I recently passed the one-year milestone as CIO of Highlands Residential Mortgage. As I reflect on my time here, one thing that stands out as having a significant impact was changing our approach to reporting and data aggregation. Implementing a fairly simple solution succeeded in changing the mindset of IT from being a business resource to a strategic partner focused on revenue generation.
Early on, I realized that all reporting from IT was happening ad hoc. One-off reports were being pulled from individual systems, and much of it was reactive. From a data perspective, all of our insights were fragmented. So we purchased a business intelligence and reporting solution that enables us to aggregate and store data in a central database.
Getting a centralized view of what’s happening within our organization has allowed us to realize three main business benefits.
1. Recognize patterns in data – Before implementing this solution, we could tell the organization “Our pull-through rate from locked to funded this month is 85 percent.” Well, that’s great, but ultimately meaningless without something to compare it to. Were we trending in the right direction? Is 85 percent ideal, average, or worrisome? We needed a way to tell better stories with the data we were tracking.
Now we are able to look at trends month over month and create meaningful reports for the organization. The reports are color coded: red means we’re going obviously in the wrong direction; yellow indicates things are stagnant; and green, of course, means growth or success. Rather than spending our time pulling random, single points of data, we focus our time on investigating the red, which has made reporting more efficient, timely, and actionable.
2. Become a partner to the business versus a resource – Implementing this tool has changed the way in which the IT organization provides a broader perspective to the business month over month. We are no longer seen as just a resource to the business. Instead of reacting to business requests to pull specific reports or data insights, we can now proactively address issues or ideas focused on growing the business in new ways.
3. Focus on revenue generation – The mortgage business differs from the banking business in that customers generally don’t switch banks without going through a number of steps. It’s more of a hassle. In the mortgage world, customers can easily shop around for the best rate. Gaining a big picture view of reporting trends has enabled us to better identify where we are losing customers and revenue opportunities, why were are losing them, and who we are losing them to. From an IT perspective, we’re shifting into an analyst role and helping the business find new areas of revenue generation.
Beyond these benefits for the business, our new approach to reporting has led to some personal benefits for those in IT. We are a small team made up of industry experts who have all been in the mortgage industry for a long time – in both IT and non-IT roles. Thinking about reporting trends in new ways lets the team pull from their past experiences, showcase their expertise, and grow their influence in new ways. It’s been a major confidence boost for many of us in IT.
In a relatively short time, this transformation of reporting in IT has created a significant impact for the business and the individuals on my team. It’s one of my proudest accomplishments from my first year, but it will set up our IT organization for success for years to come.
Subscribe to our weekly newsletter.
Keep up with the latest advice and insights from CIOs and IT leaders.