The Silicon Review
“We are 100 percent client-driven in our direction, strategically and functionality-wise.”
Technology is spurring financial inclusion around the world, enabling millions of people and businesses to join the global economy.
Access to financial services is critical for global development, as it makes it easier to invest across sectors such as real estate, education, health, etc. Technologies offer a powerful way to boost financial access.
In light of the foregoing, we’re pleased to present North Shore Systems, LLC -- an industry leader in providing technical solutions to the commercial real estate finance industry.
North Shore Systems, LLC is comprised of a select group of management, industry and technical professionals with more than 70 years of combined experience in the financial services IT industry. Featuring state-of-the-art pipeline systems for everything from the origination through the securitization of commercial mortgages, North Shore offers comprehensive solutions for brokers, mortgage bankers, and both portfolio and conduit lenders.
The company was established in 1998 and is based in San Clemente, CA.
Brian McCracken: Interview Highlights
Q.Why was the company set up? And how did you expand your company and its offerings over the years?
The company was formed when I left another small software company in the commercial loan servicing arena to start North Shore Systems. With the vision of developing the best end-to-end platform specifically for commercial mortgage debt and equity investments, I reached out to key resources I had done business with in the past to form the foundation of the company. We were fortunate enough to be able to demonstrate to, and gain the trust of, a major player in the capital markets based in Irvine, CA, doing brokered, structured, CMBS, and ultimately balance-sheet lending. Thus the North Shore system had to support these different debt investment products, and it was designed from the ground up to support multiple lines of business within an enterprise simultaneously while providing specific functionality for each individual. The flexibility and versatility of the system helped North Shore gain new clients in different segments of the market. With each new client, new enhancements were made and incorporated into the base system, a business model that has resulted in one all-encompassing code base available to all of its customers today.
Q. How successful was your first project roll on? Share the experience.
A system is not ‘flushed out’ or mature until it is used, in production, by multiple clients. So the first few roll outs undoubtedly take a much longer time than anticipated. What’s important is keeping everyone informed with the progress, and managing the design, build, and implementation processes very carefully and with the right resources. A system like ours takes a lot of planning, and participation on the front-end of managers and subject-matter experts to configure the system workflow optimally. We as a company have also honed our methodology of implementing a system, increased chances of successful adaption, and made the process less impactful to the clients’ operation as they convert over to a digital, database-driven operation.
Q. What kind of responses have you received from your consumers over the years? How have they motivated you to shape your offerings/grow the company?
We are 100 percent client-driven in our direction, strategically and functionality-wise. Our customers come, go, change, and adapt as the economy and the capital markets changes over time. The responses to our offerings vary widely because it is traditionally a low-volume, low tech environment that needs to see a reason for the change, and only a few really have the vision of the benefits possible. So, a lot of what we have had to do is to build transitional tools, integrate with legacy, help define industry standards for data exchange, and provide the maximum amount of flexibility and configurability possible.
Q. How do you stay relevant to the consumer interests and needs in this highly volatile market?
We deliberately maintain our size and implementation pipeline, specifically for the purpose of being able to adapt our product or alter the product development focus very quickly. Likewise, our code is developed, so it is easy to adapt and mix and match modules and components and make external connections. You know the old analogy of ‘turning a battleship’, and we don’t ever want to be in that position.
Q. “Earning trust and respect of consumers all around the world is through consistent focus on delivering high quality in all of our actions.” How do you interpret this statement?
Excellence and professionalism in everything you do is of utmost importance, particularly for a smaller firm, which will always receive more scrutiny and perceived risk, and must, therefore, project an image as one that can be trusted going forward. This applies to everything from answering the phone to delivering code.
Q. Fostering a culture of feedback is crucial to the success of every organization. How is this true with your company?
Our customers have an open channel of communication with all the members of the company. An online tool called TestTrack is used to submit all types of requests, suggestions, issues, 24/7, and have them directed to the appropriate party within the company. This feedback loop is used to support customers, assign priorities, store requirements, track progress, and plan for future activities and release contents.
Q!. How does your company contribute to the global IT platform?
North Shore contributes to the global IT platform by connecting clients with customers and other service providers; digitizing data; helping companies go paperless; useless email; ensure more transparency in credit decisions; making operations more efficient and improving the customer experience.
Q. Do you have any new products ready to be launched?
Our new Loan Servicing and Accounting offering is the last piece of the puzzle, will be available later this year.
Q. Where do you see your company a couple of years from now?
I see North Shore going stronger than ever; will have at least five new customers implemented by 2022.
Brian McCracken: The Driving Force Behind North Shore Systems, LLC
Brian McCracken, President, serves as the Chief Executive Officer of North Shore Systems. He also serves as the president of McCracken Consulting Group.