidence when they interact at industry conferences – where the real business gets done.

In Review

When executed correctly, industry events like the ELFA National Funding Conference are much like professional playgrounds. They demonstrate the unwavering value of face-to-face interaction in the digital age, without neglecting the fact that the tech sector is here to help fight the race against the clock. To get your money’s worth, it’s important to understand where your company’s value proposition fits into the industry equation so you can focus on high-impact opportunities, while minimizing the amount of time spent entertaining low-impact endeavors. Based on this year’s spike in attendance, more and more individuals are coming to terms with this reality:

  • Successful conferences still bring everything you need together, all in one place.
  • Tech partners are facilitators in the field looking to solve critical business problems.
  • Understanding the dynamic relationship between the two is great for time management.

Next time you find yourself pondering the value of attending a conference, ask yourself – where else can you crank out dozens of face-to-face meetings in a three-day span? And if you’re not there, well, chances are your top competitors will be, stealing the show.