The year 2016 was the seventh one in a row when the leasing business recorded a double-digit growth in turnover (17 percent according to estimates) compared to the previous year. Idea Leasing – one of the fastest growing companies in the industry – has contributed to that significantly. After the acquisition of VB Leasing Poland and finalizing the takeover of a majority stake in Getin Leasing last year, a leading leasing company in Poland, with approximately a 15 percent market share, will be created upon merging.
The company offers the financing of a wide range of projects – from production equipment through cars and trucks to boats and yachts – and targets micro, small and medium-sized companies for which the lease is the most popular external financing tool.
Tens of thousands of customers and the increasing number of active lease agreements are a source of pride for the company. At the same time, new challenges related to the provision of operational services for such a large number of dispersed customers (Idea Leasing operates throughout the country) require a greater effort and investment. The IT tools for streamlining core business processes and building a positive image of the company and lasting relationships with customers are essential in managing this type of business. One of such tools is the Idea Leasing Customer Portal.
A portal for customers
The primary aim of the Idea Leasing Customer Portal is to improve communication between the company and its customers and to facilitate their access to information. As a result, customer service will be smoother and faster than in other channels. The solution modules will be provided gradually, which will give users a chance to sufficiently familiarize themselves with the basic functions of the system before they receive more advanced features.
In the first phase of providing the portal, electronic invoices, information on customer contracts and technical modules related to integration, authorizations, data security and user activity history will be activated.
Further planned functionalities are related to marketing information, sales and contact with the customer, etc. There are also plans to provide features that will build an additional competitive advantage in the area of cooperation with the customer.
A graphical user interface has been developed with a focus on UX (User Experience) aspects – usability, intuitiveness and workplace ergonomics. The project follows the corporate standard of the Idea Bank applications, introducing additionally the concept of Single Page Application (SPA) in accordance with current trends in web applications. As a result, the solution operates as smoothly as desktop applications – there is one page with dynamically changing contents, with no need for refreshing. The application is also fully responsive, meaning that it adapts to the screen where it is displayed, regardless of whether it is a screen of a laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
The Idea Leasing Customer Portal is based on a universal platform B2B – Edistrada – which is a proprietary product of SNP, available in the SNP Software Factory offer. Edistrada is used for mass generation, sharing and exchanging data with geographically dispersed business partners, and it enables integration with IT systems from different manufacturers. Moreover, it facilitates subsequent monitoring of communication. Prepared for Idea Leasing, the portal required the integration with the industry-specific sales system and CFM (Car Fleet Management) system. The interfaces built are based on encrypted and secured connections.
E-invoicing: lower costs through optimization
Communication with customers and responding to their expectations are the basis of our success and the direction we are invariably heading in. The implementation of the solutions that automate processes and allow us to focus on customer needs is a strategic decision in our company.
There are quite a lot of issues that should be emphasized when implementing the system responsible for the process that is critical for the company: ergonomics, integration, performance, security, monitoring and ensuring business continuity. Most of them concern the current operation of the system after the go-live, but it is advisable to deal with them at the earliest stage of project work. At Idea Leasing, we decided to entrust the system management to the company that created it, that is SNP. As a result, we were sure that the quality of the system was at the right level during its acceptance process before the go-live.
The selection of a right provider is also an additional safeguard. A long history of implementing complex projects for large companies, a good understanding of business issues and technical knowledge based on experience are the features that we expect. SNP met these conditions. Before entrusting the processing of the company’s sensitive data to an external entity, we also made sure that the tasks would be performed by competent specialists, working in accordance with the requirements of ISO 27018.
By changing the invoicing process into an electronic one, we have greatly reduced the costs of its handling and used the possibilities of its optimization.
Lech Stabiszewski, Idea Leasing SA Board Member
Invoices available online
Ultimately, the portal will be used by all customers of Idea Leasing. At first, they will be provided with the module for distribution of accounting documents, i.e. mainly electronic invoices. The decision to launch this functionality in the first place was not accidental. The online access to invoices can significantly reduce the costs of daily operations and guarantee the document delivery to the customer and, consequently, enable the receivables to be recovered faster. The portal records information about receiving a document, which enables you to monitor the activities of customers.
The preparation and sending of accounting documents in the traditional way is a considerable logistical challenge and a significant cost, especially if – as in Idea Leasing – we are dealing with tens or hundreds of thousands of documents per month. Entering data into an IT system, printing, enveloping, sending and later: verifying the delivery, explanations, corrections, duplicates, repeating the process – all this delays the receipt of receivables, adversely affects the cooperation with the customer and above all generates significant operating costs of the process (these are both the costs of labor, consumables and postal services). Assuming that the cost of handling the entire process of delivering a single document is PLN 5, we get PLN 5,000 with one thousand documents and half a million PLN per month with one hundred thousand invoices. There is a lot to be optimized.
Most companies aim at the efficient delivery of a large number of invoices and decide to outsource part of the process of packaging, addressing and shipping documents, which provides some savings. However, only switching to electronic invoicing allows you to significantly reduce costs – sometimes by 90 percent and more. The switching to e-invoicing is now simplified as far as possible as regards legal requirements – they are the same as for paper invoices. Of course, it is required to introduce some security mechanisms to ensure the authenticity of the sender and the integrity of the content, e.g. through electronic signatures and certificates or communication compliant with EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) standards. It is also necessary to provide a safe archive of documents and to store them for the legally required period.
Compared with the storage of binders with paper invoices, electronic archiving is much less troublesome (also when it is necessary to find a document), especially if the company decides to outsource the solution as is the case with the Idea Leasing Customer Portal.
The system of this company is maintained by SNP and is available in a SaaS (Software as a Service) model based on the SNP Data Centers consisting of modern data centers in two different locations.
Security of sensitive data
In the face of increasing threats, but also a growing awareness of their occurrence, the need to ensure adequate procedures related to the processing and storage of sensitive data, including personal data of customers, becomes more urgent. The most important aspects of data security in IT systems include:
- a system of data backup creation and maintenance,
- data encryption (both at the level of their storage and transmission),
- management of application changes (including the separation of development, test and production environments, the process of releasing a new version of the application),
- recording of the activity of users and administrators,
- management of user accounts and their authorizations.
Specific requirements related to procedures in these areas are provided in the ISO 27018 standard. To meet the requirements in this area, the Information Security Management System implemented at SNP in 2006 and confirmed by the ISO 27001 certification in 2015 has been extended by the ISO 27018 certification for services provided in the SaaS model. SNP was one of the first companies in Poland (and is still one of the few) that managed to meet such requirements.
A priority for the project
The project of building and launching the portal was divided into several stages so as to make e-invoices available to customers and start benefiting from the streamlined process as soon as possible. The project was quite complex in technical and administrative terms, and additionally it was influenced by repercussions related to the dynamics of the leasing industry and accompanying mergers. However, this did not affect the solution authors’ priority, which was the highest quality of the solution put into use by them. The system was thoroughly tested for functionality and performance. Additionally, it underwent penetration tests. As a result, in the first month following the go-live, not a single error was reported.
The project was supervised by the Board of Idea Leasing, which in key moments got involved in the project, giving it an adequate pace of work and importance in the organization. The involvement of decision-makers clearly pointed to the strategic nature of the project and a priority approach to providing a tool friendly to Idea Leasing customers. The solution in the pilot phase was first provided to the selected users, whose opinions, comments and expectations have a real impact on the further shape of the system. Further releases extending the functionality are planned for the next quarters of this year.