This post is the first of a multi-part series on digital maturity -- a concept centered on a business’ ability to compete effectively in an increasingly digital world.
When you hear of industry disruptors like blockchain, eClosings, or iBuying, is your initial reaction fear or optimism? According to a recent study, companies that are more digitally-centered are more likely to feel confident in the face of disruption and come out ahead.
In the fall of 2018, MIT Sloan Management Review collaborated with Deloitte to survey more than 4,800 business professionals from organizations of various sizes around the world. Among a number of findings, the survey found that employees at “digitally-maturing” companies believed their organizations could adapt to marketplace changes and expand their capabilities in the face of disruption. Meanwhile, employees at other companies felt disempowered in the face of disruption and viewed disruption as a result of market forces they could not control.
What is “Digital Maturity”?
According to Deloitte, “digital maturity is about adapting the organization to compete effectively in an increasingly digital environment.” The definition goes on to assert that maturity is not just about implementing technology -- it’s about aligning strategy, culture, workflows, and structure to meet “digital expectations” of both customers and employees.
For digitally-maturing organizations, technology is the backbone of the company’s processes and strategy. These companies look through a digital lens to determine how technology can be leveraged for the greatest business impact.
What Does Digital Maturity Mean for Title & Escrow Companies?
Simply purchasing a new software to check the "technology" box will not bring about the transformation necessary to compete in an increasingly digital environment. Title & escrow companies must evaluate how they can leverage technology to improve the customer experience, enhance their interoperability with underwriter partners and other vendors, improve their efficiency and workflows, and help them stay ahead of increasingly advanced cyber security threats.
Taking the First Steps Toward Digital Maturity
It’s clear that “digitally-maturing” businesses place technology at the core of their operations and leverage technology to empower their employees. Making the adjustment toward technology-enabled workflows may sound daunting; however, it can be done effectively by keeping employees at the heart of the transition process.
Joe Curtis, COO of California based escrow company Pango Group says that switching to a new software requires both technical training and a level-setting of expectations for employees. “When we transitioned to new software, we recognized that human emotions were also at play,” Curtis said. “Change management is key to helping employees feel confident with new processes.”
Change Management Best Practices
Qualia’s Director of Customer Success, Rob Zambito, leads a team to onboard companies onto Qualia’s software. Over the past few years, Rob has researched change management and best practices for transitioning both large and small companies onto new systems. He believes successful migration comes down to 5 key strategies.
- Define your goals: When onboarding new title & escrow companies onto Qualia’s software, Rob and his team first determine the short and long-term goals and how return on the software investment will be measured. Rob’s team also helps companies dig deeper to uncover goals outside of pure business numbers. “Our onboarding process centers around helping the client, not just implementing the software,” he says. "We work with clients to understand their goals from high-level business aspirations to specific title needs. Even if a client says their goal is to spend more time with their family, we work to incorporate this goal into the onboarding messaging."
- Identify a point person and power users: Clear delineation of responsibility is essential. Each transition should designate a single point person who owns the transition end-to-end. The success or failure of the transition is this person's primary responsibility. This individual also may employ the help of several "power users." Power users are individuals responsible for knowing the software best and training their teams. Generally, there is one power user per department or branch. This method of segmenting larger organizations allows not only a more tactical, "divide and conquer" approach to training each department based on its unique needs; it also helps lessen the burden on owners and provides a great leadership opportunity for folks within the team.
- Set clear timelines and over-communicate them: It’s essential to communicate (and even over-communicate) timelines in channels the whole company can access. This ensures no one will be surprised by the transition and that everyone feels confident with the new tools and processes before the go-live date. “We also ensure all stakeholders are bought in on the proposed timeline to make sure the timelines are realistic,” Rob says. “We recommend asking your onboarding specialist for industry benchmarks and best practices when creating proposed timelines."
- Make onboarding fun: Training on a new software can be challenging. “To keep employees engaged, you might consider ordering lunch and creating some friendly competition between teams with games and quizzes,” Rob says.
- Structure clear channels for feedback and recurring bases to check in: Change inherently brings uncertainty. Every employee should be trained on a uniform protocol for dealing with novel or uncertain situations. All team members should have a specific format for keeping notes on the transition throughout the day. It's also recommended to establish a recurring weekly meeting or office hours to answer questions on a consistent basis.
How an organization implements technology is only a small piece of the “digital maturity” pie. Businesses must evaluate strategy, talent management, organizational structure, and leadership to effectively compete in the emerging digital environment. In this series, we’ll explore all of the components necessary for digital maturity. Here's a preview of what's to come:
- Leading in a digital age: advice from leaders at title companies undergoing digital transformations
- Talent magnets: training and learning tools to attract and retain talent
- The long game: planning tools for navigating our digital future
- Scaling for success: product management best practices and playbooks for testing projects