Search Acumen unveils “IntelliSearch” to deliver the first ‘step change’ in conveyancing searches for years (Topic of the Month – Process Management)
- First year of business sees Search Acumen seize 2.5% market share
- Senior team using 30 years of experience to bring innovation to searches
- IntelliSearch technology already saving days of admin and processing time
Search Acumen has unveiled ambitious plans for using new technology to deliver a ‘step change’ in conveyancing search service, speed and accuracy. It has also revealed that it has achieved a 2.5% share of the property search market in its first year.
The company’s approach — IntelliSearch — combines in-depth industry knowledge with innovative use of the latest technology to engineer more ‘intelligent’ search products and services. These are designed to save time for conveyancing firms, increase their productivity, improve quality control and lower their operating costs.
Search Acumen is the brainchild of its three founders — headed by Mark Riddick with Andrew Lloyd and Andy Sommerville — who previously built the original personal search company and the first online search provider.1 With 70 years of conveyancing search service experience between them, they have reunited to, once again, innovate a step change in search provision.
As before this has involved working closely with conveyancers, harnessing technology and reengineering processes. The result is a service that transforms the way conveyancers process searches.
A series of innovations will be rolled out, beginning with deductive technology2 that improves quality control for personal local authority searches. It is the first in a series of new IntelliSearch products and services that will make better use of technology to support conveyancers’ work.
Mark Riddick, Chairman of Search Acumen, commented:
"The surge of house buying activity over the last twelve months has shown just how important it is for conveyancers to have the right search tools to cope with an increasing volume of work. But until now, there has been little innovation in the search industry since we originally developed personal local authority searches and online ordering.
"The time has come to blow the cobwebs away from the process of ordering and receiving search data. The opportunity was there to innovate and re-engineer a better offer for conveyancers. We have listened carefully to their frustrations with the status quo and sensed the need for a change.
"The vision behind Search Acumen is about intelligently using technology and harnessing our collective knowledge to help conveyancers work more efficiently and productively. It is about adapting technology to the way they think and work — rather than expecting them to accept the limits of legacy platforms."
Search Acumen took its first order in October 2013 and has used its first 12 months to build a platform to support its development plans.
Its technology already underpins an online search ordering portal that offers market leading speed and efficiency though its clean and minimalist design. Customers can save as much as five minutes per transaction by using a simple five-click ordering process — compared with up to 25 clicks through other platforms — and submit their request in as little as 30 seconds.3
For a conveyancer carrying out five searches a day, this saving adds up to 108 hours a year, freeing up four and a half days from their annual workload. This time is worth £1,108 based on a legal assistant or secretary’s salary.4
Search Acumen’s unique service also makes it easier to order searches on new build properties: a common source of frustration for conveyancers. It uses the same streamlined ordering process which does not require users to carry out manual location mapping — saving time and reducing delays by minimising the chance of user error.
The technology is supported by a proactive approach to customer service that helps conveyancers meet their own clients’ expectations. The aim is to pre-empt questions and free conveyancers’ time between ordering and receiving searches to focus on the rest of their job.
The Search Acumen team acts as a virtual in-house resource for clients by managing the search process on their behalf, pursuing follow-up queries and informing the conveyancer while only involving them where essential.
Mark Riddick, Chairman of Search Acumen, commented:
"Our aim is to combine the creative use of technology with a human touch. The technology is designed to simplify rather than complicate the process, with intuitive design that does away with the need for user manuals or training. We want to help conveyancers who take the same proactive approach with customers as we do with ours, so everyone is informed throughout the process and unburdened by the need to hassle or chase for updates."
Tom Ingleton, Licensed Conveyancer at Brooks & Partners Solicitors, commented:
"Search Acumen’s system is very simple and easy to use, especially for ordering a lot of searches at the same time. The technology has come in very handy during times of a high caseload. We have a lot of clients, and we need to order multiple searches in as little time as possible, so having estimated times of when we’re going to get the searches back allows us to manage client expectations properly. It’s having the very modern approach but also with a local service — we’ve dealt with local firms, huge corporate firms and Search Acumen has a mix of the two."
1Mark Riddick founded the original personal search agency (Property Search Agency, PSA) in 1983, before uniting with Andrew Lloyd and Andy Sommerville to build the first online search provider (SearchFlow) to a £150m turnover. They were also involved in founding the major property search industry trade organisation, The Council of Property Search Organisations (COPSO) in 2003.
2Search Acumen launches its deductive technology for conveyancing searches on Tuesday 9th December — see accompanying news release
3Based on feedback from Search Acumen clients, November 2014.
4Based on an annual salary of £20,000, the lowest typical salary of an experienced legal secretary according to the National Careers Service