Global automotive finance, leasing, fleet and mobility management software provider, Sofico, is celebrating its 30th birthday – and looking ahead, says the next 30 years are likely to be the fastest-changing the automotive finance and leasing industry has ever seen.
Sofico, which was founded in Belgium in 1988, currently has 50 customers in 22 different countries and manages 1.5 million vehicle contracts worldwide. As the world’s leading provider of enterprise software for contracted and managed vehicle usage, its solutions manage vehicles and contracts across their full life-cycle, from origination to end of life, spanning everything from back to front office.
As well as its office in Ghent, the company operates from offices in Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands and the UK, with a combined headcount of 250 people, and has witnessed turnover growth of 150% in the last decade, from 12m Euros in 2010 to 30m Euros just seven years later.
The company celebrated its 30th birthday this week with 200 guests, including customers, partners and staff, following the annual Miles Customer Forum in which the company shared its vision of the future which it believes will be focused on sustainable shared mobility and connected vehicle services.
Chief Technology Officer Piet Maes told delegates there was a shift taking place, away from vehicle ownership towards user-ship, which meant that it was no longer about the vehicle but more about the driver and the driver experience.
“Car manufacturers are reinventing themselves as mobility service providers by bundling subscription models with pick-up, delivery and concierge services and peer-to-peer sharing, all aiming at an augmented driver experience.
“At the same time, fleet and leasing operators are looking to manage the usage of the vehicles on their fleet with greater and different granularity: from years to minutes.
“In addition to long term products, they are offering ultra short term rental, car and ride sharing and pooling to their fleet customers. There can be no doubt about the significance of both car and ride sharing for getting more people in less cars, for our customers or anyone involved in providing access to vehicles,” he said.
Maes said that Sofico believed that the automotive finance and leasing industry was at the crossroads of a rapid evolution towards connected, autonomous, shared and electrified vehicles.
“Adding in multi-modal mobility trends and FinTech developments to this mix, we believe there is an important challenge and opportunity for our customers to play a broader role as true mobility aggregators beyond simply asset finance or leasing,” he said.
Maes said that digital self-serve channels with end-to-end online customer journeys would allow leasing and finance companies to offer a wide range of user-centric, value-added mobility and connected car services to its customers.
He went on: “Recognizing these industry trends, we have expanded our Miles product offering with a cloud-native micro-services architecture and decision-support framework, which we call Miles.next. This way, we have turned our existing Miles Core ERP application into a hybrid solution platform which lets our customers embrace the future and explore new opportunities.
“Data from Miles can be combined with that from third parties to provide better and value-added insight into the business through near real-time dashboards or even automated feedback loops into back office processes.”
Earlier this year, Sofico began its first customer projects based on the new generation Miles.next to implement web and mobile apps in different areas.
“Our focus going forward is on leveraging the Miles.next platform to help our customers manage subscription models and car sharing, aggregate multi-modal mobility services and implement data driven decision-making through descriptive and predictive analytics,” concluded Maes.