Mortgage Tech is competitive in every category.  What does that mean?  After researching and trying to find every software, service, and product that is relevant to Loan Officers I discovered that almost every category has a competitor.  That means that do not have to settle.  You should expect software and services to perform well enough to achieve your business objectives.  In this article we will cover several ways to investigate software companies, keep them accountable, and make sure that the services they provide align with your business objectives.
1.  Don’t Buy the HYPE!  Some of these companies are pretty awesome at marketing.  Biggest booth at the trade show, they actually use Twitter, and all your friends say they are as cool as Abercrombie and Fitch.  Social Proof is a great buying indicator, but your company might not look good in cargo shorts.  Your organization has specific challenges that need solutions.  While vendors market to general challenges, it may or may not meet your specific needs.  This alignment is extremely important so both parties don’t waste time a money.
2.  Use YOUR Key Performance Indicators.  I’m going to let you in on a little secret.  If a software vendor is wise, they will move you towards KPIs that they know they can accomplish within their engagement to increase chances of renewal.  This is good practice and these KPIs might be extremely valuable to your organization.  However, It is important to have your own measuring stick to evaluate the value of any service, product, or software so that you can keep that service provider accountable on your own terms.
3.  Cultural and Technological Alignment.  This is a tough one to gauge before the engagement starts, but if you have established a company culture, core values, and communication style then finding a vendor that shares those values will increase your odds of success.  Even trivial technological miss-alignments can cause riffs in an engagement.  Example:  If your organization uses Microsoft OneDrive but your vendor uses Google Drive you may get frustrated about file sharing.  No one has done anything wrong, but work style, company culture, and working technology alignment can increase your odds of success and can be discussed before the engagement gets too far into the weeds.
4.  NOT THE ONLY GAME IN TOWN.  There are definitely category kings in the mortgage technology space.  However, there are not many.  Despite a couple companies ruling their domain, they still have significant competition that should be considered.  It is worth taking the time to fully consider all possibilities before making your decision.  Don’t assume the technology is awesome because they are popular.  Popular, doesn’t mean they are a good fit for your organization.  There are other fish in the sea, you might just have to fish a little longer.
We covered HYPE, KPIs, CULTURE, and the popular kids.  If there is a possibility for you and your team to ask these questions before you make your final decision it may save you a considerable amount of pain in 6 months.  Remember, software/service companies are looking for 1-2 year commitments, because they need to optimize their service as they go.  This commitment should be heavily considered and not weighed on 1-2 variables that 1-2 people believe are important.  The good news is that there are companies that are eager to compete for your business