For Anita Hackett, Valocity’s Chief Product Officer, the critical element to Valocity’s success is keeping the customer at the heart of everything they do, and key to this is Anita’s role, “I love being an enabler”, she says. “One of the biggest and most stressful things you can do in life is purchase a house, so if we can make that process go smoother and help banks to say ‘yes’ to their customer faster, everybody wins”.
That’s exactly what Anita and her team at Valocity do; they develop SaaS products that benefit a range of customers throughout the property buying journey. Valocity delivers several solutions that support each stage of the journey and differing levels of technology maturity and needs.
“One of our most satisfying achievements at Valocity is our ability to adapt the technology to work with any process or market and go live fast. We’ve developed technology led products that add value in incredibly mature markets like Australia, but that are equally deployable and immediately add value in emerging markets like India. It’s game changing.”
Anita joined Valocity two years ago after a 17-year career in banking. There isn’t a single part of the end-to-end home lending process she hasn’t worked in; from vendor and relationship management to lending, risk, sales, and operations, she understands the mechanics of the mortgage lending process better than most. Now, Anita applies that deep industry knowledge to Valocity’s product set, solving for integrated, automated, scalable, and frictionless property valuation experiences that ultimately result in quicker decisioning time for banks.
On lean design thinking, agile product development and customer validation
“Like most tech start-ups, product development at Valocity was initially technology-led and this has given us an incredibly innovative, native cloud-based platform to work with. Over the last few years that focus has shifted to accelerating a world class global and robust product function, keeping the customer at the centre of everything we do. We’ve designed everything we do around agile principles, lean design thinking and customer validation to ensure the products we develop have a forward-looking view and will add value instantly as well as in the long term.”
“For Valocity, being agile means trying out our ideas and having the nous and nimbleness to pivot when necessary to deliver to changing client, regulatory and market needs. To achieve this, we have a high degree of discipline around the ways we interact, which brings enormous benefits to our clients wanting to embrace Fintech solutions to deliver digital faster and efficiently access greater product context, faster ideation, and a more refined process of test, learn and iterate. This all delivers huge benefits to the lenders we work with and is the reason we’ve never lost a client at Valocity and have zero client churn.”
“The pace we work at is incredibly fast at Valocity. We’re not hamstrung by red tape or legacy technology so it’s incredibly easy for us to innovate and consistently bring new tech to market. Being so close to our customers also helps, we act swiftly and decisively and often develop in partnership with them. We’re always thinking about what problem we are solving, how we can challenge our customers’ thinking and what’s going to really move the needle with respect to getting them to ‘yes’ faster. We’re always looking at how we can improve the end-to-end property valuation process and reporting, and our customers’ feedback and collaboration plays an integral role in this. For Valocity and product innovation, these partnerships have been incredibly important.”
On the biggest challenges as Chief Product Officer
“There are so many opportunities out there, the biggest challenge is to prioritise them all. It’s very easy to go down a rabbit hole when the paths ahead are plentiful, so it’s also about maintaining the discipline of delivering smarter, faster, and leaner. There’s a fine balance.”
“The product team is collaborative and supportive and willing to try new things. We’re constantly introducing new and better ways of working that bring rigour and emphasis to the process without impeding progress. It’s part of being an agile customer led business and means we have less wastage and a sharper focus on the things that matter.”
On the product team
“My team is spread all over the world, so it’s always challenging aligning different time zones and remote teams. I have a very strong leadership team who oversee a lot of the day-to-day, which enables me to become more entrenched in our customers’ businesses. This close touch with customers brings a very deep understanding of their current needs as well as their future plans to ensure we are always developing ahead of what’s required.”
“Product really is the conduit that connects all parts of the business. So, my team collaborates across the entire organisation to gather requirements. We’re the ones bringing the products to life for our customers and this value is ever-changing, so I look for people with great stakeholder management and organisational skills, a good attitude, and the ability to look beyond today. It’s having the right mindset and attitude that counts the most. I think this is one of our points of difference – the people we hire. We’re not just a skillset like sales or coding, we really understand the workings of the mortgage and valuation process, and this helps us develop really great products that our customers need.”
On what’s next for Valocity
“Valocity’s platform is modular and highly configurable, and this allows us to constantly innovate. We are always improving the existing and developing new components that will add value in multiple geographies. Our agility also means we can customise out platform to suit our clients’ unique requirements; we have lots of reporting and commercial features plus some innovative new payment types coming out early next year.”
“I’m also really interested in the open banking space and helping people have a clear view of their entire wealth profiles. Utilising the freedom of information around data and how this can be exposed to a customer to help them understand their total worth and what they can achieve with property investment is something we’re passionate about enabling.”
On what has enabled career success to date
“I’ve had amazing leaders in my career who have mentored and guided me on my journey and provided opportunities. All it takes is for a great manager to see something in you and give you a chance through autonomy and free thinking. That’s why I’m where I am today, and I try to do this for my people too.”
“I’ve found an industry that I love so it’s easy to excel when you do something you’re passionate about. I love to help customers and get great satisfaction from seeing them buy a home. Find something you love doing and it’ll never feel like work.”
“You have to be efficient and responsive to succeed. Don’t waste time on things that don’t matter, and always be available to customers and colleagues. These things are incredibly important to me.”
And finally, advice for someone wanting to get into a product role
“I mentioned earlier that product is really the connected to all parts of a business. You’re helping bring something to life for your customers, so you have to be able to see things from more than one point of view; customer because they’re the end user so it has to add.
Valocity is a globally awarded FinTech company transforming and digitising the property decisioning process globally with customers across Australia, New Zealand, India, and Asia.
Valocity digitises the entire property valuation process with its unique Microsoft Azure hosted, cloud-based valuation platform, with bespoke solutions for residential, commercial, and agricultural lending.
It combines the best of nationwide property data with global technology and advanced analytics expertise to create, customised insights, and valuation solutions that enable data driven decision making and more seamless customer experiences.
For more information, please visit valocityglobal.com or contact
Sara Pesic, Head of Marketing, Valocity