In March, SS&C’s Precision LM team attended the Mortgage Bankers Association's “Technology Solutions Conference & Expo 2019” in Dallas. The conference provided an opportunity to learn how technology continues to revolutionize real estate finance markets and open the market to non-traditional players. Emerging digital technologies continue to provide more efficient processes that create a better borrower experience. An important lesson from several of the conference presentations is that a careful, systematic plan for investing in new technology can be done with a smooth transition and minimal operational risk.
Today’s commercial lenders face increasingly rigorous demands from clients and regulators for timely, detailed data. Many lenders are finding that their loan origination and servicing systems do not have the automation to keep pace and are hindering their ability to grow. Technology upgrades, however, can be an arduous process. Roles and responsibilities must be allocated judiciously to achieve optimal results. Mistakes are costly in terms of both time and money. It all comes down to proper planning.
Take a step back to your people before moving forward
Before jumping into new, more automated software systems, every organization should carefully evaluate the available technology landscape to see what would be the best fit for its business processes and infrastructure ecosystem. A key message during one of the sessions was that members of the evaluation team need to spend time with the various internal groups for a bird’s eye view of the big picture. They need to document the benefits to the firm as a whole, as well as to the sub-groups.
It’s all about the data
One of the most powerful tools for lead generation is the aggregation of data. This is why lenders upgrade mission-critical systems as a forward-looking data strategy. However, it is important to understand what data you are measuring, how you are trying to measure it and if the ROI is actually worth the time and expense. Data mining is usually not highly ranked on the list of fun things to do. As part of the technology evaluation process, make sure to assess the ultimate value that additional data will bring.
Defined roles are key
From a process standpoint, upgrading software technology requires an internal sales hat to lead the initiative, and clearly identified roles and influencers in order to consummate the deal. Who is the coach? Who is pushing back? What is the budget and who approves the budget? Who is the project champion? Always involve the firm’s leadership and keep the communication constant between all parties. Everyone needs to know exactly how they will be impacted by the new technology.
Cloud-hosted solutions can ease the transition
One of the most cost- and time-efficient ways to upgrade and maintain technology is migrating from the traditional, on-premise software installations to modern cloud-hosted solutions. Many firms are hesitant to move enterprise applications from local servers to cloud environments due to data security concerns. Today’s leading cloud-hosted solution providers, like SS&C Technologies, offer comprehensive data security technologies that are continually reviewed by third-party auditors. SS&C’s private cloud application hosting environment is backed by industry-leading expertise and infrastructure. Leaving technology management to the people who actually developed the solutions makes it faster and easier to troubleshoot problems and perform upgrades – a major value for our clients. In real estate finance, automation through new technology does not replace manpower. When firms become more efficient their people become more valuable.