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PHH Leverages Borland Technology for Off-Shoring

When a new regulation came down from HUD or the FHA, PHH Mortgage used to have to stop new development projects to go back and work the regulation into its software releases. No longer. Today PHH leverages the Borland ALM (application life-cycle management) solution for parallel development, knowing the 320 staffers on its development teams can merge their individual work into a new release with 85%-90% efficiency.

PHH Mortgage said Cupertino, Calif.-based Borland gives it the weapons for successfully harnessing offshoring to provide the high level of efficiency necessary to support multiple new client initiatives - and thereby defend its claim to being the mortgage industry's leading provider of private-label mortgage services. PHH Mortgage also leverages Borland to help automate and streamline mortgage services to its four brands: phone-based originations through PHH Mortgage, and purchase loans through ERA Mortgage, Century 21 Mortgage and Coldwell Banker Mortgage.

To provide outsource services on the scale it does means PHH Mortgage has to operate 15 different internal business units. The single task of incorporating new mortgage regulations requires software releases every six or seven weeks from distributed internal and outsourced development teams in Jacksonville, Fla.; Mount Laurel; Bangalore, India; and Calcutta, India.

Before PHH implemented Borland systems, business analysts from several teams had to pass around and approve Microsoft Word documents, sometimes 300 pages long, that captured the business and technical requirements for a particular release, according to PHH technical lead Ed Briggs. Now Borland's CaliberRM electronically captures and manages requirements gathered from around the world and synchronizes them as development tasks via Borland's StarTeam. Functional requirements are published using custom triggers Mr. Briggs developed.

Borland product marketing manager Matt Klassen told NMN that none of the challenges Borland addresses are unique to offshoring. "Any software team has to be able to handle them in any product of any size. Offshoring simply magnifies those factors."

Thanks to its new tracking system PHH Mortgage no longer worries about missing deadlines for software releases, Mr. Briggs told NMN. "We have implemented a system to give us a full audit and better metrics. It allows the business to actually do testing and report defects. Mistakes are caught further upstream. The Borland tools allow consistent processes between the folks working here and those working offshore," Mr. Briggs explained.

That consistency also figured in PHH achieving advanced SAS 70 certification. As well, he said, "PHH Mortgage customers benefit from the quality of the releases we put out because some of them are using the same applications as our internal users." An example he cited is the loan origination system PHH built in-house and makes available for use by external loan officers via Citrix to originate loans.

"Borland's SDK (software development kit) really lets us into the guts of their application," said Mr. Briggs. As a result, he said users "don't have to figure out a process that works with the tools." Instead, the tools can be configured to meet the user's needs.

Because failure to identify project requirements upfront is a leading cause of failure for major software projects, in April 2006 Borland launched a new tool that lets business analysts visually specify functional requirements and automatically generate test cases. (c) 2006 Mortgage Servicing News and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved. http://www.mortgageservicingnews.com http://www.sourcemedia.com

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