IT Brief New Zealand logo
Technology news for New Zealand's largest enterprises
Partner content
Story image

Digitally transforming the world’s home valuation market

By Nick Forrester
Thu 20 Aug 2020
FYI, this story is more than a year old

It’s no secret the home-buying process can be complex and anxiety-inducing.

Prospective buyers need to jump through multiple hoops, and even after the sale is under contract, the deal can still fall through. Everything hangs on whether the banks will agree to lend on the property and at what value, in time to meet the conditions of purchase.

Banks, mortgage brokers, valuers and lawyers all play an essential and interconnected part in ensuring the purchase is finalised. If the valuation doesn’t match the price paid, the process takes too long, or there’s an unforeseen issue, the entire purchase could fall through.

Carmen Vicelich, CEO and founder of Valocity, recognised there was a better way to coordinate the medley of stakeholders involved in finalising a home loan.

Thus began Valocity Global, a company which leverages technology and data to create a digitised, connected ecosystem, enabling every stakeholder in the loan lifecycle to make faster and more accurate decisions.

Since its beginning in 2014, Valocity has expanded from its original Auckland and Wellington office into both the Australian and Indian market, with offices in Sydney, New Delhi and Mumbai.

Paperwork, time delays and lost deals are all minimised through the use of Valocity, an integrated platform where banks can direct valuers to complete property valuations. Valuers can seamlessly upload their reports onto the platform, whereby brokers and lenders can assess and finalise the loan.
 

Valocity and Azure – the perfect fit

Valocity is a classic example of entrepreneurial spirit mixing with digital nouse to build an ecosystem that streamlines an otherwise manual tedious and convoluted process. However, with the company’s customers emphasising data sovereignty and the ability to scale, it needed the right technology partner to bring its vision to life.

Vicelich says Microsoft Azure was the best option, based on the provider’s flexibility and costs, as well as its wider availability and depth of services globally.

“The service we provide is business-critical, which means there is very little room for error,” says Vicelich.

“We need it to be secure, accurate and seamless; otherwise, our bank customers just can’t progress, no matter how innovative the solution.”    

Since its inception, Valocity has been hosted and run in Microsoft Azure Cloud, and Vicelich says this has benefited both the company and its customers.

“When you are dealing with banks, there are logically many requirements around compliance and data storage, including data sovereignty, so we needed a provider with data centers around the world,” adds Vicelich.

“We also need to keep different customer data containerised in the cloud environment, and there are incredibly robust security protocols in place, which also helps us adhere to compliance and best practice.”

Microsoft’s support during Valocity’s DevOps process was also incredibly valuable. Azure built and architected the code, then tested and rolled it out – all in one ‘seamless’ experience.

This was just further validation of the cultural alignment between Valocity and Microsoft Azure, according to Vicelich.

“Microsoft has this passion and hunger for creating better products and services, and it has done this for years to deliver on its purpose to help everyone achieve more,” she says.

“Valocity embodies those values and attributes too – we have always built world-class and will never stop innovating to create a better outcome for our clients and their customers and to be all that we can be.”

Microsoft commercial partner director Matt Bostwick sees the Valocity offering as bringing the best of both accessibility, scalability and compliance together in the one solution.

“Because the whole platform is hosted in the cloud, Valocity can utilise the security and reliability of Azure to support sensitive property information that underpins millions of dollars in bank lending to customers,” says Bostwick.

“This is imperative if you are going to operate in these highly regulated industries. And what’s really exciting for Valocity is they are able to scale the business easily as they expand into new geographies.”
 

An opportunity in India

After achieving success in her own backyard and across the Tasman, growth opportunities were coming to the fore, and soon Vicelich was in the enviable position of considering which region in the world to expand into.

And - bucking the usual trend towards the US and Europe - the company chose India.

“Socially and economically, India made the most sense. India has a high population of residents who are unbanked – they have no credit score and no bank account because there’s high cash use,” says Vicelich.

After an initial investigation into the market, it soon became evident that the technology offered by Valocity filled a significant gap - banks were using invalidated data to make high-risk decisions, and much of the valuation system in the region was bogged down by manual and tedious processes. The company’s specialisation in data digitisation and process automation was a game-changer, according to Vicelich.

The technology helps to codify and organise dwellings in the country, many of which don’t have official or recorded addresses. Using the Valocity Connect app, valuers can validate dwellings by geo-tagging them, as well as upload pictures and details of the property - all within a time-stamped, voice-enabled interface.

“Our partnership with Microsoft certainly helped us as all the banks are already using Microsoft cloud services,” says Vicelich.

“There was familiarity in the product and the brand, and there was also a local Microsoft team bringing added credibility in a new market where the company was trying to introduce new and innovative technology.”
 

COVID-19, lockdown – and beyond

As a company headquartered in Auckland, Valocity, like many other Kiwi companies, saw their doors close temporarily in March and April amidst one of the most restrictive COVID-19 lockdowns in the world. This is not to say, however, that business had been postponed.

