By Mike Audet
RISMEDIA, December 20, 2010—Brokers today, large and small, face significant challenges they did not face 20 years ago. Profit margins have eroded and control over their independent contractors has been minimized. The consumer has taken on a much more vocal role in the process and is forcing transparency and responsiveness never before experienced. Some of these challenges are related to technology and the advance of the Internet, while others are cultural challenges that have come about through the changing broker/agent relationship. WAV Group’s new white paper explores the issues behind the broker’s challenge to gain better control and visibility into their companies while re-establishing a new value proposition for their agents.
Most brokers today really do not have a clear view of their operations from front to back. But with increased expenses and aggressive competition, this is more important than ever. Broker systems have developed over time and are typically made up of multiple products from multiple vendors that were not developed to work in an integrated fashion. The result is numerous points of entering the same data over and over and not being able to share data easily between modules.
Brokerages are experiencing cultural challenges as well. Consumer and industry pressures are forcing an evolution in the role of the broker and the services they offer for today’s agents. The sense of community that used to be evident in every brick-and-mortar office is largely gone. Agents are mobile and more independent today. Smartphones, wireless Internet and even wirelessly enabled laptops, iPads and tablet PCs have changed the way agents do business. Many brokers, however, still approach business the way they did before the Internet and this is a losing battle.
Brokers today face numerous issues to make their businesses profitable. Technology is both part of the problem and the solution. If there is one absolute in our business world today, it is the fact that change is happening exponentially. To be successful, brokers need to reinvent their businesses on a continual basis. Having the right infrastructure and view into their business is a key element to allow them to navigate these changes.
For more information, visit www.wavgroup.com.
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