Technology Stack Evaluation with Sue Woodard: Tech Stack or ‘Franken-Stack?’

On this episode of Expert Insights, our host Joe Welu is joined again by fintech evangelist and senior advisor for the STRATMOR Group and Total Expert, Sue Woodard. Having spent over 30 years in the lending industry, Sue is well-versed in the strategies and priorities of top lenders. 

In this episode, Joe and Sue discuss why banks and lenders should thoroughly evaluate their tech stack in today’s macro environment. Sue also shares what she hears from lenders as the biggest pain points in choosing and implementing the right technology and her solution to how tech providers can be seen as more than just another vendor. 

Evaluating Your Tech Stack  

As we move into another year of challenging markets, many financial institutions are seeing a decline in production and profitability. Having had open dialogues with many lending leaders, Sue is aware of the heightened focus on technology – both what it can do to drive results and aid lenders, as well as where its ROI is not worth the spend.  

“One of the key things everyone is doing right now is re-evaluating their tech stack from top to bottom,” says Sue. “They’re looking at it from the lens of cost-cutting.” 

For many lenders, their tech stack has become bloated with too many layers and redundant functions. It’s almost like they have become a “franken-stack.” Companies are asking important questions like “what are we getting out of this?” and “is this bringing us new customers?” in order to streamline their most efficient tech stack.  

When meaningfully configured, technology has the power to be a critical resource for the fate of a lender. When your tech stack isn’t configured in such a way that you can work efficiently –  particularly now as resources are even more precious than they ever have been – maintaining all of these elements becomes hugely burdensome. 

How To Be Seen as More Than Just a Tech Vendor 

As lenders evaluate their tech stack and other resources, vendors who want to stick around through market challenges need to prove their worth as a necessary partner. With so much movement in the market and rate variability, it can be difficult for vendors to prove their value. However, Sue explains that smart vendors will lay out exactly what they do, how they’re going to do it, and what the outcomes should be.  

“Do you want to upset a lender?” Sue asks. “Go ahead and make it really obvious that you’re not paying that much attention to the serious pain that you’re in right now.” 

Vendors who are focused on selling their product rather than listening to the needs and struggles of their customers are on the fast track to sounding tone-deaf and being cut from a competitive tech stack. Not only should vendors clearly lay out their value, but they should also prove they’re a partner facing the same issues as lenders and actively working on new solutions to shared problems.  

As a vendor, simplifying the use of your technology is another key way to be seen as a partner. “When lenders talk about the hardest parts of implementing a technology, the 100% number one thing that we hear all the time is change management and user adoption with loan officers and the sales teams,” Sue notes. Understanding your customer, simplifying the onboarding process, and streamlining its integration with other technology are crucial to standing out as more than just another tech vendor. To hear the full episode and learn more from Sue Woodard about evaluating your tech stack, listen here: Technology Evaluation: Tech Stack Or ‘Franken-Stack?’.