We have a fantastic team here at Smartr365, with over 25 developers based in our head offices in Hammersmith. In our last newsletter, we introduced our new Commercial Director, Mark McKenna. This time, we want to introduce some of the faces working behind the scenes to create the most efficient end-to-end mortgage platform and help create the frictionless mortgage.
We invited our Product Manager, Cameron Parsons, to chat about his role at Smartr365 and how he sees the market developing in the years ahead.
Smartr365: Hi Cameron! Let’s keep it simple to kick-off – what do you do day-to-day at Smartr365?
CP: I’ve been Product Manager at Smartr365 for around 8 months now and I’m responsible for strategy as we continue to develop the platform moving forward. We map out where the industry is heading and work out what features brokers will need on the platform to stay ahead of the game – making sure we can give them exactly what they need. This involves a lot of collaboration with brokers – we listen to the issues they are having and look to solve them in an innovative fashion.
Smartr365: So, you speak to brokers regularly?
CP: Absolutely. Listening to what they need is one of the most important parts of my role, and it means we can build the best platform possible. It usually takes 8 weeks for a new feature to be developed. Broken down – this is 4 weeks of technical development followed by another 4 weeks of testing, thus through our cadence we are able to push new updates every four weeks.
Collaboration is really important to us. The changes we are trying to make are disruptive, but very much in a good way to make brokers lives easier. We want to solve problems, and need to make sure that we’re bringing the industry along with us as we do so.
Smartr365: What do you think are most important challenges facing the industry at the moment?
CP: I think the biggest issue, but also the biggest opportunity, is that many brokerages are attached to outdated legacy systems and processes. It’s human nature to initially resist change for fear of the unknown. Changing the way you do things, especially if you’ve done them that way for decades, is a big undertaking for any business. But it’s one of the reasons our development process is so collaborative – we work with brokers every step of the way to make sure they are supported in the transition to the frictionless age.
Once we get it right, we can bring the mortgage process into the 21st century and the industry can reap huge rewards.
Smartr365: Where do you think the next innovations will come in the mortgage industry?
CP: Increasing efficiency of the end-to-end process has to be a priority, and lots of work is going on to improve this and that is what makes us different to most. . There are a couple of things that need to be considered when doing so – it’s about enabling brokers to develop new business while at the same time ensuring they retain current clients.
Digitisation is the key to unlocking this. By automating the renewal of existing business, brokers can see up to a 90% success rate, which enables them to spend their time on what matters most – advising clients, seeking out new business and cross selling. The personal touch of a broker shouldn’t be removed from the renewal process. But by automating the mundane and time-consuming admin elements, they can allocate their time better and make the whole process more efficient.
Smartr365: Digitalisation sounds like the key thing, then?
CP: Without a doubt. Although, as a whole, the industry hasn’t quite realised or released its full potential yet – like Open Banking. By digitalising current processes, we don’t have to radically alter people’s school of thought all in one go.
By starting with digitalisation, we can ensure that changes are gradual, which crucially means the industry will be engaged and on board. The key thing is highlighting that processes will remain, but brokers won’t have to do them anymore, instead giving them time to focus on what they do best – provide sound financial advice.
Smartr365: So, what’s coming up next?
CP: We’ve just launched the MortgageKanban, which is a really revolutionary step forward for the industry. We’ll be announcing further features soon, and we’re working hard to work to make sure brokers and the industry get what they need – keep your eyes peeled!