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45 "We're an enabler. When you think about it that way, you can start getting excited about how you are going to impact the top and bottom lines with your projects." —James Vinci, CTO, Selene Finance to the primary system record." In addition, it must be done in the most cost-effective manner, added Campbell, who pointed out that web service calls or API integra- tions can be more expensive. GETTING PROJECT APPROVAL Solving the above issues means nothing if the project isn't approved, Mobraten noted. To get stakeholder buy-in, Campbell rec- ommended starting with a vision for the fiscal year, then scoping out the different technology initiatives. Trying to get approval in mid-year, rather than at the beginning, can be difficult. "You need to be prepared to sell the benefit of those technology initiatives to the executive leadership team," Campbell added. "You need to be able to show that this is going to create a more profitable enterprise for you and the executive team by compressing the cost or expanding the revenue or both. You need to be able to show that it's accretive to the financials." If it's not, you need to be able to demonstrate that the technology will reduce expenses or cut risk, Campbell said. However, Vinci cautioned not to just then spend those savings on another IT project. It helps if a proposed technology project is aligned with one the organization was already planning, Vinci added, cautioning that com- pliance and risk need to be considered with all technology projects. While IT sometimes says "no" to technology that the business side wants, objections can often be overcome by getting IT excited about how the solution will impact the top and bottom lines, Vinci says. "We're an enabler. When you think about it that way, you can start getting excited about how you are going to impact the top and bottom lines with your projects." ough IT may want to build internally rath- er than bring in a third-party vendor, sometimes external vendors can implement technology more cost-effectively. Having access to internal and external IT enables you to make a side-by-side comparison and choose the best solution. "For example, if we were to build some- thing that required a heavy focus on regulatory compliance, we'd need to make certain that we were bringing in all the updates to compliance on a real-time basis, potentially leveraging external attorneys to give us up-to-the-minute updates on compliance," Campbell explained. "Instead of having to buy those updates as a servicer, I could go to the technology partner. ey would be responsible for doing that and integrating it into their technology, so they could spread that cost with the attorneys that they work with across all their partners that they sell their product to, instead of me having to absorb it all internally in my proprietary build." GETTING BUDGET APPROVAL "You're always going to look to request a bigger budget than you're going to get approved," Campbell acknowledged. "e reality is I only have so many IT resources, and I only have so much capital capacity to do development. So, we risk-rank and prioritize everything based on first looking at the regulatory and compliance environment. We focus on those first." e service business is heavily regulated, so regulatory- and compliance-related technology must be prioritized, Campbell explained. Next is the maintenance of existing applications, then comes new technology projects. New projects will be prioritized by whatever provides the best return or the most help with customer experience (CX), though that is difficult to measure. Campbell added that budget approval is much easier if different departments commu- nicate with one another to find and request approval for technology that can be implemented across the organization. "It's important to build those good business relationships," Vinci agreed. Phil Britt started covering mortgages and other financial services matters for a suburban Chicago newspaper in the mid-1980s before joining Savings Institutions magazine in 1992. When the publication moved its offices to Washington, D.C., in 1993, he started his own editorial services room and continued to cover mortgages, other financial services subjects, and technology for a variety of websites and publications.

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