Security and workflow challenges driving innovation

tmgroup’s new CCO Petter Lautin discusses innovation in the conveyancing sector

Petter Lautin, 55, moved to the UK from Norway in 1998 and has worked extensively in the IT and software security industry. Having worked for specialist technology companies including Apple and Symantec, he’s seen a great deal of change in technology over the years. He recently spoke to Today’s Conveyancer on how his first few weeks have been.

I’ve been in IT since IBM launched the PC as a product

Petter said: “I’m still on a learning curve, but I’ve been in IT and software for years, since 1983, which just so happens to the same year IBM launched the PC as a product. That industry has gone through a significant change and consolidation through the last ten to fifteen years; from being niche to be quite consolidated. It’s been an amazing journey going through all these phases on how the technology has been adopted.

“I’ve already met with customers to get an idea of their perception of us, and our good reputation is always brought forward, and we want to keep on focusing on that.” 

Customer care and service is a very important part of what we do

“Customer care and service is a very important part of what we do. It’s not the same as downloading an app and off you go; they are highly automated processes. So if you’re a solicitor or estate agent and need to talk to someone, you ring our helpdesk.

“Our average response time is seven seconds. Year to date, 90% of calls are answered within 20 seconds, highly impressive stats.”

We add value by utilising technology for conveyancers and estate agents

Peter says he’s been impressed with the tools tmgroup has produced so far for conveyancers, but believes there’s a number of areas that can be improved to help provide a better service to clients.

Petter continued: “In many ways, as a consumer, the experience of selling and buying is so stressful and still paper-based in parts, so that’s where we can add value in how we utilise technology and make it available for conveyancers and estate agents alike.”

Property portals already help buyers to view potential properties online

“I wouldn’t say the property industry in the UK is behind in technology. You see how property portals have grown to the point where we can almost make a purchase decision before even seeing agents. You just click through properties all online, see all the rooms and the garden and such there. It’s not like in the old days where you go in to an agent, see the brochures, arrange viewings because of the limited documented information and pictures.”

There’s a lot we can do to make the buying process more efficient

“So we’re not behind in that respect. However our purchasing process in terms of regulation is different compared to Norway where I’m originally from, or even Scotland where it’s not as cumbersome. 

“In Norway, you wouldn’t necessarily use a conveyancer for the process and you know what’s going on in the chain, but I think it’s very hard to change. So I think in one way that is what’s holding the industry back and making it feel cumbersome.

“There are a lot of things we are doing help conveyancers be more efficient, more profitable and improve their ability to communicate with a consumer. And for the consumer to look at their own chain up and down on their smartphone or laptop, do all the documentation electronically and receive updates as to where the processes are from the estate agent and conveyancer. These are all solutions we have.”

Conveyancers visit up to 13 websites during a transaction

“The statistics are showing a conveyancer visits 13 or 14 different websites during a transaction and have to go through a lot of processes. 

“We’re trying to condense it down to one. Through tmconvey’s Map Search users can access Land Registry’s map facility directly to create a case, plot the property and order title deeds directly from the map, reducing the number of clicks significantly.”

All communication and sharing is completely secure

“With security within tmconnect, all the communication and sharing is completely secure. There is also a messaging facility which is secure, so if you receive an email saying please pay this amount to this person, you can validate who it really came from and check the relevant accounts.”

Innovation is key in the conveyancing sector

“Overall, the key thing is innovation in the conveyancing sector, looking at workflow, and end to end solutions. Part of my job as a CCO is looking at our offering in total and how in the next three to five years we can take things on again to another level.”

Security has become “a hot potato” in a world where emails can be hijacked

The world recently marked 25 years since Tim Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web at Cern in Switzwerland. Petter says the change has been quite something to see.

Petter said: “It’s only been 25 years since the Internet was invented, and my kids don’t understand life even before the iPhone. We’re in exciting times, and though my background is not in property, it’s interesting to see how security has become ‘a hot potato’ in this industry where emails can be hijacked and rerouted. Clients pay money to what they think are the solicitors and it goes elsewhere. It is in this area in particular I feel I have some value to add.”

We continue to demonstrate to our customer that we are more than ‘just a search provider’

“Despite Brexit and the other stumbling blocks the world throws at us, tm are still growing and developing ways to consolidate and add value for our customers. Conveyancers are impressed with our capability as a workflow provider; so everyone can have a higher quality, more efficient process whether buying or selling.”

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