When to implement risky technology

Ryan Smith, CEO of Qualtrics, named one of the most innovative companies by Enterprise, recently tweeted, “Whatever you are working on will be different a year from now, even if you nail it. The shelf life of innovation is short.”

The same goes for technology innovation in the credit union industry. Technology is always pivoting and for many, it’s hard to keep up. The challenge arises when credit union leaders ask themselves which innovations will be doorbusters and which ones will quickly phase out in the next year? You don’t want to miss the wave of excitement that new products bring but you also don’t want to sink a chunk of capital into tech that doesn’t yield some sort of ROI.

Possible negative outcomes to implementing new technology:

  1. The programs are buggy and cause member experience issues.

  2. The product doesn’t meet member needs.

  3. Product adoption is less than stellar.

  4. Failed integration with the core system.

  5. Frequent downtime and connectivity issues.

  6. A steep learning curve for members and staff.

  7. Sunk costs.

Possible positive outcomes to implementing new technology:

  1. First to market with new products.

  2. Attract new members.

  3. Increased efficiency for staff and members.

  4. Improved member experience.

  5. Positive ROI and increased revenue.

  6. Overall growth.

While there are pros and cons to being an early adopter of innovative technology, there is a time and place to do it. Here are a few do’s, don’ts and cautions:

DO adopt a mentality of innovation.

DON’T let that mentality push you to risk everything.

DO verify the tech being implement will have an ROI.

CAUTION – perform your research when the ROI is something besides money i.e. member experience, time savings, sexy User Interface (UI).

DON’T risk the majority of your eggs at one time.

DO break up your innovative implementations into small chunks. If you’re taking a big risk on a new core system, keep other consistent services in place until the dust settles.

CAUTION – Be wary of the new guy on the block. If a new player in the core processing space promises you the stars, you might miss the moon and fall flat on your back. When it comes to the largest part of your credit unions technology, be sure you are implementing a tried and well-tested product.

DON’T be fooled by the hype.

DO find out who has beta tested the product and ask them, first hand, how their experience was.

DO follow our gut. If you feel uncomfortable about the risk you are taking then walk away.

DON’T, however, live a life full of fear. Sometimes the risk of implementing a better and more expensive piece of technology is exactly what your credit union needs to attract new members and grow.

DO ask yourself, “how does this affect the bottom line?” and “how does this impact our members?”

Just like many things in life, knowing when to implement risky technology can be more of an art than a science. However, do your homework, take calculated risks when appropriate, and lean on trusted technology partners to assist you in the process.

Hayden Monson

Hayden Monson

Hayden Monson is the Technical Marketing Manager for FLEX. Hayden has been with FLEX since 2013 and has worked in various customer service and marketing roles over that time. As ... Web: https://flexcutech.com Details