Questions and answers from experts
By Ron Polaniecki, CAE
April 16, 2007
This article is bonus coverage from "A Race Without a Finish Line," in the May 2007 issue of Credit Union Management magazine.
Board members can frame the challenges of evaluating new technology by asking pertinent questions and making insightful suggestions. The subjects interviewed for "A Race Without a Finish Line," on page 50 in the May issue of CUES' Credit Union Management magazine offered some advice for meeting the technology challenge head on. Those interviewed included:
- Steve Williams, principal of CUES FSF member Cornerstone Advisors Inc., Scottsdale, Ariz.;
- Frank Gazeley, VP/business development for CUES FSF member IA Systems Inc., Albany, N.Y.;
- David McConney, EVP/general manager of the Credit Union Core Systems Group of CUES FSF member Harland Financial Solutions, Pleasanton, Calif.;
- Doug True, president of FORUM solutions, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of $980 million FORUM Credit Union, Fishers, Ind.; and
- Vaughn Book, SVP/operations and technology for $1 billion Arrowhead Credit Union, with 169,000 members, San Bernardino, Calif.
This is what they suggested:
- Look at new technology tools in terms of the strategic plan.
- Ask: How do the tools fit the credit union's culture? Integrate with existing technology?
- Prioritize technology-related projects. What are the most important ones? The best fit?
- Does the board receive a formal (or informal) environmental technology scanlooking at trends both within and outside the credit union arena?
- Are board members ever recruited who have specialized technology knowledge?
- Are credit union employees who have special interests in technology tools asked for periodic reports on their learnings?
- Are technology innovations used as part of positioning/brandinghelping to recruit tech savvy members and employees?
- Urge piloting. Test with different audiences including long-time loyal members as well as young people.
- Consider inviting a technology guest speaker to a board meeting.
- Ask lots of questions. Ask staff to "translate" jargon.
- Review the "vendor-management" process. Develop a partnership mindset. Refine and review criteria for evaluating vendors.
- Carefully consider security and data confidentiality issues as these are consistently found to be highly important to financial-services customers.
- Read various technology-oriented publications and visit Web sites.
- Seek out consumer studies about technology.
- Recognize that it's difficult to develop specific categories for technology tools. Hardware, software, products, services, phones, computers and so onthey all seem to blur.
Ron Polaniecki, CAE, is a free-lance writer based in Chicago.
- Go to the current issue of Credit Union Management.