ELFA - Equipment Leasing and Finance Association - Equipping Business for Success

The Art of the Possible: ELFA Innovation Roundtable Takeaways

Posted 12/01/2023

TomorrowZone® wrapped up our 2023 Equipment Leasing and Finance Association Innovation Roundtable Series on November 16, 2023, where we explored The Art of the Possible: Pushing Boundaries with New Technologies, hosted by Deborah Reuben and moderated by Rafe Rosato.  

Our latest round table featured ELFA Innovation Advisory Council panelists: Tawyna Stone, Lisa Fitzgerald, and Beckham Thomas, along with our guest panelist Scott Nelson. Together, they lead discussions about topics that are redefining the industry such as: the cutting-edge technologies making waves in equipment finance, actional strategies for balancing incremental improvements and transformational change, and turning innovation from buzzwords into business value. All in attendance joined in on the conversation to share knowledge and enthusiasm; igniting powerful ideas and providing thought-provoking insights for those looking to drive further innovation within their team, or organization.  

Thank you to everyone for helping us #makeawesomehappen! 

Sending a special thanks and well wishes to Ralph Petta for kicking off the roundtable with his opening remarks and last appearance at our roundtable series. Thanks to Bill Choi, our ELFA Liaison. 

In case you missed it, here are just a few incredible takeaways from this event:  

 Clean up your “Hot Mess” Data: 

 The panel: 

  • Highlighted the importance of consolidating and cleaning up data for deriving business value from collected information and to position you to adopt advanced technology solutions.
  • Mentioned the potential impact of compliance as a driver for data cleanup.
  • Discussed the use of master data management to simplify the data integration process.
  • Explored data usage to understand organizational behavior.
  • Touched on the importance of humanizing technology to enhance acceptance and comfort levels.

Important note: To get started cleaning up your data, it is integral to get it all mapped to one place. However, getting data into one place DOESN’T necessarily mean getting it into one core leasing system. Think about and evaluate the data layer - data lake, data warehouse, and analytics tools- there are OTHER ways to consolidate your data. You don’t always have to replace a core to do so.  

Another challenge that shows up in software implementations, is knowing what the data represents, especially from a detailed perspective. It often takes a huge amount of time to understand it all; resulting in certain data elements being proven useless or no longer required, especially when legacy systems are in play, and there is no longer expertise within the organization. 

Who are YOUR Customers? 

The panel: 

  • Acknowledged the challenge in defining the term "customer" within the equipment finance industry.
  • Emphasized speaking the same language within the organization and with customers.
  • Recognized the importance of not just understanding the customer, but also comprehending their readiness and needs before implementing new technology.
  • Emphasized solving specific business problems and considering the impact on end users.
  • Advised on how to understand both your customer and your customer's customer in the customer journey.
  • Mentioned challenges in introducing new customer engagement methods and the significance of understanding customer perspectives and drivers.

 Mindset Shifts & Technology Driven Transformations 

The panel: 

  • Explored the importance of a mindset shift towards problem-solving over mere adoption of new tools.
  • Discussed leveraging third-party expertise to enhance both customer experience and internal operations.
  • Advised on the value of starting with small, tangible changes rather than underestimating their impact.
  • Highlighted the importance of implementing practical applications and personalized use of cutting-edge technologies in equipment finance.
  • Emphasized the need for digitization, process mapping, and data analysis to enhance productivity and customer experience.
  • Discussed the decision to build technology in-house or outsource.
  • Touched on the importance of moderation in adopting cutting-edge technologies.
  • Mentioned challenges of balancing legacy systems with new advancements.

 Compliance & Standards as Drivers 

 Lastly, the panel: 

  • Discussed the significance of compliance in driving transformational change.
  • Addressed accelerating change through standards within your organization and team coherence in communication.
  • Expanded upon the importance of data standards and a unified language across the leasing industry for efficiency and revenue growth.
  • Acknowledged the challenge in determining investment areas, particularly in the face of changing regulations.

Thank you to everyone who participated in our ELFA Innovation Roundtables throughout 2023. We are excited about and look forward to continuing our exploration and conversations in 2024! Be sure to save the following dates and join us in 2024: February 15, May 9, August 8, November 14. 

Thank you to TomorrowZone for preparing this event recap.


Amy Vogt on behalf of Tomorrow Zone