Technology is changing the way we live at a breakneck pace for the ARM industry, the transition has been slower, and now, it seems the changes are coming all at once.

So what are the key tech trends that will change the way ARM companies operate?

1-SaaS Migration is Critical.

Companies in the ARM industry are trying to set themselves apart by acting more like a software company and less like a call center. Step one? Move from on-premises software to SaaS. 

A move from on-prem to SaaS will help your business scale significantly, according to Raj Sethuraman, Chief Product and Technology Officer at Finvi. “It also helps them to reduce their total cost of ownership.” Sethuraman says. 

Last but not least, Sethuraman argues, SaaS provides “better availability and predictability,” which is critical for ARM companies to meet their customer’s needs.

2 - Integrating AI & ML.

Part of acting like a software company is integrating AI & ML into your collections strategy. 

“You don't need to be an AI & ML company, but you need to leverage that technology to drive certain insights and take specific action for our customers' propensity to pay,” advises Sethuraman.

AI & ML have been buzzwords in the industry for quite a while, but Sethuraman predicts that their use-cases in the industry will expand rapidly in the coming years.

3 - Finding Vendors who Support Innovation.

Just like ARM companies must meet their customer’s needs, vendors “need to understand their customer demands as they shift drastically on a day-to-day basis.” 

Vendors who stay ahead of the curve will improve the ARM industry substantially, and Sethuraman argues, in order to stay ahead of the curve, vendors must “focus constantly on innovation.”

Listen to the full interview with Sethuraman here, or read the full transcript below.

[Erin Kerr]: Hi everyone, and thank you for joining me for this Executive Q&A. I'm Erin Kerr, the Director of Operations for Inside Arm, and I'm joined today by Raj Sethuraman, Chief Product and Technology Officer at Finvi. Raj, thank you so much for joining me today.

[Raj Sethuraman]: Hi Erin, thanks for having me here.

[EK]: Absolutely. Could you give us a quick intro into who you are before we get into our questions about tech trends in the ARM industry?

[RS]: Absolutely. I'm Raj Sethuraman. I'm the Chief Product and Technology officer here at Finvi, and I'm based in Houston.

[EK]: Excellent. Well thank you so much. I'm really excited to get into our conversation today about some of the tech trends that we're seeing in collections and recovery. Let’s start there. What trends are you hearing from your Finvi clients on their needs when it comes to technology?

[RS]: Absolutely. At the super high level, the business outcomes that our customers are always striving to achieve is how to lower their cost to collect and increase the revenue. Now, in order to achieve this business goal, they look at technology as an enabler with focus on three areas. 

Number one, productivity. Productivity of our customers in terms of agents and agencies is paramount. They are continuously looking for ways to increase the productivity that would help them to accelerate the business outcomes. So that's a very important aspect of it. 

The second one is automation. If you look into the solutions we offer to our customers, it compresses workflow reports and omnichannel communication. They look for automation across these components that would help them to increase the speed and also help achieve their business goals much faster. 

Then last, but not least, is user experience. There is a desperate need to have a best in class user experience in our industry. When I talk about user experience in today's contemporary world, our customers are looking for a user experience that's similar to their personal apps. It could be Facebook or anything. So what does it mean? Ease of use, accessibility, innovative visual design and engaging interactive design for them to help achieve their tasks in a frictionless manner and drive results. I see that those are the key trends that are shaping our industry, and I expect them to further advance in the upcoming years. 

[EK]: Excellent. Raj, I think that was a great summary of the needs that folks in the ARM industry are seeing. So let's talk now about the key technology trends you're tracking for the ARM industry. What are those trends?

[RS]: Absolutely. The pace of technology change continues to advance exponentially across the industries. As [far as] the ARM industry is concerned, I would say the first one is on-premises to SaaS migration. In fact, I was reading an article over the weekend that says 70% of software companies are moving from on-prem to SaaS. Now, they are doing so [because] it helps them to scale significantly. It also helps them to reduce their total cost of ownership. Last but not least: availability and predictability. So that's something we started seeing across our customers at enterprise level, mid-market and small medium business level. [Companies are] moving from on-prem to SaaS. 

The second one is faster release cycles. Now, moving to SaaS is also helping them to get a set of new capabilities faster so we don't have to wait for a massive upgrade cycle. So that's the second one I see. 

The third one is reporting and analytics. In [the ARM] industry, it's critically important for our customers to measure the key performance indicators and see how they can continuously advance. Leveraging some advanced capabilities with technologies like AI, ML and reporting are going to be very important for them to see those changes. I see these are some of the real needle movers in our industry that's going to help our industry customers and companies like us to advance to the next chapter.

[EK]: Okay. Raj, thank you so much for that summary. Let's go back to the first trend that you outlined there. What are the implications for the ARM industry for the move to the cloud and SaaS software?

[RS]: Sure. Right now, if you look into the software product companies, they are slowly moving from a concept of product to platform. And this is primarily driven by open APIs. Open APIs are enabling our existing capabilities to connect to the external systems. We use well-defined APIs to deeply integrate into the other workflow and exchange information seamlessly. And this is so important for companies to drive business value to their customers. So you don't have to have a single massive product as opposed to you focusing on your core distinct value proposition and enabling your product to connect with external systems. That's what we do, and I think this is going to drive a lot of changes in our industry in terms of speech analytics, credit reporting and other capabilities that can be seamlessly attached to your core functions. So that's one thing I see.

The second one is AI and ML. I talked about it because you don't need to be an AI and ML company, but you need to leverage that technology to drive certain insights and take specific action for our customers' propensity to pay. That's a key function, so we are leveraging those functionalities and capabilities to drive certain business outcomes.  I see AI and ML gaining traction across the industry, and I expect the use cases that we currently solve are going to grow further in the upcoming years. 

The last one is availability: system availability and predictability. Our customers are constantly engaged with the end consumer for collection and we need to make sure, and the customers are expecting that availability and predictability as the number one priority. It's the lifeblood. Your omnichannel, your payment platforms all need to be constantly available in order to perform their business tasks.

[EK]: Absolutely. That's definitely a big deal, especially in the ARM industry where you're working on such slim margins. Well, thank you for going through all of those trends for me today. Raj, do you have any closing thoughts?

[RS]: I would say this whole technology innovation and pace as well as customer experiences and changes are going to further change in the upcoming years. And the companies like us, in order for us to stay ahead of the curve, we need to focus constantly on innovation. You need to understand your customer demands as they shift drastically on a day-to-day basis. So deeply understanding customer demands and defining your vision by your customer demands is so important. In my opinion. I appreciate your time again, and thanks for taking your time to talk to me today.

[EK]: Absolutely. It's been a pleasure. Thank you so much for your time today, and thanks to the audience for checking out this Executive Q&A. Again, I'm Erin Kerr, the Director of Operations for insideARM. This has been Executive Q&A with Raj Sethuraman from Finvi. Thanks so much and have a great day.


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