Embrace the app

Technology should make life easier, argues Steven Nicholas, chief executive of Tiuta

Mobile phones have come a long way since the first model unveiled in the 1970s which weighed around a kilo. Handsets have become sleeker and slimmer and their capabilities have developed way beyond making and receiving calls. First the advent of SMS technology made staying in touch on the go easier, then internet-enabled mobiles allowed us to surf the web and send e-mails when out and about. Perhaps the biggest advancement of the past couple of years has been the creation of applications, downloadable software which the user can directly access from their phone’s ‘home’ screen without having to navigate through the internet for.

Applications, or ‘apps’ as they are known are now a multi-billion pound global industry and they can give users the ability to do practically everything imaginable from spirit levels to assist with putting up shelves to the ability to order a pizza in a few clicks. But it’s not just personal lives that have benefitted from the convenience that apps afford but also our professional being. Rather than having to carry a number of devices and gadgets, smartphones are now cramming the capabilities of a range of instruments into one device.

Take a broker visiting a client in their home for instance. Gone are the days of needing a map or a satnav system to get there – there are apps available for that. A notepad or laptop to take details of the client’s circumstances to type up once you get back to the office? Take the notes on your phone. A calculator to work out affordability ratios and repayments? That will be on there too. For those who don’t like tapping away on their phones, tablets such as Apple’s iPad have emerged to bridge the gap between tiny smartphones and cumbersome laptops.

Being a self-confessed gadget geek myself like many of my team, we were keen to make life even easier for brokers that deal with Tiuta by harnessing the power of mobile phone software with our own app. Brokers no longer have the time to fill in reams of paperwork manually or sit on the phone to find out if a case is likely to be accepted or not, so why not give them the ability to do all that and more with a few taps of a touchscreen?

The Tiuta app is the first to be launched in the UK by a bridging lender and allows brokers to get up-to-the minute information about the deals on offer, utilise a loan calculator to provide an indication of the costs and fees involved and allows users to access the case-tracking system on the move. Think of it as your own personal hotline, direct to us.

There will always be a certain level of scepticism and reluctance against change that rears its head every time a technological breakthrough occurs, but those who refuse to adapt to an evolving market run the risk of being left behind. You only have to think how computers and the internet have made finance broking a more streamlined process to envisage how applications can make things another degree easier.

You wouldn’t dream of hunching over the fax machine trying to send multiple-page documents to clients or lenders now when you can simply scan them across, so neither should you rule out incorporating apps into your daily business life until you fully realise the time and efficiency benefits they can bring you. With many banks offering their own apps and an increasingly tech-savvy customer base used to the convenience they provide, can you afford to miss out on the latest technological trend?