leadership and digital vision at Loan Market
Whether it’s entrepreneurship or business transformation, two essential ingredients for success are a visionary leader and a great team. It is precisely the combination that has helped Loan Market Group become such a powerful force in helping clients achieve their real estate and financial dreams across Australia and New Zealand.
Joanne Church, director of operations for the company’s MyCRM technology, eschews the characteristics of a visionary leader. She was the driving force behind a digital transformation that many would hesitate – how to bring a 118-year-old real estate company into the digital age, using data and innovative technologies to disrupt.
The passions of the Church are people, processes and getting things done. She is also driven by nurturing people and helping them grow – she shares how, over her years in business, she has learned that people are the most important ingredient in any successful project.
These people, she says, have played a fundamental role in realizing Loan Market’s transformation journey. “In 2012, the reports were completely manual, using Excel spreadsheets and lots of copy and paste. When I joined the company as a project manager, my goal was to assess the current state of corporate reporting and see how to better manage it; at the time, we did not have a technology team and were not prepared to invest in software development.
Understanding complex problems, distilling them into understandable things, and finding ways to solve them is one of the main strengths of the Church. So she began to explore new technologies that would transform Loan Market operations. “By the end of 2015, we had gone from nothing to an enterprise platform that could manage referrals, manage onboarding, deliver reports as well as a vehicle for interacting with our brokers. “
Ultimately, every project is about “moving it forward,” Church said. And so, she was fully motivated to ensure that the desired results are achieved. This extends to overseeing the transition from solutions primarily provided by third parties to the development and implementation of Loan Market’s MyCRM technology. “I was proud of what we had managed to put in place,” says Church, “but we had little control over the development and maintenance of third-party applications. We wanted to allow brokers to create a real online experience for their clients while giving them the benefit of their advice and expertise.
As befitting his faith in people, Church is keen to stress that implementing this technology has been far from a lonely effort: “The team that we put together really started in December 2014, when we acquired a company called Split It, and with it, a comparison site called Better Bills, ”she said. “We wanted a mortgage comparison feature, allowing customers to do their own research and compare products.
Today Church leads the team (both onshore and offshore) which provides support to MyCRM users in Australia. She also oversees general operations and contributes to the continued development of the platform. One of the most important steps in reaching this position, she repeats, was managing a significant cultural change within Loan Market Group. This, and rightly so, only reinforced his perspective on the importance of strong leadership and vision, the same characteristics that have already been demonstrated so competently throughout his career.
“I think the main takeaway from our experience might be not to underestimate the value of data migration and the importance of that data to people who have cultivated their capture for many years. To this, I would add that it is important to accompany users on the journey during major changes. MyCRM was built and continues to be improved through close collaboration with our user base. We believe this sets us apart from other technology platforms and aggregators. We use a built-in tool to allow users to suggest improvements and vote on ideas, and this is what guides our prioritization for development.