MReport April 2021

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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Page 33 of 67

32 | M R EP O RT FEATURE we have seen coming out of this shift has been the rise of the Application Programming Interface (API), which allows a user to access technology in the cloud in a safe and secure manner to extract data from disparate systems. A major advance from the older Software Development Kits (SDKs), which were designed to make it easier for programmers to hard code integrations between systems. APIs changed everything about the way we deliver services, including mortgage loans, and opened the door to digital lending. Today, a robust API ecosystem allows an institution to connect electronically with other organiza- tions and utilize the tools others have already built. These integra- tions mean the lender doesn't have to buy or build these tools themselves. On the mortgage side, we've been connecting our LOS to preferred document prep partners for years. The new APIs make it easier than ever to get our data onto the right documents for bor- rowers, helping ensure accuracy and compliance along the way. More recently, API integration with eSign providers allows bor- rowers to review and sign their documents from anywhere at any time on any device. Taking full advantage of these innovations requires the lender to map out their technologies holisti- cally, taking all of these potential capabilities into account. We are now past the early adopter segment of the SaaS curve. Now is the time for insti- tutions to take action. What is the Risk of Not Changing? T oday's mortgage borrowers expect their financial institu- tions to serve them where they are and when they want. They may be on a smartphone in a city park or a tablet PC in a coffee shop. Companies that are unable or unwilling to serve them there will inevitably lose market share. This was happening long before COVID-19, but the global pan- demic advanced the digitization process through the daily habits of consumers. When branches closed and consumers were forced to conduct business online, over the phone, or through a drive- thru, some initially grumbled. However, having sampled the new way of transacting, most will never go back. A holistic technology roadmap takes this into account and allows the lender to meet the needs of its customers and mitigate the risk of losing them to more nimble competitors. How to Think Holistically W hen we talk to executives about this holistic ap- proach, we find the conversation moving in one of two directions. First, IT executives want to talk about tools. The tools and approaches an organization use are important, but it's more about how they are applied to the institution's value proposition and how quickly IT teams are expected to move. With a holistic approach, mul- tiple delivery streams are detailed on the roadmap, involving a number of devices and channels. It's not uncommon to see IT teams generating code and hitting commit to put it into production multiple times each day. We've worked on projects where we go from tested code to production workflow in eight minutes. On the other hand, when we talk to the executives in charge of products, the conversation will focus on the lender's ability to de- liver but also the cost savings that come out of a holistic approach. They understand the excite- ment in the IT department and also like the idea of speed to market, however are careful not to commit too many resources too quickly. This can create a situation where the institution lacks the skill set and tools to compete because the investments haven't been made. This is understandable. After spending most of their careers studying spreadsheets and work- ing to keep their operations in the black, shifting resources into uncharted territory can feel overly risky. The truth is that failure to spend money on R&D now will prevent the lender from attract- ing the kind of leadership in the engineering space they will need to succeed. That's a real risk lend- ers face today. How a Holistic Approach Enables Future Success I n many ways, the holistic approach to an institution's technology roadmap is a shift from thinking about one technol- ogy and delivery channel over the next five years to thinking about every technology and delivery channel over the next six months. Technology is changing so quickly that we are now seeing disruptive changes multiple times each year. It's no longer possible to predict what the business will look like in five years, three years, or even one year. Financial services executives must be nimble, flexible and able to pivot quickly. They must think about innovation holistically, in smaller steps taken over shorter time frames. Long-term planning still has its place in the modern enterprise, but in a fast-changing environ- ment, leaders will create holistic technology roadmaps that take into account a broader range of tools even if their plans are subject to revision in the near- or mid-term. . JIM FREEMAN is the Senior Director of Software Development at Fiserv, Inc., a global provider of financial services technology solutions. He has been a member of Fiserv since 2019 and brings with him 25 years of software engineer- ing, cloud solutioning, product develop- ment, and DevOps management. He is responsible for leading the engineering strategy, driving technological innovation and modernization of the mortgage's portfolio, and closing the loop between market demand and product engineering. Prior to Fiserv, Freeman held executive leadership positions at Rackspace, where he led the cloud engineering organization responsible for the end to end multicloud technology solutions. Thinking about innovation through a single channel, device, or platform is a mistake.

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