Whitecap built Easylease’s custom application to run its financing business nearly 20 years ago. After years of adding features and functionality, it was time to modernize the application for the future.

Easylease Corp.

Project

Custom Software Development, Application Modernization
 

Industry

Financial Services

Technology

Easylease Core Application: NET5, node.JS, Angular, SQL Server 2019, MongoDB, Microservices Architecture

Easylease Mobile Calculator App: Xamarin, iOS, Android

Easylease Web Site: Webflow, Typeform

Hosting: Whitecap Cloud powered by Long View Systems

About Easylease

Easylease Corp. is a Canadian leasing and financing brokerage. Since 1997, Easylease has built relationships with more than 40 funding partners to deliver a wide range of leasing and financing services to customers across a wide range of industry sectors.

Impacts of modernizing the application:

Scalable with business growth

Extensible for feature additions

Improved business efficiency

Streamlined, more robust workflows

The Challenge

At the core of Easylease Corp.’s business is proprietary software that Whitecap helped the company build more than 20 years ago. While Whitecap and Easylease regularly updated features, business intelligence reporting and functionality, there comes a time when the underlying technology becomes too outdated to continue to support, and additions or upgrades start to cause issues in other parts of the system.

“It was becoming very fragmented,” recalls David Carmichael, President and CEO of Easylease. “When we updated one thing, we’d have to fix 15 others.”

In addition to challenges extending functionality, some of the software at the core of the system was reaching its end of life and end of support.

Carmichael looked at the functionality and workflows available from off the shelf solutions, but none mirrored the way he wanted to run his business.

The Solution

Without a viable off-the-shelf option, Carmichael once again looked to custom software development and engaged Whitecap to take on the modernization his platform needed.

Recognizing the scale of updates and feature enhancements required, Whitecap did more than simply modernize the application. It uplifted the entire ecosystem to provide a solid platform for the future. The scale was extensive since there are many different pieces that make up the Easylease software ecosystem, and many elements require secure connections and communication both internally and with funding partners.

Custom software development was the right way to go for Easylease’s application modernization because it allowed them to mirror their established workflows which are unique to their business. Carmichael explains that articulating his workflows and creating the map of the software was time consuming and complex. And, while Easylease’s custom software might seem complex for a business of his size, Carmichael wanted a platform for the future – business growth and software functionality.

“Our new system is substantially more sophisticated and works substantially better,” he says, noting while there was a lot of functionality brought forward from the old solution into the modernized platform, this modernization project also allowed him to create more robust workflows, and add new reporting, business logic and automation.

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Modernize the Foundation

The first phase of this modernization project was the Easylease Express Calculator, a web-based form used by partner vendors to quote lease payments and apply for credit. Whitecap knew the core system was reaching end of life and when it updated this calculator, it was architected to align with the future direction—microservices.

When it came time to update the core business system, Whitecap developed data services in .NET5 with database requirements being handled by SQL Server 2019 and MongoDB. Whitecap decided to separate the business logic and backend codebase to speed performance and reduce any latency during peak demands from processing end user requests and financing quotes.

Whitecap also developed a multi-layer authentication component, which is coupled with a communication layer between the two databases that house the codebase and business logic to enhance security. Whitecap developed the front-end user interface in Angular.

Easylease Express calculator
What’s the point of buying something off the shelf that needs to be modified 70%. We felt it was best for our business to design something from the ground up like we’ve done before. With our workflows and features we want; we need something we can customize for our business.

Microservices are an architectural style that structures an application as a collection of services that are highly maintainable and testable, loosely coupled, and independently deployable. They enable the rapid, frequent and reliable delivery of large, complex applications.

Microservices Built for Scalable Growth

If there was one thing Whitecap learned during its long-standing relationship, it was that Easylease prefers an agile development model. It allows them to continue to refine, enhance and expand functionality for their system. The company views development of its platform as iterative.

A microservice architecture aligns well with Easylease’s desire for scalable, extensible solution that can be expanded and enhanced on an ongoing basis.

This architecture also allows Easylease and Whitecap to update or make changes to the system without needing to modify a monolithic application. One microservice can be modified, the endpoint API updated to make system or reporting changes without impacting the entire system.

Business Intelligence Enhanced

Dashboards, reporting, and tracking are just some of the key features Easylease enhanced through this application modernization process. Whether a broker or administrator, the dashboard provides high level snapshots of business, as well as drill down details about the status of their workflow, lease progress, budget and performance, and sales funnel details.

“It is very instant. I can see how much is in our sales funnel, and rich reporting data which is excellent,” says Carmichael. “We can see our year-to-date numbers for each broker, total business, which funders we’re more active with and which asset classes are in demand, and so much more. I could go on and on.”

Enhancing B2B

With a business that is growing and new lending requirements, Easylease needed new ways of working and collaborating both internally and with their partners.

In the legacy system, B2B features were not as streamlined as it has become with the modernized platform. CRM features have been enhanced to track leads throughout the funding process, and application submission processes have been automated saving time, increasing accuracy and reducing the amount of manual data input.

Easylease Express vendor partner sign-up

“We have links on hundreds of vendor websites and portal links, and they are all Easylease branded. When you visit a vendor’s website to buy a particular product, the finance button connects directly to Easylease where the application process starts. If we didn’t have that we would not be getting the number of leads we are getting today,” says Carmichael.

New Mobile Experience

The Easylease Mobile Calculator is a hybrid mobile app that lets vendors quickly and easily quote lease payments and apply for credit on their phone while speaking with new or existing clients. The app is customized for each partner with their branding and rates and is available in both iOS and Android.

This has made the process of quoting and applying for leases much more user-friendly than having to access the tool via browser as was previously the only option with the Easylease Express Calculator.

Software is IP

Since its business processes are very stringent and defined, the decision to build software from scratch made sense in the beginning and continues to be of value to Easylease today. Its software is a core part of its business and an asset to the organization.

“We have always led the way technology-wise, and I think that’s what gives us our edge. That’s why I often say we are a technology company as much as we are a sales company,” says Carmichael.

Website Update Completes Modernization

With a legacy WordPress site, the client facing website also needed work to improve its user interface, navigation, and page structure. Improved SEO and a platform to attract new brokers and business generation are the primary company goals for the redesign.

Whitecap moved Easylease to Webflow, a cloud-based content management system that facilitates content creation and collaboration. As a Software-as-a-Service platform, moving to Webflow will make it easier for Easylease to add new content and build strong SEO results. It also eliminates the need for frequent updates as is the case with WordPress and its ecosystem of plugins.

“We are a technology company as much as we are a sales and finances company.” David Carmichael, President and CEO, Easylease Corp. “We are very much driven by technology.”

Easylease Corp. website

Next Steps

For Carmichael, there will be ongoing updates and feature enhancements to automation, reporting and business processes. He’s also looking to expand the B2B connectivity with lender partners, and to integrate and automate the creation of lease documents.

“I was worried about the stability of the old system. I knew I had to do something,” says Carmichael. “Now that modernization is well underway, I can again focus on other aspects of my business, like recruiting and building my business. It's a big undertaking but I’m glad we're doing it as it will serve us well as we grow in the future.”

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