We originally launched Qualia almost a decade ago with the belief that a modern technology infrastructure could fundamentally transform homebuying into a simple, secure, and enjoyable experience for everyone involved. We’re thrilled today to announce the launch of Qualia Atlas, a major milestone on the path to achieving this ultimate vision.
Atlas is a new enterprise solution we’ve added to Qualia’s modern, cloud-based title, escrow, and closing platform. It combines title and escrow production and vendor management, along with client, partner, and homebuyer connectivity. In addition, the solution also includes newly developed advanced configurability and automations that teams can use to manage the unique complexity of multi-regional and national enterprise operations.
Given the magnitude of this release, I wanted to share what brought us to this inflection point for Qualia as a company and for the title and escrow industry more broadly.
What I’m about to share covers:
- What the Connected Transaction is and why it’s important
- How our products have evolved for enterprise companies over the years
- The ways Qualia Atlas supports the change to this new paradigm so you can be part of it
If you haven’t explored the Qualia platform for enterprises before, I invite you to check it out. If you haven’t seen it recently, I encourage you to come back and learn about the newer updates to our full suite of products and services.
The Connected Transaction
In recent years, a wave of digital transformation has swept through many industries, including the real estate and mortgage industries. Mortgage lenders and brokerages have rapidly incorporated new technology to deliver digitally forward experiences for their clients (e.g., homebuyers, sellers, and owners).
While this has allowed lenders and brokerages to make improvements to the consumer experience over the past few years, these investments have only been able to take them so far. They still struggle to efficiently collaborate behind the scenes given the complexity of working with a wide variety of transaction partners across all their files. Their processes across partners are often inconsistent and highly manual, which limits their ability to deliver fast, transparent closings.
Title and escrow companies, of course, play a pivotal role when it comes to bringing efficiency and visibility into the closing process. As the central party in the transaction, they must gather detailed information from other transaction parties, complete critical tasks with this information, and keep these parties updated as the closing progresses. The latter is particularly important as the lender and real estate agent must themselves complete tasks based off the outcome of work completed by the title company.
As a result, closings can only move as quickly as information can be securely exchanged and acted upon between a title and escrow company and its partners. For example, the moment the title company inputs a piece of information relevant to the lender into their system, the lender would receive that information, and a set of workflows could automatically kick off within the lender’s system based on the nature of that information. Because a transaction consists of many such exchanges back and forth between the title company, lender, real estate agent, underwriter, etc., in succession, building a new level of connectivity between these parties is critical. The work of completing a transaction shouldn’t take as much time as it currently does, it’s the chain of dependencies which elongates a closing and creates friction in the transaction.
To truly streamline the homebuying experience for the end consumer at scale, our industry must head towards perfecting this shared experience—what we at Qualia call the “Connected Transaction.” That is, a real estate closing that can be structured, automated, and delivered end-to-end, taking into account the work of all parties that orchestrate the closing for the consumer.
Structured Information Exchange
Facilitating the necessary bi-directional exchange of information between title companies and other transaction parties is not easy. This is for two reasons.
First, each transaction party has its own siloed systems where it holds transaction data and operates its business. As a result of these silos, there isn’t a single source of truth for critical information that every party works from.
Second, even if the information were straightforward to access, it isn’t structured. That is, it isn’t stored in a format that is immediately recognizable and actionable by a technology system without a human or other tool first interpreting it.
This makes it very difficult for a system—whether that is the title company’s system or a partner system—to understand the nature of a piece of information and take action off of it when updates arise. This creates an incalculable amount of workflow downtime (i.e., the time wasted by each party in a real estate transaction waiting for information from another party, then inputting it, parsing it, or validating it), which slows down a transaction.
Dynamic Workflows and Updates
It has historically been difficult for transaction partners to automatically react to each others’ dependent workflows in an efficient way. Ideally, contingent tasks should automatically be added in the moment as additional information is received from a transaction party or input by a processor. These workflows could include internal tasks that need to be performed by a processor. But they could also include other tasks that can be automatically performed by the system, like ordering additional services from vendors or sending an information request to a party.
What’s needed is an interoperable set of solutions that receive, store, and transmit data in a structured format, thus enabling a domino-like level of automation encompassing the full set of dependent transaction workflows across parties.
Qualia has always supported title & escrow organizations of all sizes with challenges like this, from smaller agencies and real estate law firms to larger multi-state operations operating at scale. Our products and services have historically resonated particularly well with companies that are typically operating in a single region, often processing dozens to up to a few hundred orders a month, and are known for providing outstanding work to their local real estate agent and lender clients.
For these title & escrow agencies and real estate law firms, leveraging our existing product line has successfully led to forms of a Connected Transaction by streamlining their internal operations, simplifying how they manage their vendors, and transforming how they connect with their clients and consumers. We will continue to heavily invest in these award-winning products for our growing community of thousands of agents using them to process millions of transactions a year.
