reat architects make a deliberate attempt to influence how
people interact physically and emotionally with a room. If that room gets
used inappropriately, it ends up just being wasted potential. Designing software is, in many ways, similar to designing a building. Software developers
must have “intention” behind every feature they build into the package.
This seems like a ridiculously obvious statement, but think about how
complex most loan origination system (LOS) systems are. There are so many
features in the typical LOS — some big, but most really small — that the
average mortgage company likely does not use more than 65 percent of the
full functionality available to them.
How can lenders and mortgage companies know whether they’re maximizing the potential of their LOS? Is it even possible to know what the system’s
true potential is?
Missing out on the potential power of an LOS is surprisingly easy to do.
One mortgage company reported that it created a cumbersome manual
process to perform a relatively simple task, for example, because they didn’t
realize the button to perform the action already existed — located by scrolling down a little further on the screen. In another case, a company admitted
they were not aware of an interface with an appraisal vendor until the LOS
vendor started working on an interface for an entirely different service.
Neither the companies, their loan processors, or the LOS support teams
were to blame for these issues. Truth be told, most usability issues are much
more complicated. But these examples reveal very clearly that all the hard
work put into building features ends up as wasted potential if processors —
the end users — don’t know about them or can’t use them.
Maximizing technology is more than just putting together great features
and a smooth user interface, however. As the “architects” of mission-critical
systems, LOS vendors should know best how to use their technology. Therefore, mortgage companies should be able to rely on their vendor partners
to demonstrate how to use the systems as effectively as possible, but these
vendors need help from the end users.
By investing heavily into developing internal processes and services that
focus on maximizing the effectiveness of their LOS system, mortgage companies and their partners can identify user adoption and system optimization
as critical targets of their mortgage process strategy. This blend of adoption
and optimization can best be summed up with the term “adoptimization.”
Adoptimization is what occurs when a user both knows a system’s functionality and can use it optimally within a normal workflow. It involves
system configuration and training, but first requires a deep understanding
of a company’s workflow.
This means that mortgage companies and vendors must work together
to bridge the gap between a loan processor’s desired workflow and what is
functionally feasible within the selected system. This is achieved by providing processors with best practices that detail how a function or process was
intended to be used by the software’s product designers.
The impact of adoptimization is greater utilization of system features,
which produces a net gain in terms of productivity and overall user satisfaction. Or to put it in executive terms, adoptimization is the most direct path
to a higher return on investment (ROI) on the LOS system.
This is not to say that processors cannot adhere to their company’s desired
process. A vendor’s suggested best practices merely offer a recommended
strategy for optimizing the functions of the system.
Moving forward together
The first step in adoptimization is ensuring vendors and mortgage company
execs and processors are involved from the very beginning to make sure the
technology and the company’s workflow complement — or even improve —
Michael Stalnaker, vice president of business-process management for
Southern California-based Mountain West Financial, said adoptimzation
helped his company think of the mortgage process as a manufacturing
pipeline. “It’s a foreign concept to those in this industry that have been here
a long time,” Stalnaker said. “But make no mistake, it has some elements
Linn Cook is senior communications manager of LendingQB, a leading loan origination software
provider delivering customer solutions that combine technology and good business practices.
LendingQB is a provider of 100 percent web-browser-based, end-to-end loan origination software
that offers residential mortgage-banking organizations faster closing times and reduced costs per loan. To learn
more visit lendingqb.com. Reach Cook at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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