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Industry News

A Paragon Of MLS Systems

April 5, 2002

Fidelity National Info Solutions Digests HomeSeekers? XMLSWeb

By Bridget McCrea
Inman News Features

It?s been three months since Fidelity National Information Solutions acquired HomeSeekers? XMLSWeb division.

Digestion has gone without a hitch, but is only one course in a larger meal FNIS is putting together, according to Dick Ward, EVP of the Santa Barbara, Calif.-based company?s real estate business.

When it acquired the HomeSeekers division, FNIS took on 40 former Homeseekers employees, the company?s MLS products and several large accounts in major markets.

Ward said the new employees were assimilated smoothly and several have moved into key positions at FNIS. Ira Luntz now is a member of FNIS' product development team. Todd Colthorp is a leading account associate for FNIS. And Mark Spraetz is running FNIS? MLS operations.

FNIS is pulling together the 10 or so different MLS platforms it acquired in recent months along with the rest of its title database and other software platforms to create a single Web-based integrated platform.

"The whole dot-com era was about technology driving business," said Ward, a 31-year veteran of the real estate industry. "We?re letting business drive the technology solutions."

A majority-owned subsidiary of Fidelity National Financial, FNIS provides real estate tax services, credit reporting services, flood compliance services, automated valuation and appraisal services, environmental and natural hazard disclosure and other database-driven products.

Ward said 417 MLSs use FNIS? MLS applications and another thousand or so clients use Online Agent, a product that competes with Top Producer and is priced at $199, recently reduced from $500.

FNIS? integrated product is Paragon, an online MLS that?s been installed at 20 customer sites since Feb. 1. Ward expects more than 300 customers to be using it by the end of the year.

Paragon is a work in progress that will be tweaked to meet market trends and conditions, said Ward, who expects "all software to eventually integrate across all lines--from lending and settlement to vending channels, such as appraisers and home inspectors."

Ward said the nation?s real estate boards are showing interest in Paragon, especially when they realize that tying disparate software into a single solution means being able to include public records data on their MLS platforms, track the status of a contract or follow listing activity online.

The ongoing challenge for FNIS will be ensuring that business needs are properly translated into technology solutions--a feat Ward is confident FNIS can accomplish.

"Other companies can build their ?thin? software solutions," he said, "but no one has the financial power or interest in preserving business relationships with the real estate industry that we have."

Copyright: Inman News Service

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