Top 12 Mortgage Business Intelligence Mistakes :: Part 5

This is the fifth installment of a six-part series on the most common mistakes that occur when evaluating, implementing, or using mortgage business intelligence (MBI). Today’s article discusses retiring old analytics and focusing on the right users.

Supplement vs. Replacement

The most successful MBI projects are those which produce the most compelling results for their user communities. When people ask me about the implementations where I’ve seen MBI make the biggest impact, I often think of the smaller boutique firms. Many have yet to fully leverage spreadsheets and traditional reports, instead using a combination of legal pads, calculators, and white boards. Bringing MBI into this type of setting is as revolutionary as it gets, and no one would dream of picking up a calculator, pen, or dry erase marker ever again once they have access to the new system.

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So it’s baffling when we see users hang onto their spreadsheets long after they have equivalent functions in an MBI system at their disposal. Sometimes users fixated on data integrity keep running their spreadsheets and traditional reports to compare them to the output of their MBI platform. Other times there is a reluctance to change when time constraints produce skepticism around the feasibility of tackling any learning curve associated with a new system.

Whatever the cause, this practice may be one of the most damaging when it comes to implementing MBI. Mortgage business intelligence isn’t intended to be an adjunct to traditional analytics. It’s intended to replace them. The central idea is taking an antiquated approach to an activity and updating it, thereby saving time, and enhancing the derived results.

If MBI is simply added to a firm’s traditional analytics efforts, not only will things not get better, things can get worse. Instead of paring down the time spent on analytics, it’s expanding, which runs counter to the whole idea of MBI in the first place, which is to dramatically reduce the time that firms spend on analytics, while increasing the value and timeliness of information delivery.

Making it an IT project :: Ignoring business users

While business intelligence endeavors are generally thought of as technology projects, I’ve always contended that mortgage business intelligence is more of a business project than a technology undertaking, particularly since the technology behind automatically pulling data from production systems and transforming it into effective visualizers is well established. IT-centric projects are focused on using the newest, cutting-edge tools, and the value of these tools lies in enhancing not only the data processing environment, but also the resumes of the IT staff deploying them.

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Technology is clearly important, and while it makes sense to ensure that your MBI provider is using up-to-date technology, it is much more important that they have a deep understanding of the mortgage industry and exactly what it takes to effect process improvements across the board. This expertise can best be leveraged by working directly with business users to understand the current state of their analytics and to help them convert these into MBI functions within the new platform.

Projects that focus solely on IT divisions run the risk of ignoring the business case for MBI and providing little or no benefit to business users. This approach eliminates the possibility of optimizing operational dynamics and setting stage for increased profitability.

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