So you’ve decided it’s the right time to roll out digital lending. Congrats on an excellent choice - but deciding to do it is only the beginning. There are still a lot of things to think about as you consider which platform is right for you. Here’s our top 3 questions to ask as you weigh your options.
1) How does your platform help us differentiate?
A few years ago, just having a digital mortgage experience was enough to stand out from the competition. Not so today - every week another big lender announces their new digital rollout, and an online mortgage application is now table stakes. Today, you stand out by having a unique experience that reflects your brand.
Think carefully about how you want your digital mortgage experience to represent you, and then ask your potential platform provider how they make it happen. How much visual customization is possible? Can their application be configured with different questions or requirements? Can you implement custom workflows, or are you stuck with what’s offered out of the box? Don’t be afraid to ask for references from other customers who are using similar functionality in production - this is a great way to separate reality from “roadmap.” Speaking of which….
2) How much of this demo is real today?
If you’ve been working with technology for any length of time, you probably know that most companies will start demoing new features before they ship. We do it too (in fact, if you stay tuned to this blog you’ll soon see several new features we’ve already shown in demo). Usually this is fine; by the time you actually deploy, the feature will probably be done, and in the meantime you get to see what’s coming soon.
Sometimes, however, features slip, or priorities change, or a proof of concept stays just that - a concept. That’s why it’s always a good idea to ask questions about how much of what you’re seeing is actually in production. Again, a few almost-finished features is normal, particularly in a SaaS environment. If the majority of what you’re seeing in demo isn’t yet available in the wild, however, that may be a warning that the platform isn’t as mature as it looks.
A word of caution on “live” demos - sometimes a provider might show you an existing client’s environment as a proof point. This can be a great way to see how the platform can be used it production, but appearances can be deceiving. Be sure to ask how much of what you’re being shown reflects out-of-the-box functionality and how much reflects custom work proprietary to that client - i.e., features you won’t be able to use yourself without a lot of extra work. Better yet, ask if you can speak to that client as a reference yourself.
3) How does your platform support us in the future?
Choosing a platform is a significant investment. Even though a SaaS-based solution means no hardware, the switching cost can be formidable - you still have the time spent researching other options, engaging with potential partners, negotiating contracts, deploying the solution, managing any custom development, and training your internal team. The last thing you want is to do all that...and then have to do it again eighteen months later. You also don’t want to be locked into a workflow or a tech stack that no longer suits your needs, simply because your current platform requires it.
Obviously it’s vital that your new digital lending platform be able to support your business needs today, but the best solutions can also support you for the next several years. Ask your potential partner how their platform handles changing workflow requirements and tech integrations. Are you limited to integrations on the provider’s roadmap, or do they offer an API that you can build to yourself? If you see any possibility that you might leverage a partner’s API at some point in the future, ask for a reference to a existing customer who uses it heavily - preferably in production.
We’re more than happy to answer these questions ourselves, and help you make sure you’re getting the right fit for your organization. Drop us a note any time to chat about what you’re looking for.