The Great Recession has slowed almost everything except the pace of technology innovation. Your members are relentlessly embracing a dizzying array of high-tech gadgets, which are influencing the way they want to do business with your credit union.
Keeping up with all this (and anticipating what’s coming next) is a daunting and expensive task for your credit union. To help you keep pace, the CUNA Technology Council’s executive committee shares its perspective on what to expect and how to react to technology trends.
One of the biggest barriers credit unions face in improving internal efficiency and member service is integrating different technologies into a seamless experience. Unfortunately, there’s no common standard for integrating vendor solutions.
Each time a new vendor or system is added, it seems a credit union must “re-invent the wheel.” On a micro scale, credit unions handle this internally. But for the industry as a whole it’s a “macro” waste of time and money.
Under the auspices of the CUNA Technology Council, several credit unions are developing technology standards for integrating software. Under the name CUFX, these standards will reduce the costs and complexity of integration and improve speed-to-market. They should greatly improve credit unions’ competitiveness.
Credit unions possess a wealth of data. It’s imperative to leverage this data by developing insightful business-intelligence strategies. But success in this endeavor requires more than technology. The ingredients of a successful business-intelligence program are:
All of these ingredients are imperative and must develop in tandem. Think of business intelligence as a three-legged stool: If one leg is missing or shorter than the others, you’ll end up on the floor.
Many credit unions are adopting a concierge approach to member service in their traditional branches.
Members’ needs are changing and, as a result, more mobile technologies will appear in branches. As more members opt for self-service delivery channels, branch size will shrink and more activities will focus on cross-sales and financial counseling.
Branches will become increasingly high-tech. Trends include more sales and media displays, imaging technologies such as teller capture, and multifunctional printers to reduce courier runs for printing services.
Some branches might establish community areas for members, such as lounges with free wireless Internet access. While the member experience is evolving, branches will continue to be essential to the future of financial services.
In-house vs. outsourced IT
Outsourcing some or all tech services (and in many cases, the entire data center) is a growing trend. There are many reasons, but cost historically is the driving force. Outsourcing is back on the increase in the current economic climate.
Outsourcing can take many forms—from staffing, to application or data center hosting, to cloud computing. Before outsourcing, consider the pros and cons listed in a table accompanying this article at creditunionmagazine.com.
There are pros and cons to both outsourced and in-house solutions. Analyze your options carefully, and decide on the best fit for your credit union’s unique needs.
If you’re considering outsourcing purely for financial reasons, be sure to consider the nonfinancial benefits of an in-house information technology (IT) department. They might outweigh the cost savings of outsourcing.
Next: IT and the member experience