Valocity acted quickly, reimagining its Connect App to allow homeowners to seamlessly download the APP and share photos and files with the valuer through a template enabling business continuity and remote valuations to enable banks to continue to lend to customers for refinancing when they needed it most. 

“The valuers’ assessment was backed up by high-res imagery that was time-stamped and geo-tagged, and information that was authenticated via the customers’ digital signature,” says Vicelich.

“When correlated with existing data, the valuers were able to make informed decisions about the property’s value completing a remote valuation inspection and allowing the bank to continue lending throughout the crisis.”

Matt Bostwick believes this is simply another case of Valocity seeing an opportunity and taking it with both hands. 

“Real estate markets are growing every day as cities around the world get bigger and busier. We saw through lockdown that even real estate doesn’t stop, so it’s important businesses like Valocity offer tools that allow banks, brokers and agents to support their customers and partners anytime, anywhere,” he said.

With that lockdown behind them, the team at Valocity continue to be galvanised, with optimism to a future where the acceleration of digital connectivity is only increasing, and expansion for the company is almost certainly on the horizon.  

“If we can operate successfully through a lockdown and in a sizable complex market like India, then we know we can go anywhere, in any language and any location,” said Vicelich. 

“The best is yet to come and the future is ours to create!”

To learn more about Microsoft’s work with other ISVs, please click here. To learn more about Valocity, please click here.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Employment
Tech job moves - Forcepoint, Malwarebytes, SolarWinds & VMware
We round up all job appointments from May 13-20, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Migration
Let’s clear the cloud visibility haze with app awareness
Increasingly, organisations are heading for the cloud, initiating new born-in-the-cloud architectures and migrating existing applications via ‘lift and shift’ or refactoring.
Story image
Remote Working
Successful digital transformation in the hybrid work era is about embracing shifting goalposts
As organisations embraced remote working, many discovered they lacked the infrastructure needed to support history’s first global load test of remote work capabilities.
Story image
Vectra AI
Understanding the weight on security leader’s shoulders, and how to shift it
Millions of dollars of government funding and internal budgets are being funnelled into cybersecurity to build resilience against sophisticated threats, indicating how serious this issue has become.
Story image
Wireless Nation
Wireless Nation, N4L provide 4G network to remote NZ schools
Wireless Nation and Network for Learning (N4L) have rolled out the Rural Connectivity Group’s (RCG) new 4G network to better connect three Chatham Islands schools.
Story image
Attain
Revenue operations is taking centre stage
As the business world continues to evolve, new demands need to be met to keep up with the ever-changing landscape. 
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
CFOs using digital workers and AI to prevent unnecessary loss
New technology is now allowing CFOs to use digital workers to automate their accounting processes, making it easier for them to avoid unnecessary losses.
Story image
Digital Transformation
How to modernise legacy apps without compromising security
At a time when digital transformation has become central to business, even the most important applications come with a ‘use-by’ date.
Story image
Apricorn
Data backup plans inadequate, data still at risk - study
The Apricorn 2022 Global IT Security Survey revealed that while the majority organisations have data backup plans in place, data for many are at risk.
Story image
Fonterra
Fonterra to use automated guided vehicles by Dematic
New Zealand's dairy giant Fonterra is upgrading its manufacturing facility in Edendale with new automated guided vehicles (AGVs) from Dematic.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Pluralsight and Ingram Micro Cloud team up on cloud initiative
Pluralsight has teamed with Ingram Micro Cloud to build upon cloud competence and maturity internally, and externally support partners’ capabilities.
Story image
Wireless
Cradlepoint expands its Cellular Intelligence capabilities
Cradlepoint has announced additional Cellular Intelligence capabilities with its NetCloud service.
Story image
SaaS
Maintaining secure systems with expectations of flexible work
Most office workers feel they've proved they can work successfully from home, and as much as employers try, things aren't going back to the way they were anytime soon.
Exabeam
Find out how a behavioural analytics-driven approach can transform security operations with the new Exabeam commissioned Forrester study.
Link image
Story image
Ransomware
Cybersecurity starts with education
In 2021, 80% of Australian organisations responding to the Sophos State of Ransomware study reported being hit by ransomware. 
Story image
Digital Transformation
The Huawei APAC conference kicks off with digital transformation
More than 1500 people from across APAC have gathered for the Huawei APAC Digital Innovation Congress to explore the future of digital innovation.
Story image
Sisense
Data and analytics could be key to higher selling prices in APAC
Sisense's latest report has found that almost half of data professionals in APAC think customised data and analytics can create better selling prices for their products.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
How to ensure ethical deployment of AI implementations
The increase in automation and machine technology such as AI and machine learning has unlocked a whole new level of scale and service to organisations. 
Story image
Cybersecurity
A10 Networks finds over 15 million DDoS weapons in 2021
