The real estate and title markets are dealing with lower volumes right now, which means increased competition and pressure for businesses to stay profitable. However, it’s also a good time to invest in digital transformation. HousingWire recently spoke with Michael Valdes, president and founder of Axis Technical Group, about investing in automation technologies as a way to prepare for the next boom cycle.
HousingWire: Why is now a good time to invest in new automation technologies for real estate and title?
Michael Valdes: It is well known that the real estate industry is cyclical with periods of “feast or famine.” We just finished a big feast. Recent Fed actions and concerns over a possible recession have put the brakes on transaction volume. This will create challenges for some companies. Focus has shifted to cost containment.
Interestingly, a contrarian perspective might be a better option. This is especially the case if your long-term strategy is growth. Now is an ideal time to invest in automation systems and digital workflows. To start, time and resources are more readily available. New systems are easier to test, implement and optimize with lower transaction volume. And the opportunity cost of losing new business is much lower.
Those with the insight to do this type of investment now will be in a far stronger position to take advantage of the next boom cycle. Higher transaction volume will then be better managed. New efficiency gains can defer or even avoid potential future resource constraints. Combined, these factors can have a really big impact on future profit potential for firms with this insight.
HW: What are the benefits of these automation strategies?
MV: A comprehensive automation strategy offers many advantages. This is especially the case when an industry is in a digital transformation, such as what we are all experiencing in the real estate and title insurance industries. We saw a lot of change over the past two years. Many of these changes will remain.
As successful companies such as Google and Apple have shown us, everyone wins when a complex process is simplified or automated. Employees are better utilized by spending their time where judgment is needed. An automation strategy can not only streamline repetitive processes to save time and money, but it can also unlock new business scalability options to respond faster to change. Automation can ease the visibility of business transactions and provide new insights for process improvement. When combined, these factors can have a dramatic impact on employee productivity and morale, and customer satisfaction.
HW: What automation options exist?
MV: Many parts of a business can be automated. Any repetitive or higher volume actions that are performed are an ideal candidate for automation. Examples include customer inquiries, qualification and review processes, and any other process involved in data acquisition.
A common theme is that the “inputs” for a process need to be digitized. For example, the title insurance industry still relies on paper-based documents and manual review processes. To effectively automate this process, systems will need to be implemented that can more effectively perform document management and data extraction to acceptable levels. The transition may need to be gradual to provide sufficient time to be part of your automation strategy. The important thing is to start planning now.
HW: How is Axis Technical Group poised to help decision-makers set up a more data-driven, automated infrastructure?
MV: Technology plays a critical role in driving innovation. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are two great examples. These technologies are now unlocking superior automation performance.
Specifically, data extraction processes can be “learned” quickly whereby the intelligence gathered by AI-driven algorithms can collect data with greater accuracy and context. This innovative approach extracts unstructured data with context – intelligence that can be used to accelerate the performance of any automated business process.
Axis Technical Group has built an AI-driven data extraction engine specifically tailored to the title insurance industry. This solution, available as a managed service, can deliver superior performance and play a critical role in a company’s overall automation strategy. Our professional services team has successfully implemented this new solution at several locations. The results continue to surprise our clients, which has created many new opportunities for other performance and scalability improvement programs.
Learn more about this managed service offering at: https://axistechnical.com/services/axis-smart-data-extraction/.