Investing in technology resources can be a big decision for a lending institution—or any business for that matter. Depending on the type of resource, it can be a large monetary investment, and training and implementation can impact your short-term operations.
Change is not always easy, but as I've learned from my experience implementing the AutoPilot loan portfolio management software for multiple financial institutions, it is well worth the temporary disruption in order to experience the kind of efficiency and productivity that a streamlined software program can offer.
However, no matter how robust a software system or technology resource is, your institution will not experience maximum productivity unless your staff is thoroughly trained and using the resource to its full capabilities because, after all, a technology resource is only as effective as how trained and well-versed its users are. Increasing productivity through technology is an effective strategy for increasing the overall success—from top to bottom—at a lending institution.
Unfortunately, it is all too common for organizations to only scratch the surface of using all of the benefits and features of a system or tool, the very system or tool that was designed to improve their daily operations, increase overall productivity, and/or save them money. If you've has taken the leap, either recently or in years past, to make an investment in technology, there are a few things that you can do to ensure you're capitalizing on it to its fullest capabilities.
As a product manager, I have the opportunity to onboard and train many clients on our AutoPIlot software. The success of the onboarding process is contingent on cooperation from everyone involved and usually is dictated by buy-in from upper management. If upper management communicates to the entire institution that implementing and being thoroughly trained on the new technology is a top priority, chances are implementation will be streamlined, run smoothly, and each employee and department involved will do their best to ensure they know the ins and outs of the new systems.
When employees understand that being properly trained and being thoroughly ingrained in the new technology is part of a larger strategy—improving the productivity and overall success of the financial institution—they will be more energized, engaged, and willing to actively take part in learning and using the new technology. Training should not be a one-time lesson, either. While you're evaluating and conducting due diligence on a new technology provider, their level of training should be a strong contributing factor:
Does the service provider conduct hands-on training?
Do they offer comprehensive consulting services?
Do they offer one-on-one coaching to meet the individualized needs of your team?
Do they have post-training materials such as an online training center, FAQs, demo videos and webinars so that your team can get self-serve "refresher" courses as needed?
Training is integral in the process of increasing productivity through technology. If you're going to invest in new technology, make sure your staff is fully trained to ensure you're getting the most out of your investment.
Explore ALL of Its Capabilities
One of the biggest issues I run into with new clients is that they don't utilize our software to its fullest capabilities. For instance, instead of accessing their collections queues from the appropriate tab, they use a "shortcut" that is not as efficient, and ultimately, they waste time calling borrowers that aren't at the top of their worklist.
Many software and technology systems have a myriad of features and capabilities that users don't even know about. Think about your personal phone: do you know and use all of the different features available to you at your fingertips? I don't know about you, but my email inbox can get completely out of hand sometimes. It wasn't until I discovered all of the organization tools available in Outlook such as creating folders, categories, and rules that I was finally able to better manage my time and email correspondence.
Utilizing all of the built-in features allowed me to work in a proactive manner, rather than a reactive one. This same school of thought can be applied to all forms of technology that are designed to increase your financial institution's productivity.
Leverage Your Support Team
Sometimes, no matter how in-depth your training is, or how well-versed your department managers and staff are in new technology, they will still experience technical difficulties from time to time. Having a responsive support team or account manager that is just a phone call or email away should be included with the purchase of your new technology. If issues arise that can directly impact your daily operations, or even your customers in the case of consumer-facing technology, your support team can be vital to getting you back on track.
Much like training, access to a knowledgeable, friendly, and responsive support team or account representative should be a vital component in your due diligence process. Having convenient access to a support team can not only be key in troubleshooting issues, but it can also be your opportunity to provide user feedback for future enhancements and product improvements.
At the end of the day, time is money, and any form of technology that is intended to increase productivity, ultimately saving you and your staff time, is also saving you money!