Firstly, congratulations to Geeks — not all geeks everywhere but our technology partner — Geeks Ltd — who won the 2014 Queens Award for Enterprise in Innovation last month. Apart from the fact that we are very pleased for them and proud to be associated with a company who has achieved such a prestigious award; it also reflects very positively on the quality of the technology underpinning our service. Of course, their work is the realisation of our innovative thinking on how to process and provide searches more intelligently. And there is a lot of innovative thinking going on at Search Acumen….
As individuals with up to thirty years experience of conveyancing (and searches in particular) it was a refreshing and insightful experience to start with a “blank page” and then write our processing system from scratch. There is so much great technology now available that simply wasn’t there fourteen years ago when we last approached this task. Now is a good time to review the existing technology applied to your process. It is a great opportunity to take a wish list from your customers and make it a reality. Believe me, you will amazed at what can be achieved nowadays. And it will give you that all important competitive advantage. The clincher, however, is that a technology refresh is likely to be a fraction of the cost of your original set-up.
As I have said before in this Blog, now (post-recession) is the time for innovative and entrepreneurial thinking. It is the kind of thinking that will give conveyancing firms the edge when grappling with problems around productivity and compliance — issues given ever sharper focus by the conveyancing human resource gap. We have coined the term “Intelligent Conveyancing” — or in our case “Intelligent Searches” — to describe the result of this thinking.
While Search Acumen is a conveyancing search provider we don’t see ourselves as a channel for official and personal searches or as an “old school” personal search company. And we have no particular axe to grind over the official versus personal debate. However, from this largely neutral position we can see that there are conveyancer misperceptions favouring official searches when comparing their quality, reliability and accuracy.
In any event the debate has moved on. As the customer, the conveyancer, quite rightly decides the debate anyway with their buying decision. Of course they look for quality, reliability and accuracy. But the ability to quote a national price is very useful to them. In addition, we are sure that conveyancers want to see search provision that harnesses technology to deliver searches in ways that alleviate the productivity and compliance challenges they face. These are the matters that concern conveyancers — not a squabble over whether a local government officer’s signature means that the search is likely to be more accurate or comprehensive (questionable in our experience).. Or whether local authorities deliberately disadvantage their competition (the personal search companies) by making access to relevant information difficult. Or why official searches are expensive compared to personal searches….and so on.
The commercial reality should be that all search providers innovate to provide a better service to the conveyancer. And this is one area — innovation — where the personal search companies have been clearly superior. The Con29 form has hardly changed in content, form or function since I first started doing searches thirty years ago.
An example on innovation: local authorities went from paper format to electronic by creating .pdf documents. A .pdf is an inflexible image of the paper form. It makes innovative enhancements like the application of our Deductive Technology difficult. This is not a problem when the data is collected using the personal search method. It is collected and stored in a flexible format that can be enhanced to, for example, address the issues of productivity and compliance referred to above. As we evolve into a conveyancing world where this flexibility is harnessed to deliver an “Intelligent Search”, local authorities may be left behind. Let’s hope they wake up and smell the coffee — otherwise it’s going to get personal. Again.
ps Would love to hear from a local authority on innovative search provision….?