After months of demos, asking questions and reviewing different systems, your credit union has finally decided on a new core! Congratulations! Now the “real” work begins.
If your credit union hasn’t already started the clean-up of the current system data, it’s time to dive in! Purge old members from the database, review credit union notes, forms, letters, and reports. Don’t convert old data unless necessary. The conversion is an opportunity for a fresh start!
The credit union selection team that chose the new system should be involved in presenting the new opportunity to the credit union employees. Why did they choose this new system? What advantages are there to the new core and how will the new system make our credit union better? It’s up to the leaders of the credit union and the conversion team to build the enthusiasm through communications and attitudes. Check out our article “How To Assemble Your Credit Union Conversion Team” for more tips.
Developing a theme for your conversion can set a positive tone for the project. Events such as contests pertaining to milestones or achievements reached have helped others embrace the systems training and education. Credit unions have had race car or derby themed conversions, get your whole staff involved by having all the tellers wear hard hats with signs that say, “We’re under construction.” It is important to get everyone involved and create an environment conducive to learning.
Try to keep your team from falling into the old habits. When you hear, “that’s not how we do it” during training, chances are someone is having a hard time with the change. The top reason for a core change is the existing system isn’t meeting the needs of your credit union. Embrace the new workflows, efficiencies, and benefits of your new data processing system.
In the early stages of the conversion, the new core processor will send out project plans, documentation, etc. Make sure you distribute the information quickly and provide expectations for adhering to dates and reading the material. This is where many delays start. If a deadline is missed, this begins a domino effect on other aspects of the conversion. Everyone is affected by the delays, including the credit union team, the core processor, and your third-party vendors. Product Managers can keep track of dates and tasks, but you need to hold your employees accountable.
Whether you know it or not, your credit union has built its operation around the capabilities of the existing core system. During the conversion, your credit union will need to verify and ensure all the policies and procedures are up to date. Concentrate on efficiencies provided by the new system. Your credit union should set up as many system efficiencies as possible and ensure that your staff is trained properly. Make sure you have written procedures for everything.
Once the data from your current core has been loaded into the new core database, training and testing can begin. Create Subject Matter Experts (SME) in each department that will be able to support the credit union post conversion. Require your SMEs to verify the data has transferred over correctly, postings are working properly, and their department understands how to use the new system efficiently. This will help ensure errors are corrected prior to the conversion and the database looks great. It is much easier to fix an error prior to conversion, than afterwards. The new core relies heavily upon the SME members of the team for validation and support.
Classroom instruction is the fun part of the conversion. It’s important to provide a safe space and/or time for each employee to practice entering a few transactions into the new system each day. Having your staff take their work from the previous day and enter it into the new system is a best practice. A reward or recognition upon completion goes a long way.
By being prepared and working hard with your new core provider, you can have a very successful conversion. United Solutions Company (USC) offers two fully hosted, open API database core processing systems. The conversion and implementation team are ready and excited to help you through this new change at your credit union.