(For all you youngsters, that’s the opening narration to The Six Million Dollar Man.)
As I write this, I’m one day away from the total replacement of my left knee. It blew the first time during Hell Week of my senior year in high school in 1979, and has been scope-cleaned a couple of times since. And while my new knee probably won’t enable me to jump over buildings, I doubt it will cost anyone $6 million either. I know I don’t have a co-pay.
Pondering my own date with the orthopedic surgeon, I got to wondering about what things credit unions still do that make about as much sense as holding onto my 55-year-old arthritic knee. Here are my top three.
- Buying Computer Hardware
Would you buy and maintain your own car if it were cheaper and safer to have Jimmie Johnson drive you everywhere in the #48 car? I know I wouldn’t.
It’s the same with computer hardware. Buying it is expensive. Updating it is expensive. Maintaining it is a hassle. Securing it is an increasingly complex specialty. The list of reasons to not be in the hardware business is extensive.
When you move everything to the cloud, that entire list vanishes. Back in a previous life, I championed the idea of a paperless credit union. Today I’m telling you that every credit union should be a serverless credit union. It just doesn’t make sense any other way.
- Developing Software Internally
A few years ago, it was en vogue for the more technologically sophisticated credit unions to develop their own applications. I’m talking about things like online and mobile banking. I didn’t think it was a great idea then, and I’m not afraid to call it what it is now: dumb.
To be clear, I’m not talking about CUSOs, i.e., separate entities that have the time and resources to stay focused on such things and develop them for the betterment of multiple credit unions. I’m talking about that lone wolf credit union that thinks it’s so special, no mere software company could ever give it what it needs.
These credit unions are falling hopelessly behind. If I’m describing your credit union, please, for the sake of your members, as well as the sake of your own sanity, stop this madness today.
- Not Hiring Technology Consultants
Many years ago, I read a book co-authored by Donald Trump in which he said, if you need to hire a consultant, it means you don’t understand your own business. I believed this for many years, thinking credit unions that used consultants were getting duped.
Maybe that was never true, but I’m certain it’s not true today. For the same reasons you need to jettison all your computer hardware, and the same reasons you’re dumb to develop your own software, you need to consider a consultant for all your major technology projects. You’re not in the technology business, and you shouldn’t be in the technology business. Getting it right the first time is so, so critical today, why wouldn’t you want a team of skilled professionals on your side?
It all comes down to a saying (one of many sayings, actually) that I try to live by: Pay the experts to do what they’re trained to do, and don’t be cheap about it.