PEXA ascends to the cloud

PEXA’s shift to the cloud is an important step towards future-proofing the property exchange platform, the organisaton’s CTO says

Paper-based conveyancing – the legal preparation of documents for the transfer of property – is a complex and laborious process which relies on paper records and the physical presence of all relevant parties.

Often taking up to 30 days to complete, buyers and sellers can experience numerous delays such as a lag in financial approval/settlement, manual processing errors or late submissions. It is inefficient, time consuming and until recently, was the only system available for the legal transfer of property in Australia.

However, the Australian conveyancing industry is undergoing a digital transformation sparked by the establishment of an electronic lodgment and settlement system – e-Conveyancing.

Part of the broader digital transformation of the Australian economy, e-Conveyancing eliminates the manual processes and paperwork associated with property settlement by enabling lawyers, conveyancers and financial institutions to transact together via an online property exchange.

Property Exchange Australia Ltd (PEXA) - Australia’s online property exchange network - was established in 2010 to deliver a single, national e-Conveyancing solution to the Australian property industry that’s fast, safe and efficient.

In preparation for a fully digitised lodgement and settlement process – which PEXA anticipates, with current growth trends, is achievable before 2021-22 – future-proofing the reliability and continued high performance of the platform was absolutely paramount for the organisation, and future customer satisfaction levels.

Consequently, PEXA began exploring options on how it could upgrade its system to preempt future technological shifts. Following a thorough root and branch review of its technological architecture, PEXA decided in early 2017 to begin the nine month process of transferring its core workloads from physical data centres, to a hyper-scale cloud-based environment.

With the promise of greater functionality, resilience and much faster speeds, the transfer of the PEXA platform across to Amazon Web Services has created a super resilient network which is now working much harder, faster and more efficiently than ever before. 

On day one of the new platform going live, the PEXA network experienced a 30 per cent improvement in response times without any change to its software. In addition, transactions were processed concurrently across multiple data centres rather than relying on a single, primary site.

I believe the relocation of the PEXA platform to Amazon Web Services has ensured PEXA is well placed to quickly adapt to technological changes as they occur, while simultaneously providing a cutting edge service for all its customers.

Customer satisfaction was the primary motivation behind our decision to migrate our platform to Amazon. Continuing to manage our physical technological infrastructure was not desirable, so we decided to bite the bullet and make the move to the cloud. 

The migration also allowed us the opportunity to rebuild the entire PEXA infrastructure in code, abandon our dependency on accessibility to a physical server, and complete our journey of automation. This has revolutionised technology change management and data security levels for both PEXA and its customers, and the resulting benefits have been enormous.

We believe the PEXA platform is now adequately future-proofed against any possible capacity issues that could arise down the track, thanks to the vast amount of online capacity we can tap into via the cloud.

For example, we can now provision hardware in approximately three minutes, which means we can quickly access extra capacity when and where we need it.

According to a recent Deloitte Access Economics report into e-Conveyancing, Australian property industry practitioners could stand to benefit to the tune of approximately $89 million per annum if a digitised lodgment and settlement process achieves 100 per cent uptake by 2021-22.

Graham Link is chief technology officer at PEXA.