I never dreamt that I would be a CIO - but running a company means you are (or should be) the most knowledgeable person within the organization. Being that person also means you are now the architect of your technology infrastructure. Ninety percent of companies use “technology in a box.” I went in a different direction and hitched my cart to a programmer to customize a technology platform with the adaptability for growth. Be prepared that this journey is costly and time-consuming, but having the flexibility is worth every penny. My programmer calls me “rainbows and unicorns.” If I can dream it up, she can build it!
When building a technology platform, I build my framework based on user interaction, data insight, applications, and integration.
Technology is always built with a user's needs in mind. Start by defining how people in and outside the company will interact with the system. Internal user interaction is essential because it determines how productive a user will be in accomplishing tasks and their overall job experience. Let’s be honest: if the system does not function as expected, employees are not happy! Externally, users are a whole other topic. Ninety percent of users are happy with the basics, but the other 10% drive you to improve your system. That 10% will answer the surveys and tell you what’s up. The external customer experience must be user-friendly and informative.
I am going to go a little technical for a moment. The user interaction comprises the user interface (UI) and the user experience (UX). The UI is how users interact with a system or machine visually and manually. For example, a business application includes the layout of the screen, colors, icons, shortcuts, and more. The UX is a user’s personal experience when using a system. The design’s degree of intuitiveness and user-friendliness will significantly impact the user’s productivity. Thanks to easy-to-use consumer applications and familiarity with social media, today’s users demand simplified and highly personalized experiences to meet their expectations.
When building your platform, be prepared to have platform management forever. The good part about having platform management is that you get to keep making improvements and changes for adaptability and growth.
The second factor in system infrastructure is data insight - the driving reason behind my decision to continue to enhance our system. Businesses today need to have accurate, real-time information at their fingertips. More self-service reporting and analytics enable individuals to query the system for specific, up-to-the-minute data to help make better decisions. A sound infrastructure system will allow for this.
The third factor is application functionality for performing business tasks. Software on the surface may look the same, but behind the curtain, they are radically different. Being a hard money lender means not taking a cookie-cutter approach. The systems we have built are adaptable to the changing market conditions of real estate. It could be development loans one year and construction loans the next. Your system adaptability could mean the difference in the survival of the fittest. There is no one-trick pony here.
No matter how well a system or application is developed, you cannot do it all in-house. Sometimes, you must rely on the integration with third-party resources (accounting systems, 2FA, etc.). Lucky for us, technology today efficiently responds to cross-enterprise business process changes. Can you say plugins are your friend? Use the automation that is at your fingertips.
The technology system is the foundation for a business's success. The world does not stop revolving, so why would your technology?