When it comes to evaluating software options, comparing sticker prices between platforms may not be the most reliable indicator of true expenditures. Not all software providers are created equal. This is especially evident when comparing cloud (software as a service or SaaS) solutions with on-premise solutions. Breaking down the true costs associated with your current software can be an eye-opening exercise.
Lara Wells, Strategic Enterprise Account Executive at Qualia, helps title & escrow businesses evaluate the costs associated with their software and identifies areas where businesses can save money. Her reports often result in sizable cost savings for title & escrow businesses.
Lara uses a formulaic approach to uncover cost reduction opportunities. She breaks costs into four categories: 1) hardware & software maintenance costs 2) add-on software costs 3) security & database monitoring 4) software training costs.
Hardware & software maintenance costs
Many title & escrow software providers use on-premise infrastructure. These servers not only require initial installation costs, they also require ongoing maintenance. Businesses must consider the IT costs associated with on-premise server maintenance including hours spent on keeping servers running.
Lara noted that many clients she works with experience end of the month slow downs. These are often due to overburdened settlement software accommodating heavy transaction volume. As a result, IT teams focus on resolving slow downs which disrupts their ability to make global improvements to infrastructure. This also leads to scrambling at the end of the month as IT teams work to ensure processors can deliver on-time closings. This strain is eliminated with web-based software. With web-based solutions, IT departments can spend their time and energy on process optimization projects that minimize cost and help drive new business value.
Businesses with software that requires on-premise servers “spend 80% of their time focused on their network and maintaining their existing servers and only 20% of their time leveraging their software to improve business efficiencies,” Lara said. “Meanwhile, businesses using cloud-based software spend only 20% of their time managing their IT infrastructure and 80% of their time growing their business through greater efficiencies.”
In an interview with Qualia, Ohio Real Title President, Ryan T. Marrie said that with a cloud-based provider like Qualia, his team can continue to grow and scale to new offices because his IT department does not need to worry about infrastructure. Instead, they rely on Qualia to manage these demands and focus their energy on other areas. Some common areas that IT and engineering departments are able to redirect their energy include:
- Developing tools measure efficiency to create better optimizations
- Improving integrations with clients alongside their software provider
- Building products and tools that differentiate the business from competitors
For businesses with multiple offices, on-premise server costs associated with a multi-site environment (including work from home enablement) may include VPN access and other IT demands. Lara noted that through her analysis with one Texas title company, they were able to determine that the number of virtual servers could be reduced from eight to three by using a cloud-based system like Qualia.
Add-on software costs
In addition to server maintenance costs, many on-premise servers also require additional software to support operations. A few examples of additional software and services that may need to be purchased in addition to the other core workflow software are:
- eSigning technology platforms
- Microsoft Office license (to adjust and customize documents)
- Customer relationship management (CRM) software
- Remote online notarization (RON) platforms
- Video conferencing platforms
- Accounting and reconciliations software
- Integrations with lenders and underwriter partners (most cloud platforms include Application Programming Interface (API) that make integrations easier).
Some software providers (such as Qualia) include many of these services within their platform which eliminates extraneous license and subscription costs, as well as implementation burdens.
By using a workflow software that includes features which manage additional tasks (such as those mentioned above), employees can limit the amount of time they spend jumping from different systems and managing different logins. For example, Patten Title was able to save up to 45 minutes per file with Qualia because their entire title processing workflow could be completed within one platform.
Security & Database Monitoring
Title & escrow businesses and their clients face serious financial implications from security breaches. Real estate is a growing target among cyber criminals, and as a result, many title & escrow businesses are budgeting more money into systems to mitigate security risks.
Cloud-based technology offers an advantage over on-premise platforms because it is automatically updated by the cloud vendor. Security updates do not need to be installed manually, and users don’t need to spend time or money gaining access to the latest security upgrades.
Some protections that are provided through cloud-based providers like Qualia include:
- Database monitoring: measures capacity and prevents database outages and loss of vital information
- Application and web monitoring: front and backend monitoring that prevents breeches and points of failure that can impact usability, trust, and reputation
- Phishing and fraud protection and testing
- Content security policy: an added layer of protection that helps to protect against certain types of attacks including penetration testing and cross site scripting (XSS) attacks
- Data encryption: prevents data visibility in the event of its unauthorized access to internal systems.
Software training costs
While businesses should invest in employee training programs, learning costs can be greatly reduced by partnering with software providers that offer on-demand training. For example, Qualia offers users a program called Qualia University. Through Qualia University, users can access unlimited, self-paced training videos to master Qualia software and gain other valuable professional skills.
Effective training can also result in cost savings down the road. It’s estimated that in the US and UK alone, businesses spend $37 billion annually to keep unproductive and uninformed employees on staff. With more efficient, effective, and knowledgeable staff, businesses can grow their teams and operations more effectively.
If you’re interested in working with Qualia to identify opportunities for cost savings in your business, click below to schedule a call with a Qualia Specialist.