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The Mortgage Press:Media Alert

National Mortgage Professional
Dec 10, 2001

Watch Your Step: The Perils of Falling Into the Technology GapScottie SharpeApplication Service Provider, ASP, communications, Internet, Unlimited Wealth Most lenders are familiar with sending and receiving e-mail and browsing the web, two of the most basic aspects of the Internet. In this article, I plan to introduce you to a new web application, one that will not only change the way you run your brokerage, but help transform the entire landscape of your computing environment. In Pail Zane Pilzer's groundbreaking book Unlimited Wealth, logical economic explanations for the use of technology in the workplace are offered, and established economic theory is properly debunked. One of my favorite chapters discusses a definition of profit margin in terms of what Mr. Pilzer calls the technology gap. Mr. Pilzer says that the ability to profit is directly related to how effectively one uses technology. Imagine yourself in competition with lenders in your neighborhood, with all the business savvy you need, but without your telephone. Would you be at a disadvantage? With that motivational thought in mind, let's take a close look at a burgeoning source to close that technology gap: the Internet. The Internet is more than just a medium for communication. If you consider that the use of a better way of doing something determines the ability to produce wealth, then the Internet, with its vast supply of information, must be the largest source of wealth on the planet. There are literally thousands of functions of the Internet. Judging from our culture's prolific use of e-mail and Web browsing, I will assume that we are all familiar with exchanging information, which is its primary use. Being able to send files has impacted our lives immensely. However, before the birth of the World Wide Web, the Internet was used for more than just sending files. One of its primary purposes was to allow terminals to access large government and scientific mainframes. There are some neat things associated with host/remote computing that you should be aware of: ++No software actually resided in the terminals, so they did not need to be upgraded. When new software was released, only the mainframe was upgraded. Because of this, one could use terminals until they broke down. Compared to the current computing environment: We throw out perfectly functioning machines just because they are too slow. ++The host/remote model was very secure. Little, if any data was transmitted across wires, and it was all kept safe and secure in a central location. If one wanted to cease an employee's access to data, they simply had to change their password. Remember, data is stored centrally--no login, no access! This is why most banks and airlines still use terminals and mainframes today. Compared to our current computing environment: Sensitive data is flippantly copied from laptop to laptop. ++Servers could be stored in buildings where sufficient electrical and environmental protection could be provided. Because terminal access was conducted through the Internet, the data was accessible from many locations at once. Compared to our current computing environment: Most information is site-specific. Unfortunately, when Bill Gates put a PC in every home, applications and data migrated away from the mainframe hosts and into Pentium-based, full-featured systems. Although this shift has completely changed the computing landscape, some of the benefits of terminal/mainframe computing are still desirable. Remote control software, for example, is like sitting in front of a television. It's great for when you don't want to get up and change a channel, or, rather, access a PC located in a different room. Software packages are available to turn one Windows-based PC into a mainframe host (of sorts), and the other into the terminal. This model is great, with one major flaw--it can only connect one remote to each host--not a good solution for running an office with many external users. Matching one host computer with each remote user would empty wallets faster than computer rooms could fill up! Setting up such systems is not easy. It requires planning, consulting and expensive software. However, companies called hosting providers have sprung up that will run the entire system for you; renting software and servers, providing a super-fast connection to the Internet, allowing space in their secure environment and even offering round-the-clock technical support. The situation couldn't be better, unless you call on an Application Service Provider (ASP), a firm that combines the services of a host with the benefits of specialized industry software. By utilizing ASPs, brokerages can open branch offices anywhere in mere hours, permitting agents and processors to share data easily, use software that they are already familiar with, and take advantage of the security, speed and global access of a mainframe/terminal system. The ASP model has already begun to radically change the face of corporate computing. Large companies are not only viewing ASPs as a way to save money, but also as a way to provide users with more efficient software applications. It is just a matter of time before the mortgage industry applies the advantages of this computing model. Therefore, you may want to take Paul Zane Pilzer's advice now and get a head start. Go ahead, put a little technology gap between you and your competitors. Scottie Sharpe is President/CEO of Rosenvick Inc., makers of AspireGold. Rosenvick specializes in helping mortgage professionals nationwide profit with the popular GoldMine contact management system to create automated marketing and client follow-up systems that synchronize with POINT, Genesis 2000, Contour, Byte and more. He is also a partner in E-Mortgage Factory, a hosted applications service provider servicing the mortgage community nationwide. For more information, contact Scottie Sharpe at [email protected]
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