Leveraging the data advantage
Credit unions are awash in data, but until recently there were few options for leveraging this data for better decision making. That has changed with the emergence of two major innovations.
First, the data integration challenge has been solved by products like OnApproach M360 Enterprise, which has the capability to bring all the data from a credit union into a centralized platform. Where in the past, valuable credit union data was locked up in various “silos”, now data across the credit union’s systems portfolio can be brought together in an easily accessible repository.
Second, there has been an explosion of data analytics and visualization products that connect to the centralized platform. Previously, these products were hobbled by the necessity of corralling the required data from the credit union’s source systems. This added significant cost and time to projects since each data integration effort had to be done from scratch. Now, with standardized connectors to the centralized platform, these products can be implemented in a fraction of the time at a lower cost.
With these two innovations, credit unions finally have a data advantage. In other words, the data and tools to use the data can now be at their fingertips.
Unfortunately, these great innovations are only part of the solution. Another critical component is how these tools are used by the staff at the credit union so the data advantage can be leveraged.
The Economist magazine recently conducted a survey of European C-level executives to find out if an abundance of data was leading to better decision making. The survey results provide some interesting insights for credit union leaders.
Employees need to be trained to effectively use data for decision making
Too often, data champions within the credit union concentrate all their energy on getting the platform and analytical/visualization toolsets implemented. Missing is the training and education component. Employees need to be taught three important things:
- The value of making data-driven decisions
- The definitions of and relationships between the organization’s data elements
- How to use the toolsets
Unless these are learned by the employees, the investment in the technological innovations is liable to be underutilized.
Employees need to be given access to a wide variety of data
It is important that data from as many sources as possible be integrated in the centralized platform. Survey respondents said there was a tendency for members of the organization to use only the most easily accessible information sources. This is partly due to how much information is provided through the platform. Better decisions are likely to be made if makers of those decisions have multiple perspectives from which to draw their data.
Intuition is still important
Respondents noted that the organization needs to respect the value that the intuition of knowledgeable employees can contribute. Data-driven decision making is a hot topic. So hot in fact that the value of intuition is erroneously discounted. Smart organizations are taking a balanced approach to ensure that data is being used more aggressively than before but they are also encouraging decision makers use common sense and experience as well.