A10 Networks notes that in the 2H 2021 reporting period, its security research team tracked more than 15.4 million Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) weapons.
Story image
Customer experience
Gartner recognises Okta for abilities in Access Management
Okta has announced it has been recognised as a Customers' Choice for the fourth time in a row in the Gartner Peer Insights "Voice of the Customer" report.
Softiron
For every 10PB of storage run on HyperDrive vs. comparable alternatives, an estimated 6,656 tonnes of CO₂ are saved by reduced energy consumption alone over its lifespan. That’s the equivalent of taking nearly 1,500 cars off the road for a year.
Link image
Story image
Malware
New vulnerabilities found in Nuspire’s Q1 2022 Threat Report
“Threat actors are quickly adjusting their tactics and these exploits tend to get industry attention, but the threat posed by older and attacks still persists."
Story image
Sustainability
Grasping the opportunity to rethink the metrics of a sustainable data centre
A data centre traditionally has two distinct operations teams: the Facility Operations team, and the IT Operations team. Collaboration between them is the key to defining, measuring, and delivering long-term efficiency and sustainability improvements.
Story image
Qualys
Qualys updates Cloud Platform solution with rapid remediation
The new update is designed to enable organisations to fix asset misconfigurations, patch OS and third-party applications, and deploy custom software.
Story image
Ransomware
Alarming surge in Conti Ransomware Group activity - report
A new report has identified a 7.6 per cent increase in the number of vulnerabilities tied to ransomware in Q1 2022.
Darktrace
Threat actors are exploiting weaknesses in interconnected IT/OT ecosystems. Darktrace illuminates your entire business and takes targeted action to stop emerging attacks.
Link image
Story image
Sift
Sift shares crucial advice for preventing serious ATO breaches
Are you or your business struggling with Account Takeover Fraud (ATO)? One of the latest ebooks from Sift can provide readers with the tools and expertise to help launch them into the new era of account security.
Story image
Data Center
Preventing downtime costs and damage with Distributed Infrastructure Management
Distributed Infrastructure Management (DIM) can often be a lifeline for many enterprises that work with highly critical ICT infrastructure and power sources.
Story image
Microsoft
PwC NZ unveils new Cloud Security Operations Center
PwC New Zealand has unveiled its new Cloud Security Operations Center for the entire Microsoft technology stack.
Story image
Sustainability
Power at the edge: the role of data centers in sustainability
The Singaporean moratorium on new data center projects was recently lifted, with one of the conditions being an increased focus on power efficiency and sustainability.
Story image
Sustainability
Legrand unveils Nexpand, a data center cabinet platform
Legrand has unveiled a new data center cabinet platform, Nexpand, to offer the necessary scalability and future-proof architecture for digital transformation.
Story image
Supply chain
Jetstack promotes better security with supply chain toolkit
The web-based resource is designed to help organisations evaluate and plan the crucial steps they need to establish effective software supply chain security.
Story image
Ransomware
A third of companies paying ransom don’t recover data - report
Veeam's report finds 76% of businesses who are victims of cyberattacks paid the ransom to recover data, but a third were still unable to get their information back.
Story image
Digital Transformation
The impact of COVID-19 on healthcare environments and care delivery
The COVID-19 pandemic has revolutionised the healthcare industry while overcoming staff shortages, social distancing requirements, and lockdowns.
Story image
SaaS
Rubrik Security Cloud marks 'next frontier' in cybersecurity
"The next frontier in cybersecurity pairs the investments in infrastructure security with data security giving companies security from the point of data."
Story image
Lightspeed
Lightspeed launches all-in-one marketing platform in A/NZ
ECommerce provider, Lightspeed has launched a new all-in-one marketing solution, Lightspeed Marketing & Loyalty in Australia and New Zealand.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Trading up: It's time to swap core systems for flexible digital applications
This year will see more oranisations planning and commencing high tech renovations that will shake up the way they operate.
Story image
Application Security
What are the DDoS attack trend predictions for 2022?
Mitigation and recovery are vital to ensuring brand reputation remains solid in the face of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack and that business growth and innovation can continue.
Story image
Data Protection
Barracuda launches new capabilities for API Protection
"Every business needs this type of critical protection against API vulnerabilities and automated bot attacks," Barracuda says.
Booster
Booster Innovation Fund. A fund of Kiwi ingenuity – for Kiwi investors.
Link image
Story image
Cybersecurity
More than 40% of banks worried about cloud security - report
Publicis Sapient's new report finds security and the lack of cloud skills and internal understanding of business benefits are big obstacles for banks moving to the cloud.
Story image
Customer experience
Research unveils precarious customer loyalty for retailers
New research has found customers are reassessing established brand loyalties as their priorities and behaviours shift.
Story image
Excel
Could your Excel practices be harming your business?
While Excel has been the de-facto standard for budgeting, planning, and forecasting, is it alone, enough to support organisations in the global marketplace that’s facing rapid changes due to digital transformation?
Story image
Microsoft
New Relic enters multi-year partnership with Microsoft Azure
New Relic has announced a strategic partnership with Microsoft to help enterprises accelerate cloud migration and multi-cloud initiatives.