GreatAmerica Financial Services Corporation: More Than an Office Technology Financing Company
by ENX Magazine on Monday, July 07, 2014
For resellers looking for a national commercial equipment finance company with an unparalleled reputation for helping manufacturers, vendors, and dealers achieve greater success and maintain customers for life, they need to look no further than GreatAmerica Financial Services Corporation.
GreatAmerica established its headquarters in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in 1992 as GreatAmerica Leasing Corporation. Since then it has grown into a $1.5 billion national commercial equipment finance company. In 2012, GreatAmerica became GreatAmerica Financial Services Corporation to reflect its expanded service offerings beyond financing. The company now has a staff of more than 400 with offices in Iowa, Georgia, Minnesota, and Missouri. Financing and consulting services are offered in all 50 states and some U.S. Territories.
GreatAmerica is organized into eight business units: Office Equipment, Communications, Data, Distribution Programs, HealthCare, Direct Programs, Specialty Markets, and Portfolio Services. Each unit immerses itself into the market it serves and taps into the complex dynamics that go into making a business successful. Its expertise is gained through internal training, dealer councils, industry events, key relationships with subject matter experts, and intense research in the industry each unit serves.
A Vision for Success
The GreatAmerica mission is to help its customers achieve greater success. The industry recognition it has received along with long-time, satisfied customers, underscore how well it has accomplished its mission.
The success of GreatAmerica can be traced back to the vision of founder Tony Golobic who was intent on creating a company that valued service to its customers and embraced the entrepreneurial spirit. He also had in mind an innovative company that aspired to reach the highest standards of excellence in everything it did as a means of distancing itself from competitors.
This vision required a structure that could maximize human potential, maintain superior product quality, and recognize outstanding performance. Golobic’s fundamental belief in people provided the philosophical backdrop for an evolution that was to come. The leadership approach is focused on a team-based structure. The GreatAmerica organization chart has the customer at its center, surrounded by teams who are supported by senior leadership. The idea was to establish teams of cross-trained individuals with intimate knowledge of their customers and who were responsive to their many and diverse needs.
The scalability of the team structure preserved the intimate, small-company feel as GreatAmerica expanded. After more than two decades, teams of empowered individuals rising to their potential and making informed decisions still benefit the company and its customers today.
That company culture has helped GreatAmerica become an employer of choice in Eastern Iowa. In 2007, the company was named “The Best Place to Work” by The Edge of Excellence. In 2011, a Des Moines Registerpoll ranked GreatAmerica 4th in the state among midsize companies as one of the best places to work.
The office technology industry has recognized GreatAmerica’s excellence as well, with the Business Technology Association’s (BTA’s) 2014 Channel’s Choice award in the Third-Party Leasing category. The BTA's annual Channel's Choice awards program, which began in 1989, provides dealers with a means of recognizing and honoring those vendors that are the most supportive of the dealer channel.
During the recent Photizo Transform Global 2014 Conference, the Managed Print Services Association (MPSA) presented the company with a corporate recognition award, while last October GreatAmerica scored a record 4.6 out of 5.0 in overall satisfaction in the Leasing Companies section of The Cannata Report’s 2013 Annual Dealer Survey. In fact, GreatAmerica has received the highest dealer rating in three out of the last four Cannata surveys.
“Those are the things that make us a little bit different and why our dealers choose to do business with us,” notes Josie Heskje, Director of Strategic Marketing, Office Equipment Group. “It’s based on our company culture, and some of the awards we’ve received this past year reflect that— the ‘GreatAmerica Experience’ our customers have with us every day.”
The Perfect Partner
GreatAmerica’s customers are solution providers in selected markets. The company diligently strives to understand the specific needs and trends of its markets and customers. Empowered GreatAmerica team members use this insight to develop solutions that consistently exceed customers’ expectations for service, flexibility, and innovation.
No wonder GreatAmerica’s customers appreciate the involvement the company has in the industry, which leads to a greater knowledge of the industry itself and a better understanding of a customer’s challenges and opportunities. GreatAmerica has proven itself adept at taking that information and evaluating and developing tools and resources for its dealers.
“That’s what makes us unique and shows our commitment to ultimately helping them build greater success,” states Jennie Fisher, SVP and GM, Office Equipment Group.
