We’ve talked here a few times about the importance of being a) aware of your operational and client needs and b) being objective and aggressive in your assessment of the recent performance of your current technology. Forgive us! Tech is what we do all day, and our success is 100% dependent on how well we serve our clients! So, as you can imagine, we’re thinking about these things almost all day, every day.

Having said that, we occasionally run into prospects or peers who make what might be the biggest mistake when it comes to continuous growth. They assume that because they invested in and implemented new technology (or a tech stack) a few years ago, and did it the right way (operational assessment, comprehensive strategy, adequate due diligence, thorough implementation and staff buy in), they’re set for years or even decades. There’s little else to be done now but let the orders roll in.  “I’m good,” we’re told by their decision makers when inquiring about their evolving needs.

A static approach to a field like real estate (especially now) on a matter like operational technology is about as effective as eating “once and for all.”

A world of constant change

An optimal tech stack is, ideally, “future-proof.” That means it’s designed flexibly enough to allow its users or developers to easily make changes to what it does or the way it works when market or client demands change. Nobody wants to hear that a change in, for example, the title production system a firm just purchased two years ago will render several other pieces of that firm’s tech stack nearly unusable or ineffective. And nobody enjoys costly, time-consuming integrations or updates.

And yet, ours is an industry that’s constantly changing. Remember when impending TRID requirements summoned forth all kinds of ideas about what kinds of tech portals we’d need to facilitate them? That was less than ten years ago. Today, “portals” has become a dirty word in some circles.

Continuous improvement should include technology

There’s one more key element to an effective technology strategy and, truthfully, variations of this rule are probably applicable to business strategy in general. There needs to be a mechanism in place for continuous improvement. No, that doesn’t mean you need to set aside 25% of your operating budget for new tech each year (although, we’d certainly welcome that development!). But it does mean that, in setting up a new platform or tech stack, there should be policies and protocols in place for what happens six months after the tech is launched into daily usage by your business. And for what happens a year later. And two years. And so forth.

The ideal operational strategy acknowledges that our market changes frequently on many fronts. From something as simple as the constant changing of closing fees at the county level in most states to the complexities of federal compliance requirements for our clients, the playing field on which a typical mortgage lender or title agent operates is anything but static.

Now, let’s toss in other factors like the interest rate. We’d probably all agree that the rate tends to affect pretty much every business in the mortgage and real estate world. As we’ve seen over the past two years, there are no givens there, either, not to mention very few ways to plan for where it will be in two years.

Consider that our markets change too. That could mean a change in customs, a change in demand a change in competition. All could and do affect how we do business and how we need our technology to help us.

We often hear from title agents and mortgage lenders alike that we live in a universe so volatile that a six month forecast is a luxury. If you need more proof, go back and read some of the market outlook features across the industry 12 months ago, then compare them to what has actually happened. The fact is, even the experts are sometimes tossing darts when it comes to determining how we’ll be doing business a short time from now.

So why do we think the technology we depend upon to do business operates at a “set it and forget it” level?

The businesses that succeed in 2024, 2025 or 2031, for that matter, have operational procedures in place to continuously review their technologies. Are they getting the most for their money? Have recent upgrades made some of their tech-owned processes redundant or is there overlap? Does their tech stack, as configured, still make sense when compared to their client base and how it does business?

We’d bet that, decision makers from the best firms, when asked whether they’d adjust to meet changing client needs, would say anything but “We’re good as we are.” So why would they say the same thing about their tech stacks?

Recent Posts

Exchanging the silo approach for interrelationship in IT management

Read More

Step-by-step map is key to deciding where to automate

Read More

ROI: When the numbers get complicated

Read More

Categories

Related Articles

Exchanging the silo approach for interrelationship in IT management

Read More
Exchanging the silo approach for interrelationship in IT management

Step-by-step map is key to deciding where to automate

Read More
Step-by-step map is key to deciding where to automate

ROI: When the numbers get complicated

Read More
ROI: When the numbers get complicated