Data analytics

AdvantEdge Analytics launches Consulting Services

New business line will deliver ‘strategy-first’ approach to credit union data transformation.

October 30, 2019

Credit union data analytics firm AdvantEdge Analytics, a CUNA Strategic Services alliance provider, has launched a Consulting Services business line.

The services complement AdvantEdge Analytics’ cloud-based Data Platform, a set of end-to-end analytics technologies designed specifically for credit unions. Consulting Services may be used with or without integrating the Data Platform.

“From Fortune 500 companies to community financial institutions, the lack of a definitive business-driven strategy is the largest barrier to data and analytics success,” says Mike Defnet, president of  AdvantEdge Analytics. “This highly complex undertaking becomes even more so without a North Star. Our goal is to help credit unions identify and commit to an authentic, mission-centric purpose for their analytics ambitions so they stay energized and focused on their journey.”

AdvantEdge Analytics client BCU in Vernon Hills, Ill., worked alongside the Consulting Services team as a beta engagement to continue maturing the $3.4 billion asset credit union’s analytics program.

“Over the past 10 years our data and analytics function has evolved and matured but in a somewhat undisciplined way,” says John Sahagian, chief data officer at the $3.6 billion asset credit union. “Before working with the Consulting Services team, we hadn’t established strong, centralized governance, nor any defined management or strategy function. Our best chance for doing that effectively was to partner with data experts who could help us pull all our disparate ideas and aspirations into one strategy the entire business could get behind.”

Rob Keatts, chief information officer at Chartway Federal Credit Union in Virginia Beach, Va., agrees the outside-in perspective has added value to the credit union’s data transformation journey. The $2.2 billion asset credit union recently built a custom data warehouse with many moving parts.

“The Consulting Services team validated many areas of our strategy and showed us how to do things differently,” Keatts says. “Their experience in the industry is second to none, and it helped ensure three very important things: First, that we allocate enough resources to data governance; second, that we not build something so complicated that it’s unusable outside the data team; and third, that our strategy and the technology to support it can grow and expand. Consulting Services encouraged us to pause, which ultimately helped avoid costly mistakes in the long run.”

This strategy-first approach to data transformation relies on a broad set of best practices and principles implemented across a variety of industries. The Consulting Services team designs custom analytics strategies specific to a credit union’s goals. To ease implementation, credit unions receive detailed solution blueprints, an analytics budget, and a prioritized roadmap with achievable timelines and guideposts.

“A clear path to implementation makes the complex job of data analytics exponentially less intimidating,” says Defnet. “It generates transformative momentum that enables quick wins that fire up teams and excite boards.”

Strategy-first approach

The Strategy-First Approach to Data Analytics whitepaper from AdvantEdge Analytics offers more details on engagements with BCU and Chartway Federal, including six guideposts for credit union in the data analytics transformation:

1. Data analytics strategy—The lack of a definitive strategy is the single largest barrier to data transformation.

2. Data governance—At a macro level, data governance ensures your credit union’s data is not only available, it’s also useable, secure, accurate, complete, and reliable.

3. Reporting and analysis--Data and the insights it can deliver are only useful when they are accessible to the right people at the right time.

4. Advanced analytics--Data maturity involves progressing the business intelligence function from reporting on the past to prescribing the future.

5. Data environment—Cloud technology has emerged as the most efficient and secure technology for creating a data infrastructure.

6. Insight activation—An organization has achieved success in the development of an analytics culture when data is embedded throughout the enterprise, informing every decision.

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