Google Maps has revolutionized how we navigate our lives. It saves us from headaches caused by unnecessary traffic and other challenges in traveling. My journey from work to home has many different routes depending on traffic patterns. During days with slower traffic (i.e. – winter snowstorms), the Google Maps recommended route will change every 5 – 10 minutes. Using an analytics engine that informs me of the best route allows me to spend extra time on more important things in life. Credit unions have a similar opportunity when navigating their institutions into the uncertain future of financial services. Establishing an industry standard analytics platform will enable credit unions to cooperate on analytics and guide them to their desired destinations.
Google Maps uses complex algorithms and thousands of integrated data sources to provide users a clear path to their destination. Utilizing a common data platform to conform the data for its users provides a unique opportunity to share data throughout the globe. This platform empowers users to navigate an ever-changing world. The credit union industry needs to embrace a similar type of analytics platform for all users to enable collaboration throughout the industry. Speaking the same data language is crucial for the success of credit unions throughout the world. With a common data platform, applications can be designed for credit unions regardless of their software systems feeding the data. When someone develops an application, it can be used throughout the industry without a need for costly (and time intensive) implementation. A majority of time spent on application development is mapping data. As credit unions adopt an industry standard analytics platform, developing APIs (Application Program Interface) from an analytics platform will become much easier, which will enable credit unions to navigate their journeys cooperatively.
“We recognize that in order to provide our users with the best, most up-to-date map possible, we must partner with the most comprehensive and authoritative data sources.” -Google
Understanding that they don’t have all the data (logistically and legally) within their company, Google reaches out to trustworthy 3rd parties to integrate data within their analytic platform. Through Google’s Base Map Partner Program, they are able to integrate thousands of sources to improve Google Maps every day. Credit Unions have the same opportunity when contributing to an analytics platform. With all the credit union data integrated, the route will become much clearer.
“Yes, that’s right: if Google has access to the location data collected by your smartphone, then you’re part of Google’s crowdsourced operation to improve and expand Maps.” –Rob Nightingale
Google Maps uses anonymized user data to build dynamic analytics for all users. For example, using the speed of users driving on the road, Google can infer traffic conditions. In order to bolster their analytics platform, credit unions should pool anonymized member data including all transactions on a daily basis. Understanding how members behave throughout the industry will give credit unions the power to drive to their destinations efficiently.
Setting your destination
Utilizing Google Maps is only useful when users know their desired destination. Beginning an adventure without a destination will inhibit any type of analytics from assisting the user. Analytics without a purpose will result in another fancy dashboard hidden in an analyst’s folder (while usually incurring a monthly payment to a vendor). Setting up goals and defining KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) is essential before a credit union begins their journey.
Visualizing data along the path is another powerful feature of Google Maps. Seeing their environment allows users to spot outliers and identify opportunities along the route (i.e. – gas and food). As credit unions embark into the future, they will be able to identify valuable opportunities along the way. This will allow credit unions to alter their route to obtain value that was not directly identified by the analytics. This Ad Hoc ability allows credit union employees to steer their credit union with the guidance of analytics. The analytics is the most efficient route. However, sometimes value can be found outside of the most efficient route. Data visualization gives analyst the power to give data-driven recommendations on any alteration of the analytics-guided path.
Sometimes Google Maps takes users on routes that are unfamiliar. Most people assume that the analytics are correct and will follow wherever it leads them. However, there may be times that the analytics need to be overridden by a user. For example, the destination address may have been entered incorrectly. However, this should not be done based on a “gut” feeling about a particular area the user is driving through. Sometimes, a thriving city is on the other side of a barren desert. Similarly for credit unions, when the analytics don’t seem to make sense, further experimenting should be performed before adjusting the route. Many different hypotheses may be formulated along the journey. By utilizing the scientific method, credit unions will be able to “trust but verify” their analytics along the way.
Credit Union Efficiency
Just as our transportation systems are becoming more efficient with commuters collaborating on an analytics platform, the credit union industry can become more efficient as they embrace an industry standard analytics platform. With scarce resources (i.e. – time and money), credit unions should take advantage of an analytics platform that will bring them greater efficiencies. As a movement built on collaboration and using resources thriftily, cooperating on analytics will allow the credit union industry to thrive in 2017 and beyond!