Complexity needn’t be complicated

16th February 2023

Article originally published in The Intermediary February 2023 – page  74-75

When faced with the knowledge that you have to transform your business, technology and systems it’s pretty normal to feel utterly overwhelmed.

Where do you start? What’s your destination? How do you get there?

I won’t pretend these are easy questions to answer, but I would say it’s worth remembering that when you plan a journey – especially a long one – you do it in legs.

Driving to Scotland from the South West? Which service stations are you going to stop at? Which junctions do you need to exit to switch from M5 to M6 to M74 (trick question)?

The point is your journey doesn’t have to match up to Google Maps’ time to destination – when does it ever?

Transformation is possible and the strategy is one step at a time.

In the world of start-ups, innovators and IT development there is usually insufficient capital, a theoretical business case and a lack of practical experience doing specifically what you’re about to attempt.

Business school speak has an approach that many companies adopt when faced with the launch of a new product or service. It’s not dissimilar to the concept of piloting but it breaks that model into even smaller pieces.

An MVP – minimum viable product – is the definition of doing one thing at a time and it’s an invaluable way of approaching business or systems transformation.

In a more established business or market, an MVP focuses on one key change that could deliver improvement and develops that change using the least amount of time and money.

It won’t be perfect, it’s not trying to be. But it will tell you whether it’s a change worth investing in further.

We could rewire conveyancing, valuations and mortgage broking finance. As it is all of the component processes progress independently.

In spite of more than a decade of industry suggesting everything in a property transaction would just work better if there was slicker integration, possibly amalgamation, no-one’s cracked it.

I think there’s a reason. Jack of all trades is master of none.

There’s a wisdom in knowing your part of the process and in having the time to ensure it’s done properly.

The conveyance of a property is the single largest transaction most individuals do in their lifetimes.

This said, the direction of travel needs to have the elasticity to embrace further infrastructure and data source changes.

That only underlines why using the MVP model makes such sense; investing in a huge project which by its nature fixes your journey has the potential to leave you out of pocket and no better placed to serve your market.

What does this mean in practice? 

  1. Know your situation

This is about data. Without data, you’re driving blind. Imagine trying to find your way to Scotland without a map, signage, a road or a compass.

For lenders, every lending decision has to be based on what that decision adds to the overall security, stability and profitability of the business.

That means understanding the risk in your back book, the risk across your geographical reach, the risk associated with property type, age and construction, and the risk attached to specific types of borrowing.

Data products and services can support lending decisions and give brokers the ‘heads up’ on decision earlier in the process, improving brokers’ and borrowers’ experience.

  1. Map your journey

The MVP model is all about maximum understanding of return for the minimum upfront investment using that data.

Once you know your position, you know your strengths and you know your weaknesses. This will give you the information you need to map your journey – remember those junctions. Where are you trying to get to, where are the steps and what is the one thing you need to test before you commit?

  1. How will you get there?

Making the most of data and infrastructure is critical as companies look for efficiencies with margins under pressure.

If you know the first step you need to take to improve your use of data, it will inform what infrastructure you need to get you there. APIs and interoperability are now widely available and through cloud implementation to every type of organization.

Speak to providers (and of course we are one) and ask how they’d approach helping you to achieve your goals. The way they answer your questions will tell you all you need to know about whether their solution is going to work for you.

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