CUSTOMER STORY: Jeff Previte, EVP, IT, CrossCountry mortgage
Transformational IT leader supports a rapidly growing mortgage company with
Jeff Previte details his keys to success in leading IT at CrossCountry Mortgage
CrossCountry Mortgage, LLC is one of the United States’ largest and fastest growing retail mortgage lenders. The company’s mission is simple: provide the best possible advice and benefit to their clients’ financial needs while facilitating a straightforward, transparent mortgage process for buyers, sellers and realtors.
Helping to enable the company’s recent growth and success has been a tight alignment between the business and the IT organization led by Jeff Previte, EVP of Information Technology. CrossCountry has grown from a few hundred employees to several thousand during the past few years. To assist with their ambitious goals, Previte and his leadership team leverage Info-Tech Research Group for its highly relevant practical research and expert guidance.
Jeff Previte, EVP, IT, CrossCountry MortgageNMLS 3029. Equal Housing Opportunity
Financial Services and Insurance
"The First 100 Days as CIO blueprint was really instructive in my early success to set the stage for how I wanted to organize and bring about change in the IT department"
First steps in building a world-class IT organization
When Jeff Previte joined CrossCountry over two years ago he set out to transform the IT organization, starting first by developing a thorough understanding of his new team and their challenges and opportunities. “When I lead a new organization, the first thing I like to do is open up communication channels and meet individually with each team member in a three-part meeting series. This includes a ‘get to know you’ as a person, a ‘day-in-the-life’ exploration of their role, and a clear understanding of what they see as opportunities for change,” said Previte.
These conversations, along with meeting business stakeholders, led to the creation of a ‘current state assessment’ report that provided a comprehensive roadmap for how to enact change for the organization – a document Previte shared with his team and still looks back on today.
To assist him with developing his strategy during his early days as IT leader at the organization, Previte leveraged Info-Tech First 100 Days as CIO blueprint. “This was really instructive in my early success to set the stage for how I wanted to organize and bring about change in the IT department,” noted Previte. In addition, the strategic perspective he developed in working with his Info-Tech executive counselor and Info-Tech Analysts helped him create a structure for the organization to set it up for future success.
Transforming IT service management
One of Previte’s tasks in leading his new organization was to improve the IT service desk. “There were a lot of challenges with our Service Desk when I started – costs were going through the roof and we had instances where a tier-3 person might be mostly handling a tier-1 activity,” said Previte.
By getting the talent in place for success and leveraging Info-Tech advisors for a series of educational calls, the team rolled out the Info-Tech Standardize the Service Desk blueprint. Previte along with everyone involved saw tremendous process improvements. “Our goal was to bring down our cost per ticket from $11 to $9 and we’re currently down to $10. When you consider that we have 4,000 tickets come in per month, that is already a significant savings and we’re only just getting started,” said Previte.
With the goal of continuing to drive performance excellence, IT Service Management now leverages Info-Tech on a continuous basis to tackle unique challenges that come up with the goal of continuing to drive performance excellence.
"The new insight and approach to negotiating contracts led to an estimated $2.1M in total IT savings in a short six-month period."
Tackling Vendor Management processes to unlock significant savings
Another area Previte singled out for improvement was the company’s vendor management selection and contracting process. Info-Tech provides extensive research and expertise with vendor contract reviews and negotiations to spot potential issues during the contract review process and help capture significant savings. “With Info-Tech’s help, we’re now a more proactive vendor manager,” said Previte. “We use new negotiating techniques for major software purchases and instituted a new RFP process. Recently, we were able to negotiate a substantial credit from a vendor that never would have happened in the past. This new insight and approach to negotiating contracts led to an estimated $2.1M in total IT savings in a short six- month period which is simply outstanding,” said Previte.
Building an AgileDevOps approach to meet the organization’s ever-changing needs
A third area that needed to be addressed when Previte began his tenure was shifting from silos within IT to a more comprehensive and strategically aligned organization. Previte recognized that an Agile Journey is not an easy one but something that is vital in the rapidly changing environment.
Making this concept resonate started with casting the vision and involved continually reinforcing where they were headed. “I also wanted to ensure that the team felt empowered and that mistakes would happen along the way. The team truly did an outstanding job of embracing key ideas and we are progressing along the Agile journey according to plan,” said Previte.
“Throughout my long career journey, I’ve learned to always have a passion for lifelong learning and always be willing to change and avoid stagnation.”
A mindset and strategy for successful change
Jeff Previte credits his success as an IT leader to having the right mindset to tackle new challenges. “Throughout my long career journey, I’ve learned to always have a passion for lifelong learning and always be willing to change and avoid stagnation,” said Previte.
Previte also puts a heavy focus on superior communication to help everyone navigate through potentially difficult changes. This strategy was especially important when tackling the company’s organization-wide digital transformation projects.
For one such project, implementing robotic process automation for a particular department, Previte realized that some may worry that the outcome of the project could be to eliminate jobs. To ensure buy-in and mitigate any fears, Previte and his team communicated that the changes being implemented would actually be a positive development that would mean eliminating menial tasks and adding more high-value work to the employees’ day-to-day jobs. That helped ensure a successful project and bring them one step closer to the ultimate goal of being a more digitally savvy organization.
Creating the right atmosphere for career development and retention
To help set up his organization for success, Previte also places a heavy emphasis on employee satisfaction and retention to ensure that team members have clear paths to advancement and change. Each job category, for example, clearly outlines the keys to success and the steps needed to move to the next level.
Previte also wants to ensure his team members have the chance to pursue new roles they might have interest in but lack the experience or skillset for. “I think it’s important to go beyond just simple training courses and really ensure we carve out time for employees to do hands-on activities for roles they’re interested in. This ensures we give employees a pathway to transition into these new roles, rather than simply hire outside the company,” said Previte. As a result of this dedicated initiative towards employee satisfaction and retention, the IT department went from an employee turnover of 60% five years ago to only about 12% last year.
"I really look at Info-Tech as a partner and an extension of our organization."
A partner for success
Jeff Previte is proud of the work he’s accomplished with his team and is looking to the future to continue elevating his IT department as a key business partner and creating an atmosphere where his employees feel empowered to grow their careers.
Info-Tech will continue to be a key resource for Previte and his IT team to assist with their journey. “We’ve leveraged multiple tools and resources from Info-Tech at key points of our change mandate and received invaluable ongoing guidance from our executive counselor and Info-Tech analysts. I really look at Info-Tech as a partner and an extension of our organization,” concluded Previte.