With the housing market picking up, conveyancing firms realise that they need to offer (at the very least) the pre-recession level of service again, but the technology landscape has actually moved forward in the interim. So the systems they now deploy must complement current business needs whilst allowing for future improvements to processes; meet the expectations of a new, tech savvy breed of customer; support a continued evolution of electronic commerce; and for multi-service firms, should allow seamless operation across the business to avoid technology and system islands.
There is of course no dearth of technology for the conveyancing sector, so choosing a solution that best meets the needs of individual firms is critical. But how do you decide what is the best and most cost-effective solution for your business?
Before you take the plunge, here are some considerations:
- Aspirations of your firm – It’s essential to have clarity on what you need today, but it’s just as vital to clearly understand what kind of conveyancing practice you want to be in the future. Do you aspire to be a volume conveyancer, a niche conveyancer for certain types of properties, a high value services provider, or something different? Your firm’s aspiration (and not just in relation to conveyancing) must determine the type of system to deploy – based on an understanding of the service being delivered today and your future vision.
- Departmental versus integrated – Many systems today are departmental, isolated solutions, so if you’re simply focussed on conveyancing and are of a certain size, they may work. However, will an ‘island strategy’ suit if you’re a wider or growing business? Aspirations to deliver greater operational levels may dictate the need for a larger solution with perhaps more robust functionality. It’s highly likely that if conveyancing is core to your business, you’ll require a specialist conveyancing case management solution to integrate with other technology systems such as finance, marketing and the like. A niche, standalone solution could potentially cause your IT function a fair number of headaches should the need arise in the future to amalgamate technologies, or extend into other areas.
- Value in the long run – Adopting a solution that is cost effective initially, but costs a fortune to adapt to future requirements or is unable to meet future demands is akin to being “penny wise, but pound foolish”. Implement a solution for short-term objectives, but with long-term vision. It should be possible to adopt out-of-the-box solutions today for current business needs, but then leverage the software’s development capability to add new features, functionality and business applications that support new business requirements cost-effectively and easily, and ideally without recourse to the original supplier.
- Transparency – Successful conveyancing relies on excellent communication and transfer of information between multiple parties. In today’s ‘always-on’, mobile society, there is an immediacy with which information needs to be shared with customers and other organisations. In reality this ability is becoming a key differentiator for firms and is considered best practice. The Conveyancing Association’s Best Practice Guide suggests that conveyancers give estate agents access to online tracking in order to improve communication between the two sides. The case management system you chose must have the capability to extend this service to end customers too, without forcing you to select from a limited list of options.
- Supplier track record – Longevity in the market and a proven track record of delivery is vital, but alongside it needs to be a reputation for continuous product investment and development.
As much as possible, conveyancing needs to be a personalised and seamless service across all facets of a transaction. The right technology can facilitate this. Invest today with tomorrow in mind!