In 2003, a number of Scandinavian banks had broken into the Lithuanian market and were seeking well-built software to manage their leasing business. In response, a team of co-founders established the software provider Softera Baltic.
With more than 15 years of experience in the IT industry and enterprise resource planning (ERP), the founders recognised the need for end-to-end leasing software that managed the complex range of assets that banks finance for their clients – ranging from vehicles and equipment to property and other assets.
The result was Soft4Leasing and since its launch, the company has expanded to become a global software provider, delivering is software through partners throughout Europe, North America, Asia, Australasia, the Middle East and Africa.
Ugne Kontare (pictured), business development manager at Softera Baltic, told Asset Finance International: “These are exciting times for Soft4Leasing. Amazing technologies such as virtual reality, artificial intelligence, big data and others are entering into our lives and businesses, enabling us to create exciting opportunities for our customers to run their business more efficiently.”
But what makes the company’s end-to-end software product different from the many competitors that populate the market?
She explained: “I would say that there are two core aspects of Soft4Leasing that differentiate it from competitors; the platform Soft4Leasing is built on, and the fast system launch.”
The platform is built on Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, an entire ERP system that includes financial management and allows customers to combine lease management, lease accounting, and financial accounting in one system.
It also enables the company’s customers to enjoy a variety of innovative features such as multicurrency, multi-language and accessibility on various devices.
In addition, APIs can link to any external systems that leasing companies need to use.
Kontare added that fast launch capability reflects the speed of modern business, adding: “Leasing companies want the system they paid for to be live right after they sign the agreement.
“Our product team worked very hard to mould Soft4Leasing into a product that can be implemented in two-to-three months.
“Flexibility is another key feature of our service offering. For example, we launched our product for one retail leasing company’s front office operations within one month. Then, at a later date, we added all of the back-office operations as the customer wanted to be live at the peak of their business.”
Meeting the needs of the automotive and equipment finance market
Soft4Leasing’s software is in place with a variety of companies that operate in both automotive finance and equipment finance, including dealers and brokers.
Kontare said: “In 2015, we re-designed Soft4Leasing, dividing the solution into separate functional modules, as many SME companies do not necessarily need the more complex functionality such as securitization or wholesale in their business.
“A customer can start with the functionality that they really needed – the Starter Pack – and then add any other functional modules later, when needed.
“Soft4Leasing can be deployed both on customer’s premises and in the cloud, with a purchased license or under monthly subscription. This flexibility is very important for our customers.”
Establishing a global presence
Soft4Leasing started partnering with Microsoft Dynamics Partner Network in 2008, which aided the company in the implementation of business management software solutions that expanded from Lithuania to becoming a global business.
Kontare said: “There is a broad Microsoft partner ecosystem of well over 3,500 partners globally. Theoretically any of them can become a partner of SOFT4, reselling, implementing and supporting Soft4Leasing, as they know the platform and local specifics very well.
“They need to learn leasing business specifics and that’s where our team comes in with our extended knowledge and experience.”
Kontare adds that in the era of globalization, customers have become less sensitive about where a provider is located.
“They look to see if we can offer the software that would meet their needs and solve business issues,” she added. “Therefore, we at SOFT4 complete projects in Australia, for example. Of course, shaking hands is still important, therefore we participate in leasing conferences a lot – to meet both our existing and potential customers.”
Kontare expects the business to continue its rapid expansion, both in established and new markets.
She said: “In two years’ time, we will be ready to provide small leasing companies with the tools only large companies could afford, giving them clear direction and the best leasing business process management insights to scale their business fast.
“On the other hand, we will continue to aid medium and large sized leasing companies in using their competitive advantage to build unique propositions for their customers.
“We will continue exploring the potential benefits of artificial intelligence to enable our customers to have valuable market insights using big data and to use those insights in servicing their customers better. Our main target at all times is to give our customers the right tools to make the right decisions at any time, in any business situation and enable leasing companies to offer their customers what they demand, sooner rather than later.”
Case Study - SELFCO selects Soft4Leasing to revamp its leasing systems
Soft4Leasing supplies Australian finance provider Specialist Equipment Leasing Finance Company (SELFCO).
Prior to Soft4Leasing’s involvement, the company was operating with two separate platforms for the front and back office leasing operations.
Lacking the coordination of a combined platform, the business suffered inefficiencies as there was an increased risk of human error, and much of the work had to be done manually, which took employees away from other critical operations.
Soft4Leasing offered an all-in-one system that aided SELFCO’s internal efficiencies and services to brokers and improved the productivity of its own staff and dealers.
The unified software system encompassed leasing front-end, back-end, general ledger, financial accounting, and customer relationship management.