Supporting Distinct Challenges for Enterprises
Today’s enterprise title & escrow organizations, however, are confronted with distinct challenges that make the Connected Transaction even more difficult to achieve when they are taken into account. These companies often operate across several states, process thousands of orders per month with large multi-office internal teams, and must meet the fast-changing diverse needs of many national lender and brokerage partners.
Recognizing this, our team has spent the last few years building the differentiated functionality that these complex enterprises need to fully enable the Connected Transaction. We have taken major steps to design Atlas to support the highest degree of transaction complexity, every regional nuance, and the evolving partner service requirements these organizations face, all while keeping operations efficient and workflows manageable.
With the introduction of Atlas, Qualia is now a much different platform today than it was even just three or four years ago.
Designed Alongside Industry Experts
Our recent advancement is in large part due to the deepening of our team’s expertise.
Over the last three years, we have engaged with hundreds of enterprise companies—many at our own events—to better understand how we should tailor our investments to best serve the needs of the market.
Additionally, we have added many more industry veterans to our Product, Support, and Professional Services Teams. These individuals have continued to provide invaluable insights into what we’re building, how we’re building it, and how we can support our customers’ adoption of these new ways of working.
Perhaps the biggest addition we’ve made, though, was at the end of 2020 when Qualia joined forces with Adeptive Software, the developer of Resware, as a means to deepen our collective expertise in enterprise workflows and technology best practices within the real estate transaction. Through the acquisition, we’ve been able to bring new technology innovations and development practices to the Resware product, while also expanding the expertise of the team designing the workflows that power the overall Qualia platform, including Atlas. Resware is a powerful solution in its own right, particularly for those companies with the vision, resources, and preference to continue to build custom solutions to meet their business needs. We remain excited about our continued investments in the Resware product and what we’ll build for it for years to come.
Between the Resware and Atlas products, the Qualia platform is now suited to meet the varying needs of any large complex title company regardless of how they prefer to operate.
Our Differentiated Solution with Atlas
Taking all the above considerations into account, we developed the point of view that the future for title and escrow operations needs to go beyond just automating many complex internal workflows. The next chapter of our industry will require developing efficient ways to automate the dependent workflows of the title company’s various transaction partners so they can experience the benefits as well.
As a result, we built Atlas with the key features required to power a fully Connected Transaction experience, including:
- A shared system with lenders and brokerages that hosts a single source of truth for structured closing data
- A way to collect information in a structured format from vendor partners
- Bi-directional integrations with banking partners to streamline escrow workflows
- A single portal for information gathering, document exchange, signing, receiving updates, and more to provide homebuyers and sellers a unified closing experience
In addition, we developed functionality that enterprise organizations uniquely need to drive internal efficiency, such as:
- Automated default settings for order opening, roles, documents, fees, and title services placement
- Advanced permissioning, privacy settings, and configurations
- Advanced processor workflows and features built for large, centralized teams
- Data access via an API for advanced reporting and system integrations to CRM and BI tools
Avoiding Workflow Debt
A major focus we had when designing Atlas was avoiding the proliferation of the “workflow debt,” which has historically held back enterprises from expansion or evolving to meet new client needs over time.
Many companies we talk with share some form of the same sentiment that the complexity they’ve built into their systems is their competitive differentiator. While that traditional way of operating may have met a title and escrow operation’s needs for a period, over time maintaining, updating, and optimizing such a schema of tasks, workflows, and automations can become rather untenable.
As title professionals focus on driving towards a more streamlined, automated, and connected transaction, we are starting to see simplicity becoming a competitive differentiator. Nevertheless, it requires a change in how teams think about operating with the new technology that is now available.
We recognize that change can be hard, especially for large organizations that have developed long standing processes based on how their systems used to work.
With that in mind, we created an operational Workflow Framework to support our Atlas customers as they transition onto Qualia. The Workflow Framework outlines how to support complex requirements in Atlas using a much more manageable combination of configurable base workflows, task action groups, and automations, thereby eliminating workflow debt. In addition, for organizations that require more hands-on support, our Professional Services team can work with you to design and implement workflows that meet your needs.
Title & escrow companies have often been historically blamed for slow, opaque closing experiences, when in reality, it is their technology, not their teams, that hold them back. We believe it doesn’t need to be that way.
Our launch of Qualia Atlas today is a huge milestone on the path towards the Connected Transaction, but it is not where our journey ends. As we look to the road ahead, we still have a lot more to do as an industry. We need to continue to develop innovative technology, ensure successful adoption of the new tools that are now available, and focus on our connections with the real estate ecosystem at large. I’m more optimistic than ever that the innovations companies adopt now will not only help them navigate the current market conditions, but they will also set the stage for how the industry operates for decades to come.