First things first. Thank you to MPA for naming us among its 5-Star Mortgage Technology Providers recently. To think that our Closing Cost Calculator has propelled LodeStar onto some of the same lists occupied regularly by some of the largest companies in the mortgage industry is truly humbling. Thank you!
As we perused MPA’s great report, it got us to thinking. While several of the honorees on the list offer tools helping lenders with just about every phase of the mortgage transaction, there are also several that have grown and succeeded doing just one or two things very well. While they tend to integrate or co-exist well with the most common production platforms or most-used technologies, they do one or two things, and do them very well.
We spend so much time as an industry chasing the unicorn that is a “cradle-to-grave” solution (or worse, claiming one’s already been created, even if it only is cradle-to-grave for one part of the overall homebuying process!) that we may sometimes forget that it’s ok to bring together multiple different tools toward a final end, so long as the different systems work well together. For some reason, using multiple solutions toward a single end is initially thought of as a bad thing.
Too often, mortgage technology is discussed in terms from either end of a spectrum. From the evangelists or the reluctant adoptees—after all, folks who aren’t using enough tech at this point probably aren’t even talking about it! At one end, of course, are the reluctant executives who see costs (especially sunken costs), painful implementations and disappointing results when faced with tech solutions. We’ve talked about that before. Many times, it’s the decision makers who picked the wrong technology based on the wrong research and are now paying the price. Just chasing the shiniest solution doesn’t automatically cure all operational ills. If a single app could improve mortgage customer retention, that company would be on the list, too. Unfortunately, far too many firms rush into their tech stacks. And if they don’t fit the clients; or the workflow; or fit together, for that matter, it’s just a shiny pile of parts.
For the tech evangelists, technology almost seems to be an end unto itself. And that’s not just in our own industry. It’s great that the folks leading the charge toward better automation in the industry (or, in some cases, any automation at all) are doing so. It’s needed. But there are times when it’s hard to tell what the end is—integrated technology, or effective technology? It’s been said before, but technology is a tool. It’s dependent on the people using it and the data or information fed into it…and all of that fitting the original need for it in the first place.
As with most things in life, the truth lies somewhere in between.
So why do we put so much emphasis on end-to-end solutions? Why do so many tech providers end up offering solutions to almost everything under the sun—and by the way, there are a few who do it well; just not all of them? Well, we all like one-stop shopping. And while CTOs and CIOs may enjoy researching new systems and solutions, CEOs like sales. Tech isn’t sexy to everyone. And that’s ok. But who can blame the providers who see an opportunity to end a prospect’s search for multiple solutions?
We’ve been in an atmosphere that rewards versatility, multi-tasking, multi-purpose or all-encompassing solutions and one-size-fits-all for so long that an “end-to-end solution” is naturally appealing. But take another look at that list.
Sometimes, it’s better to find the most effective parts than the easy-to-buy whole. As long as those parts work well together, of course!
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