At Goodlord, 2020 wasn’t just about adapting and responding to Covid-19 in the short term. Although the post-Covid world was hard to predict, we knew people would still be letting, so we were careful to maintain a long-term view of the future in every decision we made.
A new company group
In 2020, mid-pandemic, Goodlord joined forces with Vouch, the Sheffield based, fully automated, referencing platform, to create the Goodlord group.
Vouch has built a reputation over the years for being fast, reliable and affordable. Our Product Manager in charge of Goodlord Referencing had suggested multiple times in the past that we should explore a partnership opportunity but we were lucky enough to go one step further and bring them into the group.
We had the challenge of integrating both platforms so a Goodlord user could choose to use Goodlord or Vouch referencing. Neither system was built with acquisition in mind and we wanted to get the integration out the door before the end of the year so that our customers could start reaping the benefits in 2021.
For most companies, this would probably mean lots of overtime with no guarantee of success but, with our mature product process and careful planning and coordination, we were able to get the integration done in under two months and out before the Christmas holidays.
A new partnership
We’re always looking for partnership opportunities in order to improve the lettings experience and the launch of the new Reapit Foundations platform in 2020 gave us the chance to integrate with one of the leading Property Management System (PMS) providers.
All agents have a PMS of some sort where they store information about properties that they are managing. If the agent's PMS is not linked with the Goodlord platform, the agent ends up duplicating some information. With the integration, duplication is eliminated, so the agent saves time and avoids errors.
Our customers all have different requirements for referencing based on their target audience so, in 2020, we relaunched our referencing product. We introduced a tiered system to offer more choice and flexibility - and we implemented a couple of the latest technology solutions to ensure a safe and fast turnaround on our recommendations, at all levels.
We introduced open banking, to give an overview of a tenant's financial health, safely and securely - a key component of any reference, not least at this time of financial uncertainty for many.
We also introduced a bank-grade authentication service that uses facial recognition to match photos of applicants to the photo on their ID. This biometric technology - which is used across airports and the financial sector - gives near-instant confirmation of tenants and guarantors’ identification, speeding up the referencing process for our agents.
We aim to continue this strategy into the future, to carry on building a robust referencing product supported by the latest technologies to ensure long-term scalability and security for agents.
The coming year
Now in 2021, there’s hope on the horizon, with the vaccine and people getting used to the new normal. For the Goodlord tech team, we’re looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead.
We'll be going all in on partnerships to ensure that we can deliver an end-to-end lettings solution to agents. We’ll deliver new features and products where a satisfactory solution in the market doesn't already exist. With Vouch's technology on board, we have the opportunity to raise the bar on referencing, making it easier and faster.
We also plan to move into the Scottish lettings market, partnering with agents there to create a better renting experience for tenants and landlords.
At a more technical level, we’re replacing our email generating templates with a Sendgrid integration, to help our marketing team manage the look and feel as well as the timing and frequency of emails. We’re also at the point where separating some functionality out into independent services is the smart thing to do so we’ll take the opportunity to introduce new server side languages such as Go and Python.
The to-do list is long and growing but, with the right team in place, I’m sure we’ll get all this done, and more.
Oh Goodlord Limited is an Appointed Representative of Goodlord Protect Limited for general insurance products and credit broking. Goodlord Protect Limited is directly authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority, registration number 836727. You can check this information on the Financial Services Register by visiting www.fca.org.uk/register or by telephoning 0800 111 6768 (Freephone) or 0300 500 8082 from the UK. The FCA is the independent watchdog that regulates financial services.