When failing isn't an option.

Author:Stack, Andy
Position:Business Class - Survey

In the halcyon days of our industry, many lenders had the luxury of experimenting with new processes, technologies and innovations. But with today's economic challenges reaching unprecedented levels, many mortgage information technology (IT) professionals are being pressed harder than ever to justify every dollar spent on new technology. Of specific interest to chief executive officers (CEOs) and chief financial officers (CFOs) are expected returns on investment (ROIs) and assurances from senior IT staff that any system or process being considered for implementation cannot fail.

With that in mind, one must first understand the leading root cause of project failure and then plan accordingly to minimize risk. CIO magazine published a research article on the subject, from which one could conclude that quality education (or the lack thereof) was the single greatest determinant of whether an implementation of a new system would succeed or fail.

In fact, a full 75 percent of IT executives surveyed about enterprise system rollouts said the one thing they would do differently on future projects would be dedicate more time and resources to education. That said, we're not talking about the "what" of training here, but rather the when, why, who and how much.

The "what" of training is defined by questions such as, "What buttons do I push to process an order," "What function do I use to pull a report?," and the like. Sorry, but if the software you're purchasing isn't highly intuitive and user-friendly, you ought to think twice about the investment.

Most of today's work force is technologically sophisticated enough to muscle their way through just about any end-user application. So, by concentrating your training effort on when, why, who and how much, you'll win the hearts and minds of the employees--and the odds of a successful implementation will go way up.


Often training is left as the last action item on a project schedule, and is forced to compete with deadlines that are immovable. Again, research shows that the earlier users are brought into the implementation process through education, the better the end result.

Our very own Internal Revenue Service (IRS) fell victim to the "too little, too late" training scenario when attempting to upgrade its electronic fraud-detection system in 2005. As reported by the Office of Inspector General (OIG), the IRS refunded more than $300 million to fraudulent tax returns because it could not get its system up...

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