As lenders consider transitioning to their first loan management system or upgrading to a new LMS, there are bound to be questions about potential issues that could arise during the onboarding process. While concerns are commonplace when major changes are on the horizon, selecting the right LMS vendor and prioritizing solid planning can make the transition into a better system seem seamless. Here are five of the most common worries we hear, and some points to consider as your company looks forward to its LMS upgrade.
The best place to begin is by identifying a vendor that already offers most of the functionality your organization needs. While some lenders are large enough to have the resources and need for customized solutions built from scratch, most companies will benefit from an off-the-shelf solution. This is smart for a lot of reasons. First off, the programs will have a fixed cost you can compare to your current operating expenses and budget accordingly. Secondly, the third party is probably already doing what you need for other companies—meaning there’s a proven track record of successful onboarding, and less maintenance and troubleshooting on your part when an issue arises because the burden is ultimately in the vendor’s hands.
Just like you’d get quotes from several contractors to put a new roof on your house, make sure you’re considering several reputable companies when it comes to selecting software solutions. Go in with a clear understanding of your needs. Set up meetings and have in-depth conversations about the different perspectives they might bring to the table. Ask about out-of-the-box solutions that already exist rather than reinventing the wheel unnecessarily. And work diligently to select the vendor that can implement the right solution for your company.
Upgrading essential parts of any business operations will always mean an investment of time and money—but just how much of either shouldn’t be a surprise that’s sprung on you partway through the onboarding process. Reputable vendors will offer accurate estimates with detailed scopes of work that cover everything needed to integrate your new LMS, expectations spelled out clearly should something on your end of the agreement require more resources than originally budgeted, and very clear processes to avoid those scenarios in the first place.
When selecting a vendor, ask directly about what’s included in the licensing fees, plus any additional fees for upgrades, communication, or any other action that’s considered outside of scope. Also ask for a clear outline of the integration process, including milestone dates, whose time will be required at each step, and what kinds of delays vendors have experienced in the past and how they plan to prevent them.
Reliable vendors provide training and support as important parts of their overall service agreement. Ask about both when doing your initial search for an LMS partner, and don’t accept vague responses to these essential elements for a successful onboarding process.
Good vendors will offer comprehensive demos for lenders and for management and operations teams to make sure that everything is in line with your expectations, and that each team that will interact with the system is comfortable performing their job functions within it. They’ll get your teams running on the new platform, make sure all the data is flowing correctly, and help your agents understand their dashboard insights. Look for vendors that include a monthly bank of hours for development, training, and enhancements at no additional cost.
When it comes to service and support after launch, reputable providers understand that the success of their platform relies on the ability of operators to effectively use it. Look for vendors that offer support delivered by U.S.-based tech teams that specialize in the platform you’re using and are available to provide comprehensive help when you need it.
Selecting an experienced vendor with robust training and support programs ensures that downtime should be nearly non-existent. With a detailed project timeline in place outlining exactly how the company will get from day one of integration to system launch—including clearly-communicated contingency plans, roles and responsibilities, and realistic training and testing milestones—everyone whose work is impacted will be fully prepared to make the switch in real-time, with no downtime. And while some customers will find ways to be dissatisfied with any sign of change, most will appreciate the increased efficiency and responsiveness that will come with the new system.
In reality, some efficiencies will be obvious within days of migrating your operations to a new LMS. Others will become apparent within weeks. The best way to assess the benefits of switching is to select a series of meaningful metrics and begin tracking them before the switch wherever possible, or on day one of the roll-out for sure. Look at things like loan officers’ average daily loans increasing after implementation, and how much quicker customers get their funds under the new system. These numbers provide data that proves the value of the upgrade, helping senior-level decision-makers understand why it’s important to fund improvements in operational efficiencies for lenders and their customers.
At Totality, we understand lenders’ reservations about upending the status quo to implement or upgrade a new loan management system—and that’s why we’re committed to offering a smooth onboarding process that puts our partners’ concerns to rest. Interested in learning more?