WE’RE HEARING…that the downfall to new technology is that it can feel much like paving the freeway during rush hour—it is very complicated, fraught with risk and susceptible to failure. Luckily, there’s an antidote.

Let’s consider a few observations we’re hearing from industry experts.

In his book, “The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering,” Frederick P. Brooks Jr. revealed:

  • 47% of software is not delivered.
  • 29% of software was delivered but never used.
  • 19% of software was abandoned.
  • 3% of software was changed, then used.
  • 2% of software was used as delivered.

Additionally, Stratmor Group’s Len Tichy and industry expert Tom Bascom noted in a well-referenced article that 80% of all loan origination software fails to meet expectations, and 10% fail outright or is never installed.

That leaves only 10% successful, a significant and costly quandary. 

So how can lenders avoid being flattened on the technology implementation freeway?

One answer is to think outside the box: mortgage bankers should consider project management or a PMO (program management office) structure within their organization. Think of this role as working as a chief of staff to the firm’s CEO.

In a typical mortgage banking business, there are underwriters, processors, closers, shippers and a secondary person, among others, but rarely a position dedicated to project management. The ability to get things done across functions with the end state in mind requires an individual or small group of people who are not involved in the manufacturing flow of loans.

The lack of such roles has led to many failed implementations.

Creating an autonomous role apart from the business functions, however, is only half the battle. That role should focus not just on technology, but also on solving business problems and identifying business opportunities. Items like training, process redesign, and compliance are perfect areas for enhanced project management or a PMO. 

In doing so, mortgage lenders can better address systems, processes and procedures related and unrelated to technology—key to the overall success of their business.

Wil Armstrong is CEO of Colorado-based Blueberry Systems. This blog is excerpted from an earlier post.