All posts by Martin Germanis

Collections & Recovery Toyota FS Wins InformationWeek “Best in Analytics” Award

Toyota and InformationWeek logos
May092016

“Analytics is all about making decisions. Focus on what decisions you have to make and what actions you have to take rather than starting with data or systems.” That’s what Jim Bander, national manager of decision science at Toyota Financial Services, told InformationWeek. And he knows what he’s talking about — Toyota FS just won the InformationWeek Elite 100 award for Best in Analytics for their work on optimization that keeps customers in their cars. (As someone who owns three Toyota Highlanders, I have a personal stake in this story.) This groundbreaking project received the FICO Decision Management Award for Debt Management last year. We are proud of our part in helping TFS on their Collections Treatment Optimization project, which scored this prestigious award from InformationWeek. The metrics Toyota Financial Services uses to measure success illustrate their commitment to their customers. As the article notes, “In the first year 1,600... [Read More]

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Collections & Recovery Buying a Collections System – What Vendors Won’t Tell You #10

collections shopping cart
Mar302016

This is the last in my list of 10 things most vendors won’t tell you that are absolutely critical to selecting the right collections system. Don’t forget about an escrow account. Source code for the system must be held in escrow, protecting you against unforeseen issues, such as the code owner ceasing business operations or other extreme circumstances. That’s it, folks. Of course, there are lots of other things you need to consider, but these are the ones many businesses forget. What have you seen that you want to share? Post a comment below. Want more ideas on what’s important? Contact me – martingermanis@fico.com.

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Collections & Recovery Buying a Collections System – What Vendors Won’t Tell You #9

Collections shopping cart
Mar232016

This is the second-to-last item in your handy guide to shopping for a collections system. I’m offering 10 tips — things most vendors won’t tell you that are absolutely critical to selecting the right system. How will you provide an exit/roll-back strategy for our legacy system? Legacy data roll-back strategies are critical safe¬guards for a responsible application migration. Your new vendor should expect the unexpected and have a plan in place. The simplest but also most time-consuming method of rolling back is to run systems in parallel, duplicating efforts on both systems. You might consider requesting a program to extract data from the new system to re-populate the old system, as well. Next week I’ll share question #10. To make sure you don’t miss it, subscribe to the FICO Blog using the box on the right side of this page.

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Collections & Recovery Buying a Collections System – What Vendors Won’t Tell You #8

Collections checklist
Mar172016

This is item 8 in your handy guide to shopping for a collections system. I’m offering 10 tips — things most vendors won’t tell you that are absolutely critical to selecting the right system. Document the manual AND automated processes your SMEs perform. Detailed functional requirements should be gathered from your subject matter experts (SMEs). Based on these requirements, system design documentation should be created, driving the configuration and custom application development. When SMEs share their requirements and insights with regard to successfully performing their duties, no process should be considered small or insignificant. It’s human nature to complain about manual processes; these issues will often get well-documented. But just as important are automated processes that are easily handled by the current system, and these are frequently overlooked. Next week I’ll share question #9. To make sure you don’t miss it, subscribe to the FICO Blog using the box on... [Read More]

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Collections & Recovery Buying a Collections System – What Vendors Won’t Tell You #7

Collections system checklist image
Mar092016

This is question 7 in your handy guide to shopping for a collections system. I’m offering 10 tips — things most vendors won’t tell you that are absolutely critical to selecting the right system. How does this system meet regulatory and legislative requirements? How fast can I change the system when regulations change? Changes in the political environment and increased security requirements drive legislative changes and industry regulations. Understanding the current business processes affected by these regulations is critical. The system must provide mechanisms for accommodating existing regulations and the flexibility to adapt to future needs. It’s very possible that some of the regulatory and legislative requirements are buried in code in the current environment. Be prepared to document your needs and to understand how the new system accommodates these needs. Next week I’ll share question #8. To make sure you don’t miss it, subscribe to the FICO Blog using... [Read More]

