We found this good advice on the ALTA Discussion Group and had to share it. Thanks to Joe Piernock for granting permission.
“My advice is exactly what you would do with a car: Replace your software if it still stinks after a tune-up, but try the tune-up first.”
In my experience, software under-utilization cannot be avoided in most title installations for three reasons: (1) few Users know the full capabilities of the software or EXACTLY how it was designed to work, (2) I’ve never seen an agency with an IT Warden with ultimate authority to police inmates on data quality and software setup, and (3) the workday gives no time for Users to do #1 or #2. As a result, I see wider differences between installations of the same software at different companies than I see between different software itself. Great software with sloppy execution will yield a sloppy outcome. Mediocre software with sloppy execution will yield a sloppy outcome.
Changing software has a short term benefit because the vendor usually removes the largest data missteps from the old installation, provides site-specific training, and shows Users how to bridge gaps experienced with the old installation. That does not always mean that the old installation could not do the same thing with proper setup.
So, before switching software, hire an outsider to (1) tune and scrub your existing installation, (2) train Users with monthly hour-long custom sessions, and (3) police the installation with operational and data quality report cards.
I’m an M&A consultant who has worked for the past 15 years with operating systems from dozens of title agencies, large and small. Before title, I had a data engineering consultancy for ten years in all sorts of other industries. Operational systems take careful attention to detail.
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