Changing market needs require hybrid systems to manage

Gémar Hompes, Sofico Managing Director

The increasing complexity of the European leasing, finance and fleet and mobility markets requires sophisticated, future-ready hybrid computer systems. So says Sofico, software provider to the global automotive finance, leasing, fleet and mobility management markets which are currently undergoing significant changes.

Sofico, which manages contracts through its Miles solution in 22 different countries worldwide, says the landscape is changing as the shift from ownership of the new vehicle asset to its usage continues in both B2B and B2C, along with new mobility- as-a-service (MAAS) requirements.

In European markets, Sofico says fleet and retail markets are converging, with a growth in private leasing and value-added services. As the B2B and B2C markets converge, new B2B2E (business to business to employee) products such as mobility budgets are emerging.

As vehicle ownership shifts towards vehicle ‘usership’, with drivers using vehicles for shorter periods, OEMs, fleet and leasing operators need to be able to manage usage intervals from minutes to years. This is leading to the development of new mobility and connected car services like peer-to-peer car and ride sharing, ultra-short-term rental and digital concierge services, says Sofico.

Sofico sees a number of factors contributing to the changes in the market; a growth in the ‘sharing economy’, increasing environmental consciousness, the roll-out of electric vehicles, the advances in autonomous driving and a younger generation, from millennials onwards, preferring to access, rather than own, a car.

Consequently, the software necessary to manage this increasing complexity must have a hybrid and multi-specialist capability to provide customers with the full range of solutions they require.

A modern, hybrid software system has to deliver front-to-back office solutions along the whole value chain, rather than simply focusing on back-office automation to lower operating costs.

In order to compete in this radically changing automotive marketplace, there needs to be increased attention to and investment in ‘smart’ systems to capitalize on the opportunities available, says Sofico.

“Globally, the frontiers of traditional automotive industry practices are being disrupted and transformed by our quick-change digital lifestyle and new technology. OEM’s, fleet operators and leasing companies are experiencing increasing pressure to innovate and reinvent their relevance, in an increasingly complex marketplace,” said Gémar Hompes, Sofico Managing Director.

“A modern hybrid system is capable of bridging contracted vehicle usage with driver centric, value-added mobility and connected car services to meet the requirements of both financial services providers and OEMs.

“They will also need to be capable of covering the full spectrum of contracted vehicle usage, including financing, leasing, renting and sharing, as well as supporting larger volumes of data, handling more vehicles, more customers and more, but often smaller, transactions, as well as social and telematics data,” he added.

It is to meet the needs of this rapidly changing automotive landscape that Sofico has extended the Miles architecture with its innovative new Miles.next framework.

“Miles.next is a cloud-native architectural framework that complements and enhances our core Miles system,” said Sofico’s Chief Technical Officer, Piet Maes.

“Miles.next’s micro services architecture allows customers to enhance and deploy applications in a quick and easy way. With different .next based applications storing their data independently from each other, .next will enable customers to cover the full spectrum of contracted vehicle usage from minutes to years across B2B and B2C financing, leasing, renting and sharing offerings.

“The cloud based architecture allows for elastic scalability to handle different volumes of data, from low to exponentially high. As an open, cloud-native platform, it’s easy to integrate .next with any third party app, and/or integrate with partner system data, allowing the creation of one seamlessly integrated value chain that’s available 24/7,” he added.

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