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Collections & Recovery Buying a Collections System – What Vendors Won’t Tell You #6

Shopping cart
Feb242016

This is question 6 in your handy guide to shopping for a collections system. I’m offering 10 tips — things most vendors won’t tell you that are absolutely critical to selecting the right system. How do data extracts work — and how much will they cost? Can your team extract data from your systems? Can the selected vendor? Is there a third-party vendor that can get at your data and provide it to your new vendor? This effort could easily require hundreds to thousands of hours, depending how scattered the data is in your current system. If you’ve been on a system for a long time, it’s likely the same data fields have been used for different data. This requires corrective action. When it comes to extracting data, precise cost estimates are hard. Data provided in a specific format is easy to price, but the reality is that there are... [Read More]

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Collections & Recovery Buying a Collections System – What Vendors Won’t Tell You #5

Collections system checklist
Feb172016

This is question 5 in your handy guide to shopping for a collections system. I’m offering 10 tips — things most vendors won’t tell you that are absolutely critical to selecting the right system. How can I set up my month-end requirements for clients and vendors? Like the reporting scenario mentioned earlier, no two businesses manage month-end processing in the same manner. Although generally accepted accounting principles are similarly presented within most systems, specific demands for invoicing and reporting are different by client and by market vertical. As with all aspects of the application, the entire invoicing process must be documented for individual payments through invoicing and client accounting. Your clients and vendors will often demand to get the same information they’ve become accustomed to seeing. The details of these processes should be thoroughly reviewed. Next week I’ll share question #6. To make sure you don’t miss it, subscribe to... [Read More]

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Collections & Recovery Buying a Collections System – What Vendors Won’t Tell You #4

Shopping cart image
Feb112016

This is question 4 in your handy guide to shopping for a collections system. I’m offering 10 tips — things most vendors won’t tell you that are absolutely critical to selecting the right system. What features I currently have will need custom development? While many of the features you require may be available in a new system, don’t expect them to all be there. For example, you might be limited to the number of status codes you have on an account in some systems. A complete review is necessary to improve processes and ensure all business needs are met in the new architecture. Lists and descriptions make this process much more productive. Over time, custom development affects all aspects of the day-to-day functions of a mature system. Documenting these modifications to the existing debt collection solution is essential. It’s common practice to contract with vendors to make changes to the... [Read More]

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Collections & Recovery Buying a Collections System – What Vendors Won’t Tell You #3

Collections system checklist
Feb032016

This is question #3 in your handy guide to shopping for a collections system. I’m offering 10 tips — things most vendors won’t tell you that are absolutely critical to selecting the right system. What’s required in the infrastructure build? The details of the underlying system infrastructure are critical to success, which is why the implementation lead should take time to uncover exactly what’s required in the infrastructure build of the collection platform. System performance, backup memory and recovery, hardware and software specifications, maintenance and other aspects should be discussed and analyzed. The hidden costs to watch out for here are the costs of additional environments. You’ll probably require environments for production, test and training. Each of these environments will have associated costs that should be flushed out. The disaster recovery plan you put in place will include additional costs as well. Consider a support arrangement with your software vendor... [Read More]

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Collections & Recovery Buying a Collections System – What Vendors Won’t Tell You #2

Collectins system shopping basket
Jan272016

This is question 2 in your handy guide to shopping for a collections system. I’m offering 10 tips — things most vendors won’t tell you that are absolutely critical to selecting the right system. 2. What reports do I get? How can I create reports myself? No two firms want the same exact reports package, and no two software companies offer the same reports. To meet the exact needs of your existing clients and to ensure the new system meets all other reporting requirements, identify the specific information required for each report, frequency of publication and other significant criteria. The requirements for each report should be carefully reviewed and documented. Vendors will offer reports that look similar to existing reports. Your job is to make sure they use the same data and produce the same results. This effort includes what vendors have written, “canned” reports that come with the system, and... [Read More]

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