Ben Teerlink of Mobility Market Intelligence: Using Change Management to Turn Adoption Woes into Adoption “Whoas”

Ben Teerlink

Ben Teerlink is founder and CEO of Mobility Market Intelligence, Salt Lake City, Utah, a provider of data intelligence and market insight tools for lenders, real estate agents, real estate brokerages and title companies. With a background in both real estate and data analytics, he uses his breadth of experience to expand the mortgage and real estate industries’ understanding of how the right data can be used to influence growth and positively impact business operations.

Software as a Service (SaaS) has emerged as a game-changer in the past few years, enabling organizations to streamline operations, increase efficiency and drive growth. SaaS is easier to maintain, faster to update and more efficient to deliver to users, making it easy to see why businesses have embraced SaaS.

Unfortunately, limited adoption of SaaS solutions within an organization has many of these products perceived as having over promised and under delivered. To alter this perspective and increase SaaS adoption, businesses need to update their approach to SaaS adoption and utilize change management as the driving concept of the adoption process.

Change management is an organized approach to model employee behavior during a process change by anticipating and addressing the potential issues employees could face. Using change management helps to increase employee buy-in from the beginning of the implementation process and increases the likelihood of widespread adoption.

There’s barely a function in the mortgage industry that hasn’t migrated to SaaS, including functionalities related to operations, loan origination and the consumer’s digital mortgage experience. While the mortgage industry is essentially run by SaaS, not every solution is utilized to its full potential, and many are plagued by a lack of adoption.  

Since SaaS is typically a plug-and-play solution, too many companies assume it will be easier for employees to adopt the software and begin using it immediately. This thinking couldn’t be farther from the truth and is one of the main reasons that 70% of digital transformations fail. Not only are humans reluctant to change, but if the current system is working, many will approach new software with the mindset of “don’t fix what isn’t broken.” In 2022, lenders viewed the difficulty of getting loan originators (LOs) to change their processes and behavior as the second biggest barrier to tech adoption, behind cost, which is really only an issue if lenders don’t realize the benefits and value of the tech.

This is where change management comes in. By employing change management, lenders, with the help of their vendor partners, can increase and expedite successful SaaS implementations. After all, the vendor knows its product best, can effectively demonstrate the software’s full potential and can help guide employee adoption. Effective change management relies on these key elements:

•         Define the scope and objectives – know and communicate why adopting the tech is beneficial to the company and employees and be able to define how the tech will impact employees’ workloads.

•         Involve the right internal stakeholders – by involving the employees most impacted by the process change, executives can address user concerns and resistance as they come up and adjust as needed.

•         Communicate – by effectively communicating every step of the way, lenders can engage employees and increase their buy-in.

•         Monitor and refine the adoption process – with consistent monitoring, lenders can see what is and isn’t working in real time and refine the process to create a smoother transition for employees.

•         Engage employees – engaging employees during and after the adoption process helps promote positive behavior and incentivizes and increases adoption.

It’s important to remember that while successful SaaS adoption is measured by widespread employee use, executives’ attitudes will set the tone. In fact, organizational transformation is five times more likely to be successful when management leads with a positive attitude toward change.

In 2021, more than 41% of organizations using SaaS reported that up to 19% of their spending on these solutions is wasted on unused or underutilized licenses.

For independent mortgage bankers (IMBs), that wasted spending equated to an average of $166 per loan (based on the Q4 2022 cost to originate). It’s a common complaint among lenders that technology hasn’t lowered the cost to originate. However, one could argue that the lackluster adoption of technology is the real problem.

Successful SaaS adoption requires a strategic approach to change management. By leveraging these best practices, lenders can eliminate the woes of SaaS adoption, such as employee resistance. Change management also helps maximize the benefits of SaaS, leading lenders to say “whoa” when they see the impact on their bottom line.

When it comes to change management, we aren’t just talking the talk. In the process of researching and drafting this article, we took the time to also evaluate how we currently work with our clients to drive adoption. MMI is in the process of implementing a more strategic approach to change management with the goal of helping our clients maximize the benefits of our tools. We look forward to reporting back with these results.

(Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect policies of the Mortgage Bankers Association, nor do they connote an MBA endorsement of a specific company, product or service. MBA NewsLink welcomes your submissions. Inquiries can be sent to Editor Michael Tucker or Editorial Manager Anneliese Mahoney)