Debt collection may not be the most popular business venture, but Colin Nugteren of DirectPay is trying to make it as painless as possible. As Manager of Operations, Nugteren recognized an opportunity to use data on payment behavior to streamline the collection process. To discover and understand what all that data is telling him, he uses SAS® Visual Analytics.
He talks about data visualization at DirectPay in this Q&A:
What challenges did you face?
Colin Nugteren: We had a substantial amount of data about payment behavior that we couldn’t use effectively. Our old data warehouse system was only accessible to the IT department, and any information requests had to go through them. This was a huge hassle, and we wanted to find a better way to share it throughout the company, especially to our management and team leaders. We wanted everyone to be on the same page and able to use the most up-to-date information in their decision making. It’s critical that we have a system that we can easily access and review. We want to always improve and update our data so we can have better information, build better models and make better business decisions. Improving those areas are essential for us, because that’s how we can increase our revenue and profit.
How did you go about replacing the old system?
We looked at a lot of different options, but decided on SAS® Visual Analytics after we saw a demonstration at a SAS conference. We wanted a system that was fast, accessible and able to handle all our data. We were impressed when it met all those requirements, so we purchased it and started implementing it companywide.
What do you hope to achieve with SAS® Visual Analytics?
We used to be unable to fully process data and get a good picture of it as a whole, so just doing that should lead to some interesting discoveries. This is especially important when we start talking about our hardest-to-collect cases. Any new insights there could potentially make a huge impact, because those cases are among the most profitable. In the end, we hope that this will lead to better communication throughout the community. Debt collections needs to know which debtors have been contacted, and when, so they can follow-up appropriately. VA allows us to make this basic, day-to-day information more easily accessible. So it’s important for developing best practices and running our business day-to-day.
How does mobile reporting factor into these goals?
Mobile reporting is very important to us because it allows us to have 24/7 access to the information. This is especially helpful for our sales and customer relations staff, because they have significant interactions with our clients. It allows them to just pull out an iPad® and show the clients all the data, face-to-face, and answer any questions they might have. That exchange of knowledge on a personal basis is crucial. Before, if they wanted a specific figure or asked for a clarification, we’d have to go through IT to access that information. So it’s a significant improvement for us, especially for maintaining and building relationships with our clients.
Why has this been a priority for you?
When we have a full view of each customer, then we can make individualized decisions for the debt collection process. This helps us optimize our efforts and manage our risks. It’s very simple. We view this as a top priority because if we can manage our risks better than our competitors, we can be more profitable and thrive.
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