*The Truth About Workflow*
**By Ted Hicks**
***The commonly used definition of workflow as one linear process is simply outdated. In a mortgage shop there are multiple processes going on at the same time. Most technology platforms can only handle the main workflow. A loan process goes from point-of-sale, to processing, to underwriting, etc. Many people in the mortgage space think of a loan process as a one-dimensional process, but what about the lock process, the confirmation process, the compliance process, etc? There are several processes going on at the same time as the loan is going through the workflow. So, how do you make everything happen in a streamlined, efficient manner? Here are my thoughts:
First, it’s not just about notifications. It’s about having the type of intuitive technology that functions transparent to the user but is able to generate necessary information to a specific user at precisely the right moment. As such, the system needs to identify the different loan processes properly. If the system doesn’t understand parallel processes outside of the traditional loan workflow, it simply won’t work. You also need to see what’s going on and what sub-processes need to be done and what triggers those actions.
Lenders know that they have to accomplish all these things, but they don’t think of it as a multi-dimensional process and technology doesn’t help, quite frankly. Today most technology tools track milestones. What’s the problem there? The system looks at things as a serial workflow. In a parallel workflow system several steps can occur at the same time.
Every loan has milestones, but lenders need to contort the technology to lock a loan at a certain time or to re-disclose if the need arises. Why? The technology should do that for the lender. So, why doesn’t technology do this today? Vendors realize the complexity of the mortgage process, but the systems are old, which limits how a system can work. If a vendor thinks about parallel workflows they are thinking about creating new technology because their existing technology won’t cut it.
In the end, just as the definition of workflow has changed, technology needs to change as well.
Ted Hicks is the Director of Product Management at Calyx Software. He started working for Calyx over 4 years ago and is responsible for the research and design of all Calyx products including all issues related to compliance and forms. Ted has spent the last 14 years working as a product management professional in small and large firms providing enterprise software solutions across a variety of industries including Siebel Systems (now Oracle), Aspect Telecommunications, and Epiphany.