Technology is changing every industry; Title Insurance is no exception. In this post, we will help breakdown how to think about vetting, sourcing, and onboarding new technology providers.
Areas of Impact
Three main areas are being impacted the most by technology in the Title Industry:
- Consumer and Partner Expectations
- Internal Operations
- Security and Protection
Let’s dive a little deeper into each of these to help better explain how to think about them.
Consumer and Partner Expectations
We are living in a world where the timely and convenient delivery of information is no longer preferred; it is expected. When we think about consumers in Title (Buyers/Sellers), we know they are looking for information, communication, and convenience. Effectively utilizing the latest and greatest technology can help us meet these expectations.
As our businesses grow or market factors create changes that disrupt our current models, we need technology to help us improve internal operations. Providers in this space should help us streamline our workflow by optimizing title software and communications. They should also help enhance the bandwidth of our organization and accessibility of our files, especially with cloud-based technologies. Technology that supports internal ops should lead to an efficient operation that allows for elasticity that can adjust appropriately to meet seasonal demand.
Security and Protection
Never has security and data protection been more critical. Wire fraud is at an all-time, and phishing and malware attacks continue to rise. When it comes to protecting your organization, you should consider locking down your data and network security. Next, you should focus on employee preparedness, make sure you have a plan if something goes wrong and that your employees know how to look out for potential attacks. Finally, consider investing in additional coverage for Money Transfer Protection. Several providers, including CertifID, now offer the ability for you to reduce the risk of wire fraud and give you additional protection if your buyers get tricked into wiring funds to a fraudulent account.
Now that we have covered the most significant areas of impact let’s talk about how best to evaluate technology partners to fit your organization.
There are plenty of online tools and guides to help you create a detailed procurement process. For the majority of companies in the title industry, time and resources are limited, and therefore, you should keep it simple!
Here are the five things you should think about when considering a new piece of technology to support your business:
1. What problem are you trying to solve?
2. Who will this technology impact?
3. What makes a winner?
4. What technology providers can solve this problem?
5. Select a win-win partner!
Let’s break those down a bit further:
What problem are you trying to solve?
Do you think your security practices are stuck in 1995? Are you running out of internal bandwidth? Sit down and identify the most significant pain points in your business. Which ones, if solved, would give you the biggest lift? Identifying problems unlocks opportunities, and chances are there is a piece of technology out there that can help you not only solve your problem but far exceed your expectations in the long term.
Who will this technology impact?
Change in process, people or technology will always poise some initial concerns or pushback from your team. But change is necessary to stay ahead of your competition and other threats. Once you have identified the problem you want to solve with technology, think about who in your organization this technology would impact. Invite those individuals or a representative from their team to be part of the decision making process. Ask them if they see the problem the same way you do. Once you get the right team in the room and you are aligned on the issue you are trying to solve, you’ve already completed 70% of the hard work.
What makes a winner?
You have your problem and your stakeholder, now sit down and determine what criteria will mean a “win” for your business. Identify the requirements for the technology that will ultimately make everyone feel good about making the decision. Agree on selection criteria and create a scorecard or outline for your evaluation. This could be as simple as 5-10 questions you want to ask every provider or as detailed as a full RFP with scores and weights for every question/response. My suggestion is to keep it simple. Your team knows what they want; you just need to write it down i.e. reduce our costs by 20%, help us eliminate call back procedures, improve our time to close, find an integrated solution etc. Once you have these identified, convert them into a list of questions that you will ask each provider.
What technology providers can solve this problem?
We created the Title Tech-scape to help you get started, but this is by no means an all-inclusive list. Ask your network who they are using to solve this problem. Email your underwriter and your title production software company about who they would recommend or what integrations are available. Once you have a list of 3-7 providers, send them an email letting them know you are reviewing technology providers in their specific field and would like to include them in the process.
Select a win-win partner!
Send each of the companies you identified the list of your questions. Once they respond, review their answers, and narrow down your list of providers to the top two to three. Then schedule demos, try to line up all the demos back to back or within a 48-hour time frame. Having the demos close together will enable them to stay fresh in your mind and won’t make the process drag on longer than necessary. Make sure ALL stakeholders are on the demos – you want buy-in from the entire group so you can select a winner once the process is complete, and there won’t be any objections or finger-pointing later on. Work as a team to discuss your best option, negotiate a final price, and sign the deal!
Remember that you aren’t just selecting a piece of technology, you’re also hiring a partner, and the people behind that technology are essential. Did the company respond in a thoughtful and timely manner to your emails and questions? Was the demo professional? Did they have a responsive and kind support/customer service team? These things matter! You are going to end up working with these people, and when something goes wrong (it always does), will you be able to rely on them to be a great partner? If it’s ever a close race based on who has the better tech, always chose the team you believe will provide you with the best service and support along the way.
We hope this is a useful guide and welcome any questions or discussion about how we can help you as you try to improve your business through technology.