Tech Watch: Better together

Within the transition to working from home and the swift adoption of new working practices by businesses and individuals, we have seen an even greater reliance on technology.
This increased emphasis on a range of tech platforms, systems and solutions is helping to keep the wheels of all business sectors turning, and to enable people to maintain contact with their loved ones.
There is a huge amount of tech innovation throughout the intermediary market. The crisis is seeing lenders, networks, clubs, packagers and service providers all doing their best to support borrowers, strategic partners and brokers in getting to grips with a host of criteria changes, product updates and shifting client requirements.
There has also been a plethora of webinars, online events, virtual roadshows, launches of Covid-19 information hubs and live feeds, plus regular updates across social media.
Receptive audience
This new world could enable advisers to permanently change how they work. Although it is debatable whether ‘virtual’ face-to-face advice will supersede proper meetings, the former process is now much simpler and more acceptable to a wider range of people than it was a matter of weeks ago.
Imagine the potential. The use of apps and video communications could save time and money spent on travel, while also reducing the possibility of missed appointments. In addition, advice could be offered to more people at the same time in separate locations.
Although the digital revolution has reached new heights during the pandemic, however, there remains one constant: the need for human interaction. And the human element within technology should not be ignored or forgotten, especially in the mortgage market.
This may seem an odd comment from a tech provider, but One Mortgage System emerged from a family-run brokerage and a master broker business that had been trading for more than 25 years. We realised we needed to embrace technology to improve our efficiency and maximise potential revenue streams.
Initially we looked for a system or solution to help us achieve this, but we found nothing suitable. So we started to develop our own system by working along-side our mortgage advisers, noting how administrative and processing requirements could be simplified and made more efficient within the business.
This has not been an easy journey and it began with a steep learning curve. A pure tech provider – even one with no knowledge of the intermediary market – might have been able to put the system framework in place far more quickly. However, without experience it would have found it tough to integrate functionality based on how mortgage advisers operated – especially within specialist markets – and the kinds of information, support and tools they needed on a daily basis; not to mention being able to capitalise on existing lender relationships.
These challenging times have further underlined that the best tech solutions should be cutting edge, meet the ongoing demands of their users, and reflect the experience and expertise of the people behind them.
The old argument that pitted humans against technology should be firmly consigned to the past. Independently, both sides can function well, but working in tandem they can significantly improve efficiency, productivity and engagement levels.
Let us not forget that the digital revolution was created by humans, but humans need digital enablement to deliver successful, personalised experiences.
Many great pieces of software are constantly being created by experts in their field, but combining these to add value to an intermediary offering remains the key to surviving and prospering in an ever-changing mortgage market.
Neal Jannels is managing director of One Mortgage System 

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