In this month's issue of National Mortgage Professional Magazine, we had a chance to speak with Don Iannitti, president and chief executive officer of DocMagic Inc. Don is an original. His company, Document Systems Inc., is a reflection of his unique abilities, drives and outlook on life. Whether it’s his state-of-the art, architectural award-winning headquarters, or his unique magic-themed marketing campaigns, Don, the company he created and the products he has developed over the span of 25 years, stand out in a crowd of mortgage technology providers. The following is a reflection on the history, accomplishments and future goals of this pioneering mortgage industry icon.
Tell me how Document Systems Inc. came to be.
I was actually in college at the time I started the company. That was back in 1987. I was a finance and computer methods in business major. I was working for a company that processed documentation at the time. They were mainframe-based so it was very difficult to make any changes. I had been reading a book, In Search of Excellence, I think it was. It talked about neat emerging technologies and what effects those might have in the future. I recall there being one particular emerging potential business, which was the repackaging of data—the repackaging of information. I remember thinking to myself, “What a neat concept that would be. I wonder how that will look when it finally materializes.” I realized that I was actually working for a company that was really doing that—but ineffectively. I worked on a business plan, and devised a company and what it would do, and went out and found investors that would believe in me and provide me with the money.
We would create a document package in house, and we would buy forms, speed-type them and build a package. We had a network of couriers that worked for the company that would then deliver those packages. It was very southern California based. Normally, if you dealt with a company like ours, you would get your documents in a day, possibly two. We introduced the concept of doing it same-day. We would get orders in the morning, and we would then turn around and have those orders delivered in the afternoon. That allowed us to really take control of the business, at least in California.
You pioneered the concept of remote electronic document delivery. How did that come about?
We had about a 1,000-square-foot office—very small. We didn’t have any place to put the laser printer. So we bought a laser printer, and we’re all, “Where are we going to put this thing?” So we put it in the front room, which was a ways away. But the funny thing was—when we sent a form to it and it printed, and we’re all looking at each other like, “Wow, we could put this printer in someone else’s office. It doesn't have to be here anymore.” I honestly think that was the day that the concept of remote electronic delivery actually came to our minds.
You also developed one of the first mortgage data auditing systems. Share with us its history.
I think with almost our first or second set of documents, we developed the initial phase of the audit system. This is the basis and core of how we maintain integrity in the data that we take from our clients and the documents that we provide them.
We were never a garbage-in, garbage-out type of company. That was never something that we accepted as being a given in our line of business. We always made a point to say, “No!” If a client tried to give us garbage. We would detect it and not allow them to draw documents.
Tell us about your commitment to customer service.
The most important thing that you can do as a service business is to listen to your clients. Then take it a step further. It’s one thing to listen … it’s another thing to be able to effectively respond. We try to always anticipate needs before our clients know that they have them.
Every one of our products offers the ability for a client to tell us what they want. Every one of our modules has an option on the help menu that says, “Send us feedback.” We get constant feedback. That feedback goes directly to the director of product development and to me. We’ll immediately assign a representative in the support department. At that point, we’ll assess—is there an option to solve the problem today that the client’s just not aware of? Or do we need to build something? We don’t come out of the experience thinking, “Okay, that’s another nice feature to have,” and put it down to build later. We have no queue of those types of features. It immediately goes into the development queue.
How can lenders learn from your customer service example?
Clients respond very well to technology. I think a lot of times borrowers are not as aware of the current status of the loan as they should be. One of the products that we’re working on now is a smartphone or electronic pad-based system that enables lenders to provide documents for signing, for capture. It creates a conduit—a very tight conduit, between the borrower and the lender. It provides a very simple running workflow of where we’re at relative to the timeline that this loan is going to ultimately take. And it interfaces and leverages the data we know about in Doc Magic to accomplish this.
You are a leading proponent of e-signatures. How are you leveraging that technology?
All of our document packages now are e-signable in the sense that a client can produce any type of package or document and transmit it for electronic signature to the borrower. You can have a pile of documents, some can be e-signed, some require a notary, and some legitimately have to have a wet signature. If you just load them into the eSign system, it knows automatically which are which, and immediately facilitates the process.
We also released what we call the FreeSign system. That’s where our clients and anyone else can come to the Webpage and upload any PDF document that they want, and tell us where they want it signed. No matter how many people need to sign it, they hit a button and instantly everyone gets electronic invitations, and we’re signing documents. We’re doing that for schools, hospitals, just every type of company you can imagine. We’re getting a lot of traction with that. Our goal is to continue to build tools and enhance that product so that we can really help companies go paperless completely—not just with a mortgage transaction, but with everything.
Are you obsessed with speed?
Our processing speeds are absolutely dramatic. We can produce a 60-document package in probably 1.7 seconds now, which is extremely fast. Our closest competitors produce a package like that in a minute. There’s just no comparison.
We’ll stop worrying about speed when we get that 60-document package produced in less than a second. However, getting from 1.7 seconds to 0.7 seconds is a multimillion dollar endeavor. Every company should be very clearly devoted to something that they think sets them apart, and they should be committed to it and never stop being concerned about it. To me, it’s always been speed, because that speed finds its way into every aspect of what we do.
What has been your greatest accomplishment in business?
I think our greatest accomplishment has been DocMagic. The product itself—I am always and continually amazed at how fast it is. What it’s doing in 1.7 seconds is absolutely a marvel. The eSign system—that’s our new focal point. It’s everything to us at this point, and we are making sure that it’s capable of accommodating everything it needs to.
You have many employees that have been with the firm for a long time. How do you accomplish that?
What's been important to me is making sure that our number one asset, our employees—that they are always being taken care of. It’s the highest possible priority for us to treat this group like a family. Having high customer satisfaction is the number one priority. It’s a very simple concept. It makes it really easy for you to make sure that your employees are in alignment with that by the way that they handle certain things, and the way that they handle clients. It makes it real simple for us to make sure we have the right people.
What emerging trends or technological needs are you excited about in the industry?
I think that what it’s about now is data integrity. It’s about auditing. It’s about QC. We need to make sure these files are solid. We need to make sure that the information that’s in them is confirmed and validated. Re-keying of data—that’s going to go away. It’s not okay to re-enter data. The data degradation from moving from one system to the other is not acceptable anymore. I think that at every step along that path, there needs to be an auditing engine of record that’s making sure that everything is perfect. Our engine can be used and leveraged by our partners in that way.
What do you want to make sure folks in the industry know about Document Systems Inc.?
First, we consider ourselves to be a solution provider. What we enjoy most is when our partners and our clients come to us and say, “We’ve got a problem. Here’s what we need to do. Is there anything you guys can do to help us out?” That makes our day.
Second, there's a wealth of data in this business, and there’s so much that we can do with it. We can ultimately make our clients more efficient at what they do. We’ve tried to demonstrate that anything that relates to the data or documents in any way, shape, or form—we take responsibility for that. We can provide a validation to anyone that holds a DocMagic document. We can absolutely tell you precisely what the data set was. We can tell you when that document was created. We can tell you who did it, where it went, where it’s been. That’s essential in the current and future mortgage industry.
David J. Coster is senior editor of National Mortgage Professional Magazine. He may be reached by phone at (919) 559-2171 or e-mail [email protected]