It’s not about the technology

Yeeeeears ago, a Large Financial Institution launched web-based loan application solution. Punters entered their application details, which were processed by the bank’s back-end system and the results returned two hours later. Usually the in-branch paper-based process took weeks to return an answer.

The slight hitch was that in those days nobody could get the web front-end to talk reliably to the bank’s mainframe.

The solution? When the punter pressed “Submit,” the web page printed out on two remote printers. At each printer an army of typists re-keyed the data, and quick data-compare job ensured any mistypes were flagged. The bank completed the back-end processing, and the approval data was keyed into the return web page. All withing a couple of hours.

Not only was this solution actually cheaper than the millions spent on trying to figure out web/mainframe integration, the typists would reject applications in the name Mickey Mouse or salaries of $100,000,000.

Ultimately, as web technologies matured, the integrated system was developed and successfully deployed. (Phew!)

The point, of course, is that faster mortgage application processing was the objective, and it really doesn’t matter if the solution relies on typists or on software.

So, it’s not about the technology, never was, never is.

Toby Chapman-Dawe