The objective behind Knowledge Bank right from the very beginning has been to make it as simple as possible. The first version of Knowledge Bank was just an A to Z list of information, but it quickly became clear that we needed more.
So in 2016 we redeveloped it, launching our second version of it making it much more intuitive, easier to use and helping to save brokers even more time.
As demand escalated it became more practical to give lenders their own log-in and let them input their own data.
This put lenders in charge of their own data including the criteria that showed and when; it meant brokers could have confidence that the criteria they were looking at is the most up-to-date available; and it freed up our time for further development.
We also gave the lenders more control by enabling them to input the details into Knowledge Bank for criteria that has not yet launched and letting them schedule the date it will go live. It also became much more searchable.
Version two brought the most matched criteria to the top. Where more than one lender will accept the criteria, they are listed in alphabetical order so there is no bias. Fundamental to all this was user experience so that the system was intuitive and easy to use.
Site security and its data is of paramount importance so lenders know their details can never be compromised. Multiple levels of security and back up were enhanced in version two so that all data met the highest security standards expected by banks and building societies.
Expanding a business this quickly was a learning curve.
Brokers and lenders were becoming part of Knowledge Bank through word of mouth, but we still hadn’t even had an official launch.
Because of its growing popularity we had to pay attention not only to the development but also good business governance.
We set up a copyright so that the website content could not be copied. This proved a good move as we discovered, even in this fledgling stage. For example a number of other tech firms showed interest in what we were doing and how – some through fair means, some through foul.
Fortunately, our IT specialists had built in anti-scraping technology which flags up when someone is trying to copy the site and prevents it from happening.
It also flags up who the person is, but it was amazing just how unashamed some people were in trying to do this. (Interesting! – Ed)
It was at this point that we really understood the value of having invested heavily in the technology. The idea has always been that the site looks clean and simple and is easy to use. This does not mean that the technology involved is simple however.
We worked really hard to make sure that the user experience is central to everything; the clever technology is behind the scenes, but it is amazing to see the layers of technology underneath this.
Read the first of Nicola Firth’s blogs here.