Challenges and Solutions When Embracing New Technology

By Tiffany Saraceno, VP Sales, SharperLending
First appeared in Mortgage Women Magazine

In finance and especially in lending departments, technology is a part of work life.  Quite often, if you’re in this business, you find yourself bouncing from system to system, having to become proficient in multiple technology solutions.  Unfortunately, it seems that just when you have it down, someone decides to “try something new” to speed things up, introducing a new technology solution, causing you to change your workflow and learn something brand new.  Again. 

As a Fintech company, we realize how hard it can be for employees to embrace new technologies.  Even when technology promises to deliver more workflow efficiency and cost savings and it’s a no-brainer to make a change, new technology can be challenging for many to adopt.

New technologies mean change: interrupting current processes to adopting new ones, systems, platforms, integrations, data.  New ways of doing an established pattern.  And there is the rub: we are habitual people and in a complicated financial world, consistency brings comfort.  

When a decision maker decides to use new technology and pushes it down department-wide, it can be difficult for everyone to get on board.  How can this process be made as smooth as possible?  Here are some possible solutions for lending departments to consider.

Try to make everyone feel like they are part of choosing the technology
When you have your teammates be a part of the selection process, everyone feels like their voice is being heard.  You get to establish a sense of camaraderie among your team, and there is a sense of safety in sharing opinions.  Schedule software demonstrations with potential new vendors at a time when everyone can be there.  Also, make sure the vendor that’s doing the demo knows that presentation should be short, so everyone’s time feels valued.

Afterward, you can try asking questions about the demo.  Will it accomplish our goals?  What about your specific role?  How will it impact you?  How do you think it will impact the company or the process?  Will it solve current challenges?

Everyone can’t be made happy all the time, but at minimum, even naysayers may feel a sense of inclusion.

Understand Learning Types
Ideally, if and when you make a transition, you will not only understand how you learn best and what your preferences are, but you will also have an understanding of how your peers prefer to learn.  Some might prefer watching a pre-recorded training video.  Others might like in-person training or virtual training sessions so they can ask questions.  Others still may prefer old fashioned user guides, or context-sensitive help features within the technology itself.

If you are a department admin or supervisor, get an understanding of what your staff prefers.  Make sure the technology vendor offers all the preferred training options for your staff to meet their needs – especially a good customer service center.  If a person prefers in-person or virtual training but they are handed pages of PDF training materials, they may be turned off, and the adoption process could run into speedbumps.

Schedule One-on-One Training Geared Toward Job Duties
Not only is it important to know your teammates’ preferences for training – it is important to tailor training on new systems for the job duty.  Make sure the vendor of your new system understands that Loan Officer training will be geared differently than Loan Processor or Appraisal Desk or Appraisal Reviewer training, and can execute on that.

Establishing a process for embracing new technology can take some time, but once your office has one in place, it can prove very valuable.  As we know, there is a financial technology explosion occurring, keeping pace with it can be exhausting, and having a compassionate process for embracing it can save your departments time and heartache.

Tiffany Saraceno is Senior VP of Sales at SharperLending, a FinTech that provides the Appraisal Firewall and Verisite residential and commercial appraisal technology to lenders.  Tiffany joined the SharperLending and Appraisal Firewall teams after 7 years in title and escrow sales. In 2011, she made a career switch to financial technology. Her extensive knowledge of technology, ability to build lasting relationships, and understand where appraisal and mortgage industries are headed has been an asset to financial institutions across the industry.

In her spare time (she will say “what spare time?”) Tiffany has 2 children. She and her husband own a family-run business. They have built or remodeled a home every couple of years for the past 11 years. She loves to garden, and has an orchard at her home where she loves to dote on fruits, veggies, kids, and on her 4 rescued dogs.

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