While speaking to dozens of SaaS companies over the last couple months I received a ton of great advice.  Someone helped me identify a new category (Outsourced Services) and everyone had great insight about different details they believed would work best for Mortgage Advisor Tools.  I also received extremely shitty advice.  Why does bad advice take so much more time to explain?  Maybe it just feels longer.   I would be in a ZOOM and have to turn off the camera – so no one would catch me rolling my eyes.  NEW RULE:  If I hear something stupid, I turn on the cat filter.  Anyways, definitely more good advice than bad.  One bit of advice hit me right between the eyes.
“Why don’t you rank or review integrations?”
I’m like – that’s an awesome idea.  Why don’t we do that?  My development team is like – please stop – please, please can we just get this thing off the ground, please.  It’s a killer idea.  A little harder in practice, but very much needed.  As the victim of many integration gone sideways experiences, I would have loved to give the integration portion of an engagement a rating.
In lieu of not making this idea (I’m super sorry I forgot who brought this to my attention) a new awesome service I thought it might helpful to arm folks with a couple questions to ask vendors when it comes to integrations.  Not everyone that hires SaaS companies are technologists.  You likely ask if their software can simply connect to yours. They respond in the affirmative leaving your team to clean up, fix, develop, and work tirelessly to make the features you bought … actually work properly.  Here are three framed questions anyone can ask and get a better understanding on exactly what they are signing up for!
1.  Does your integration allow me to (specify exactly the functionality you expect the integration to help)? – Instead of asking if something connects, or integrates, or talks to another piece of software – it’s important for both parties to understand exactly what your expectation is for their technology.  Salespeople in tech are an excitable bunch – they may or may not cover these types of specifications.  Saying something integrates isn’t enough – understanding how that integration is going to function is really what you are looking to understand.  Be Specific about your expectations!
2.  What is required from my team to help you? – The first response will be “Nothing,” and you will immediately need to call them liars and get your cat filter ready.  We all like the word “SEAMLESS” but only when it’s true.  Let them know it is okay if you have some heavy lifting to do.  However, you need to know what that heavy lifting entails.  Not being prepared makes a 5-day set up turn into 5 weeks.  You want to make sure you have the resources, bandwidth, and overall technical ability to help move things along.
3.  Can you connect me with a reference that has similar integrations?  Nothing wrong with asking for a reference.  Some of these integrations are working with systems that are vital to our business.  Understanding how the integration went, how long it took, and how it is working over-time is extremely important for managing your technology stack and business.  Nothing wrong with being first, but again it goes back to preparing.  They should have no problem lining you up with another customer that has the same integrations.
If you aren’t technical and don’t have someone that can help you navigate the inevitable challenges that come with getting software to communicate it is okay.  Mortgage tech is getting much better, and integrations are really developing in the right direction.  We’ll see if we can help you understand them better in the future, but for now you’ll have to drop it in the reviews. Ask questions that relate to the solutions you hope to achieve.  Be thorough, especially if they are messing with your Loan Origination System (LOS).  Lastly, when you do run into challenges – don’t be afraid to bust out the CAT filter!