It’s not difficult to get sucked into reading stories about what the future may have in store for us, especially when it comes to technology. How many articles have we seen about self-driving cars, cloning, space exploration, even invisible bike helmets. However, have we become so fixated on the future that we don’t always focus enough on the here and now?
Take robo-advice for example. This still appears to be a far-flung notion for many brokers. In truth, many components incorporated within this concept have been in operation across the industry for quite some time. And advisers could be benefitting from them as we speak rather than looking on from the side-lines in fear of a robotic invasion.
Historically speaking, the mortgage market has remained way behind the tech curve and is still playing catch up. Its layers of complexity provided a natural barrier to outside tech influencers and more standardised tools which were growing in prominence within other sectors. Thankfully, we are now seeing many firms with a wealth of intermediary experience developing their own internal and external systems to help combat a range of day-to-day issues being faced by brokers, distributors and lenders.
One of the questions we faced after building our system was – what should we do with it now? In the end demand dictated that we commercialised it, not that this hasn’t led to fresh challenges of its own. I recently fielded a call from a broker enquiring about OMS. The first question was – how big did his firm have to be able to use the system? This took me back a little bit, making me wonder just how smaller intermediary firms are viewing different types of technological developments, and if they realise just how simple, cost effective and time-saving certain solutions can be. (For what it’s worth OMS can benefit anyone from one-man bands to large, national distribution channels and lenders)
A range of tech solutions are already out there which offer access to AVMs, full lender integration and an all-encompassing CRM system. Innovations which can help advisers to dedicate more time to what really matters – providing the best advice, maintaining close relationships with their clients and generating more business.
The key is for firms of all shapes and sizes to fully understand what kinds of problems technology can solve and getting the right fit for their business. They also need to realise which systems can do the job today and differentiate them from the ones which are ‘coming soon’, ‘still under development’ or ‘planning to launch’.
Technology can often be seen an expensive, intimidating, complex entity which takes an age to implement and is only available for large firms with deep pockets. In the modern age this is far from the truth. The right kind of tech solutions are here to support and streamline processes, not stifle them, and tools/systems are available now to make your business more efficient – not just in the future.
Neal Jannels is managing director of One Mortgage System (OMS)