We’re wrapping up production on our annual CUNA Environmental Scan Report (E-Scan), a longstanding strategic planning resource for credit unions.
One of the major themes throughout the 10 chapters: the use of data analytics.
It wasn’t too long ago that “big data” garnered just a brief mention in the E-Scan’s pages. Today, it’s a theme throughout the report, cited by experts and discussed by practitioners.
It’s certainly a sign of how business is changing throughout your credit union.
For example, executives from the CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council write that credit unions increasingly use big data to:
Investing in analytics is both smart and necessary, says John Best, one of this year’s E-Scan authors. Best is president/CEO of Best Innovation Group and a CUNA consulting partner in payments.
Understanding members’ spending and payments habits is the best way to add value to your member relationships and create new digital experiences and data-driven products, he says.
Your approach to data analytics, however, should be like “taming the Wild West,” Best told attendees at the recent CUNA Data Analytics Roundtable.
Six ways to accomplish this, according to Best:
1. Stake out new territory. Pioneers took risks. “As an industry, we tend to engineer the risk out of everything. When you engineer the risk out of something, it’s no longer innovative. It’s no longer an opportunity.”
2. Live off the land and be independent. “We need to find other ways to live than by interchange. Those ways, I believe, are going to be around financial literacy and privacy.”
3. Fight for your stake. Credit unions’ recent interchange battles on Capitol Hill exemplify this. “We can’t just accept every law that comes down the hill. We have to fight for what’s ours.”
4. Always be on the lookout. This means identifying risk, not necessarily avoiding it, which “stops us in our tracks too often.”
5. Be decisive and act fast. Use your intuition. “When you hear hoof beats, chances are it’s a horse, not a zebra.”
6. Bring only what you can fit on your horse. Cloud services might soon replace data centers. “The pioneers left a lot of their possessions behind because they would just slow them down.
Think like the military: ‘High speed, low drag.’”
ANN HAYES PETERSON is editor in chief of Credit Union Magazine.