This post is part of a series dedicated to highlighting small and medium-sized enterprises across the country employing technology in new and innovative ways.
Denver-based Land Title Guarantee Company celebrates its 50th birthday this year, a milestone reached by offering widespread capabilities with a personal touch. Land Title Guarantee Company services residential, commercial, homebuilder, and lending real estate transactions throughout Colorado, and recently turned to data analytics to glean business insights that have taken the business to the next level. I sat down with Craig Rants, Land Title’s Vice President of Title Operations, to learn about the impact this technology has had on the company’s bottom line.
Courtney Duffy (DisCo): What was life like before you prioritized data analytics at an organizational level?
Craig Rants (Land Title): We have 50 offices throughout the state of Colorado, and 10 years ago all of our offices had green screens with about 20 different reports that had to be run. Data reports would print out, or show up on a screen, and you’d have to run all of the reports to get your lay of the land. We ran a report, and if we had any questions about it, we had to run two more reports. It took hours, and that’s time we could be using in other ways. The process was a burden, and it limited our ability to deliver for clients. By incorporating robust data analytics system, we’ve saved ourselves time and money.
DisCo: Do you have any examples you could share that illustrate the impact that data analytics has had on Land Title?
Land Title: For nearly two years, we’ve been working with a company called Actus Data, which offers us advanced business analytics. The platform aggregates multiple data sources to glean better insights. Now we’re able to slice productivity by office and by customer, looking at revenue and closer volume, as well as the types of analytics around the different products we’re producing, how fast we’re producing it, and more. We’re able to bring in other third party information like customer satisfaction and financial information. It takes just five minutes in the morning to understand very quickly what’s going on. Previously, to go into the same detail, it would’ve taken an hour to read through the multiple reports to find the same information. Actus Data also hosts the platform itself, which made the barrier to entry much faster and more cost-effective for a small- to medium-sized business like ours.
DisCo: You’re a major player in Colorado, and your competitors are national companies that are much bigger than you. How does this technology enable you to compete with the big guys?
Land Title: We’re proud of our market share – we possess about 30% across the state of Colorado. Our larger, national competitors have more resources and finances to devote to problems, so we need to be strategic. The Actus Data platform helps us punch with the big boys without breaking the bank. The good news is that we’re not so small that we can’t be innovative, but we’re not so big that we can’t change quickly. We think we can beat our competition to new business opportunities as they arise every time.
We’re going through a complete rewrite of our own title and closing system. Many companies will pay a Software as a Service (SaaS) provider. The four or five large companies that are our national competition have their own IT teams to write their software. We as a mid-sized company do a little of both. Our IT guys have worked for over a year to develop an upgrade to the entire functionality of our software, into the latest coding languages and open source databases on highly available converged infrastructure. We’re taking advantage of the latest technologies for speed and integration of other data.
DisCo: How can your industry optimize technology down the line?
Land Title: We don’t develop reports anymore, and I think that’s a sign of things to come. Our data analytics dashboard shows us everything that’s happened up through the last business day, providing insights that are ready for analysis right now. These reports used to take us hours to read through and make decisions, and now we use that saved time in other ways. The more information we have, and the more data points we’re using, the faster we’re able to identify things that are abnormal – it’s comforting, particularly from a security perspective. Technology like this, which saves organizations time and money, will result in better customer service and business results.
Courtney Duffy is a Research & Innovation Fellow at CCIA and an MBA Candidate at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business. Follow @cduffy90