Spring Cleaning for Your Business
You might have already gotten your Spring Cleaning done at home, but did you get it done in your business? If you have a mess of Excel sheets cluttering up folders on your desktop, it might be time to get an analytics solution.
Why do I need an analytics platform?
First, let’s not assume that you do need one. Very small organizations or sole proprietors might not need a detailed dashboarding solution. Chances are, a few well-formatted Excel sheets will do the job. However, there starts to be a point where insights and metrics need to be communicated to a wide audience and need to be reasonably accurate and up to date at all times. You might notice that an emailed Excel sheet goes through a game of telephone, in which formulas are slightly changed, slicers are deactivated and titles are changed (either on purpose or by accident) and the data changes wildly as a result. You might also notice people in your organization being out of the loop, since this critical information is just buried in their inbox. Typically for mortgage companies, this happens around the $1B mark.
How do I choose an analytics platform?
This might be one of the most daunting tasks out there for CIOs, CTOs and CEOs. In a world jam-packed with features that seem like slight variations on the same thing, staying focused on a few key must-haves can help you cut down the number of demos you have to sit through and help make implementation a little easier.
This might go without saying, but it’s unlikely that everyone in your company has a fine understanding of statistics. They also likely don’t all have business degrees. That says, the data doesn’t just belong to the people in the company that are experts. Your employees deserve to know what their targets are and whether they are hitting them across departments. That means you need a platform that allows users to have prescribed access to that they need to see AND allows for easy reading and interactivity. If your chart types are limited to tables and pie charts, you’re missing out on key presentation opportunities.
Lots of platforms will allow you to export data to share it, but you’re really going back to square one if that’s the primary method of disseminating data to your users. Workers receive, on average, about 121 emails per day. If you’re in the mortgage industry, it can be many, many more, the bulk of which comes from internal alerts from the LOS, employee software, etc. If you’re depending on the inbox, you’re probably going to have your analytics implementation fall through the cracks.
Features like group chat, annotations and threaded conversations next to the data you’re referencing keep the activity out of the inbox and on topic. This particularly helps if you have remote teams or are trying to avoid having a meeting based on a simple question. Clear ownership is key here as well, since the data you’re looking at may have been manipulated to fit a specific use case. You’re better off going to the source of the information than asking a department head in cases where complicated transformations or non-intuitive calculation methods are involved.
Most modern businesses aren’t getting data from a single source. In order to get the most out of an enterprise analytics tool, you need to be able to access your primary data source (like an LOS) as well as dozens of others: marketing data, industry data, pricing, and more all need to be able to funnel in to create actionable insights. Further, it needs to be easy to join these disparate sources together to look for patterns that might reveal opportunities or pitfalls. You’ll want to be familiar with all the tools your business is using already and select something that complements them.
This one will largely depend on your audience size and what you want to achieve with the data. If you’re a large firm, it’s not advisable to enable every member of the business to create reports. That’s how you end up with a costly system with thousands of slightly different reports that don’t tell you very much. Look for a system with the ability to give viewership access to your users rather than full admin access to everyone to save both money and headache. You’ll also want to think about the cost of the roll out and the time spent on maintenance. This feeds into the next feature to look for.
Many of the top platforms are industry agnostic. This can be a great thing because it usually means lots of flexibility in the tools offered on the platform, but can also mean a lengthy process of wading through what a mortgage lender actually needs. Most platforms also offer a partnership program for implementations, which can save time and money by getting your analytics program off to a quick start. You’ll want to make sure the partner your choose has some idea of what mortgage lenders use on a day to day basis so you can use your reporting right away. At Amata Solutions, we’re mortgage specialists with almost 10 years combined experience in the space. Contact us today to talk about tailored analytics solutions for mortgage lending that can help you optimize production, operations, marketing, recruiting, human resources and more.