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How to Avoid Multi-Office Challenges

Congratulations! You just opened your second collection facility. Now you just need collection software. You can just recreate the same setup you have at the first location, right? Find out what today’s software vendors think you need to know before diving into a software solution that should span multiple offices.

Thomas Mohr CEO of Beam Software

mohr thomasCollection agents are very innovative and will often test the constraints of any collection software! The software should be configured to preclude agents in one office location from viewing or accessing accounts in another location. Floor managers and team leaders clearly do not want a collector accessing or cherry picking another office location’s accounts and working them.

Laurent Tabouelle Executive VP of Codix

tabouelle laurentThe most common pitfall is to rely too much on influential “old school” personnel during a software renewal project. These personnel are valuable for their strong business expertise but they are invariably supporting and promoting the “this is the way we’ve always done things here, can’t be done differently” approach. Change is usually scary, but necessary. A software renewal project requires a strong forward-thinking business sponsor.

Tony LaMagna Partner at The Computer Manager

lamagna tonyHaving multiple offices and/or databases can lead to oversteps in one office onto another office leading to confusion and mishandling of accounts. The key to avoiding this pitfall is to have a clearly defined business plan and approach for each office. Regardless of how the business is structured, as long as each office understands the plan and follows procedures in place an agency can successfully operate with multiple offices.

Fritz Schulze President and CEO of Comtech Systems

shulzeTaking extra steps to maintain data hygiene will avoid the need for laborious corrections. In particular, we advise the use of a system wide unique identifier for each record.

Jeff Dantzler President of Comtronic Systems

dantzler jeffOne pitfall to avoid is thinking that your IT team can build out a better “homemade” cloud-based deployment than a dedicated cloud vendor. That may have been possible five years ago, however, today you must take full advantage of collection vendors that partner with cloud titans such as Microsoft Azure or AWS for greatest efficiencies, economies of scale, unparalleled security and protection.

Carl Briganti President and CEO of CSS IMPACT

briganti carlA common pitfall in configuring a software solution across multiple offices is to overlook the opportunity to customize each office as its own independent environment in the ecosystem with its own customized settings, permissions and workflows in order to maximize the productivity potential of the personnel at each location. Although this may require an investment of time at inception, the uplift is significant on the long run. Customizing each site around its very specific needs is more often than not neglected in favor of using a single-template solution approach that applies to all locations missing out on the opportunity to enhance efficiencies with the more tailored approach.

Lex Patterson President of DAKCS Software Systems

patterson lex2Secure, responsive access from any location is important to easily manage connection and roles for security and reliability. A cloud-based model works great, but on-premise solutions should have the capability as well. Data segmentation allows you flexibility in managing trust accounts and collector workloads. Having automated tools to process accounts and report on activity from each location is vital. The ability to quickly adjust user count to accommodate operational changes prevents hold ups in your business organization’s timeline.

Matthew Hill President / CEO of InterProse

hill matthewNone. As long as each location has a resilient network and suitably fast Internet connection the rest of the deliverable is easy.

James Dunlap CEO of Lariat Software

dunlap james2Utilizing technology that wasn’t designed for cloud deployments. It is possible to deploy older technology to the cloud and make it accessible from multiple offices; however, this presents challenges in security, efficiency, and flexibility. It’s true that redeploying legacy technology to the cloud can be tempting but in the long run it is far better to invest in the right tool for the job.

Ranjan Dharmaraja CEO of Quantrax

dharmaraja ranjanThe pitfalls are likely to be a result of the software design. You are often restrained by your software and its flexibility. As an example, different companies can be on the same database or on different databases. If you want to move accounts from early-out to bad debt, having the data on a single “file” is a great help. Inquiring into an account in multiple databases, or consolidating multiple accounts into a single report can be challenging, depending on the database design. If the same consumer exists in different companies, the software may not be designed to search across all companies.

Dan Hornung President of Roydan

hornung danielAgencies that work across the country need to be aware of how to handle time zones effectively. Making sure phone calls and other activities are timed appropriately to the consumer’s location is imperative given the compliance implications that this could create if handled improperly.

Chris J. Roberts President and COO of Sentinel Development Solutions

roberts chrisThe largest consideration by far is to make sure that you choose a collections platform that can flexibly support all of your requirements.

Chris Campbell CEO of Simplicity Collection Software

campbell chrisAgain, the question varies based on your collection software solution. For a web-based software solution, avoid the security trap. Make sure you know how your data is being stored, is it encrypted as it is sent to your software provider’s server, and is it encrypted “at rest” while it sits in your provider’s database? Make sure that multiple locations can be secured and isolated easily if needs to be and that user access can be restricted not only to features and functionality but also to allowable timeframes and working hours. Finally, make sure your software provider has adequate network, Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) and firewall monitoring in place to ensure your data is secure. For traditional software solutions, it comes down to security as well. Make sure you have a skilled and experienced IT staff to properly configure firewalls and infrastructure hardware in order to ensure that data is being transmitted securely. Additionally, network monitoring, IDS and firewalls should be put in place and frequently monitored in order to verify that networks are secure and not compromised. An untrained IT staff is sure to miss critical security components leaving your environment compromised and costing you additional dollars in the end.