The Managed IT Opportunity
Although GreatAmerica’s foundation was built on financing office technology, its mix of services and programs has expanded to help its customers take advantage of new opportunities such as Managed Print Services and Managed IT. The latter is an exciting new initiative. Today, GreatAmerica offers a suite of Managed IT offerings—from its own Network Operations Center (NOC) to Managed IT peer groups and financing programs.
“We’re excited about the opportunity in Managed IT,” exclaims Fisher. “The number of MFP dealers moving down that path is growing. Our finance offering for Managed IT is well-thought out, and we’ve strived to match the product with the way our customers sell. We wanted implementation of financing in the Managed IT space to be seamless and to help our customers continue to build efficiencies to be more profitable long term. ”
Examples of GreatAmerica’s commitment to the Managed IT space encompass its subsidiary, Collabrance LLC, a Master MSP, that provides the comprehensive tools, training, and industry experts to help partners effectively and profitably enter or scale their Managed IT business; Managed IT Sales Training, which is provided in partnership with Service Leadership, a consultant organization for independent IT solutions/services companies and technology OEMs; and Managed IT peer groups facilitated and managed by Service Leadership. GreatAmerica participates in these training sessions and peer group meetings, and is the driving force in recruiting members and participants.
“We’re innovative and ahead of the curve in providing dealers with any resource they might need to be successful in Managed IT either directly through Collabrance, through training or financing, or with the peer groups,” emphasizes Heskje.
The Bottom Line
Over the years GreatAmerica Financial Services Corporation has evolved into more than an equipment financing company. That’s still an option and one of the primary reasons office technology dealers count on GreatAmerica. Now in an industry that’s undergoing a major transformation, what new and long-time customers have found is that they can count on GreatAmerica for much more than the traditional financing options. GreatAmerica has a wide variety of programs and resources that dealers may apply to their changing business models.
Selected Services Menu
With print volume on the decline, competition up, and business models changing, it’s an excellent time to consider all that GreatAmerica Financial Services Corporation has to offer. Beyond Managed IT, key services and programs include:
Flexible Financing Programs—By taking the time to understand your selling strategy, GreatAmerica can design financing programs to maximize effectiveness.
Hiring & Training—GreatAmerica PathShare® HR services provide a tailored solution based on its customer’s specific human resources needs. As an extension of the customer’s leadership team, the PathShare experienced personnel will help streamline recruiting, hiring, and training processes. Visitwww.greatamerica.com/pathshare.
Managed Print Services—GreatAmerica will help map a strategy to finance, monitor, invoice, and manage a dealer’s MPS program.
Standard Payment Programs—From FMV to $1 Purchase Option and Skip Payments to Rental Agreements, GreatAmerica’s goal is to meet its customers’ needs and provide peace of mind.
Software Financing—GreatAmerica understands the nuances of software financing. Its “Software Only” agreement is designed to help a dealer sell document management and other software, and present any software mix on a single invoice to the dealer’s customer.
Bundling—GreatAmerica works with dealers to determine the best sales strategy from a simple bundled contract to a Cost-Per-Image approach. Through flexible systems, its billing is able to match the dealer’s go-to-market and customer needs.
Billing—Providing a custom solution to a dealer’s customers can end up causing a tremendous administrative burden, particularly with invoicing. GreatAmerica is a billing expert, with capabilities that save time and reduce errors, including variable billing and invoicing, remittance of dealer money, and automated meter collection.
Info-Zone—Keeping customers by anticipating needs and planning upgrades well before contracts expire is important. Info-Zone is available 24/7, and via mobile devices, and provides the dealer with secure, proprietary access to all of their portfolio data.
HaaR©—No matter where a dealer is in the evolution of their Managed IT business, the GreatAmerica hardware rental program, HaaR, is the key to enhancing a dealer’s Managed IT go-to-market strategy. GreatAmerica can help identify which document offering best suits the dealer’s business needs and bundle it in a single invoice for the customer.
FleetBilling—FleetBilling is a private label program that outsources the dealer’s invoicing and collection process of financed and non-financed assets. GreatAmerica accommodates specific customer requests and reduces the dealer’s administrative burden.
GreatAmerica Financial Services Corporation
625 1st St SE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52401
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