Evaluating your current data processing system and why it's important!

If you’re not aware of a problem, then is it really a problem?  Many credit unions over time have gotten used to their data processing systems and their shortcomings.  Making adjustments manually to make things more efficient for their members, putting in extra hours to make sure that every I is dotted and T is crossed, tracking items on spreadsheets instead of getting their information from the core…sound familiar?

A full system evaluation by department isn’t something that sounds like a fun activity, but it can really help you and your credit union understand where your deficiencies are if you have any.  Directly following a new core conversion every aspect of that new system is being utilized to the fullest.  Making that credit union its most efficient, however over time, this may not remain true.  As updates and patches come along sometimes we are just too busy to put in the time to do the training that it takes to really use our systems to their fullest potential.  In other instances our systems are just too outdated to really give us the efficiencies that we need.  In either case, a full system evaluation will give answers to those questions.  Maybe your system is adequate; you just need to focus time and energy into training and utilizing the system to its fullest potential.  If the system does prove inadequate for your needs then core conversion planning may be a necessity (that’s where the rest of my guide will come in handy). 

A full system evaluation will encompass all aspects of your credit union from the member service area to the reporting analytics.  Each department will need to have input into the pros and cons of how the current system works for them.  It’s also important to consider your third party vendors and how things integrate into your core system.

How user friendly is your user interface?  How many clicks do the member service reps have to make before they complete a transaction for a member?  How many times is the same information keyed into the system?  How easy is it to integrate a form?  Do you need third party vendors or does the system do everything for you?  These are just a few of the questions that you should be asking yourself during the evaluation.  A small example of the annual core system analysis document is located above, and that is just the beginning.  Each department should list the questions that are important for them to track from year to year.  Products and services should also be added as you add them to your credit union.   This is just one of the many documents that will be included in the core conversion guide, however this will prove beneficial long after the conversion is completed.  One of the best things is that you can customize the guide to fit your credit union.  If you don’t have a business lending department, then don’t include it on the questionnaire.  If you do indirect vehicle lending and you don’t see it on my example, add it in.  Every credit union is different and focuses on different things so you need to customize the evaluation to what fits the specific needs of your credit union.  What better way to keep your finger on the pulse of your credit union.  This also serves as a great tool to review with your core system provider when your contract comes up for renewal.  This serves as your wish list, what do you want that you currently don’t have?  What can they improve on to make your user experience better? 

Look for the full version of the Core Conversion Guide to be out later this year.  Please contact me  with any questions or comments.  I’m happy to share what I have currently or pass along the end result once it’s finished, People Helping People, it’s the credit union way!

Thanks for reading!

Kandi Thiry