Technology plans are like politicians: short on substance, long on prose, and unlikely to do what they’re supposed to do.
As I cover chief information officer duties here in addition to my daily game of “What’s the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund charging us this time?” I watch what others do on the systems front.
|James Collins is Credit Union Magazine's humor columnist.|
Are they doing things that support a grand, overall plan? Or is it as chaotic and random as a teenager shopping in the junk food aisle?
One problem with many information technology (IT) plans is that they aren’t based on the organization’s needs, but rather are continuations of old practices. Many plans fall into one of these categories (any of these sound familiar?):
A good IT plan not only supports your strategic goals, but is part of them. Take, for instance, USAA.
Personally, I’m a member of USAA, thanks to my father and his 20 years in the Air Force—dragging us from Iceland to Boston in an apparently successful attempt to drive my mother mad. Indeed, USAA’s online systems are well done. But remember one thing—they must be.
USAA is a wonderfully convenient bank, as long as you live within 10 miles of Fort Worth, Texas. But with its membership (active and retired military) spread to all corners of the earth, USAA made a strategic decision to use technology to overcome its obvious geographical handicap.
Indeed, USAA’s strategic plan is uniquely its own. Given its chosen market, USAA has implemented a wide range of technology and business practices—from remote deposit services to ATM fee reimbursements—meant to make the bank “less” inconvenient. In short, its technology plan was adapted to achieve its overall business plan.
A technology plan should focus on overcoming obstacles and achieving strategic goals. For example:
With the industry evolving through an unprecedented era of change, your credit union must examine every function to see if its direction is critical to meeting strategic goals.
JAMES COLLINS is chief financial officer at O Bee CU, Tumwater, Wash. Contact him at 360-943-0740.