This article previously appeared on CU Insight
For decades, payments teams have chased “top-of-wallet” status. With the rise of mobile, though, our ambitions have changed, and now we’re competing for “top-of-device” status. We want our apps front and center when members unlock their phones, open a Chromebook or power on an iPad.
So how do we get there?
As a starting point, let’s think about our own apps. How did we choose the ones displayed on our home screen? Do we use these apps the most? Do they require quick access? Do they simplify our lives?
I have an American Airlines app on my home screen. I travel a lot, so I use it all the time. But, that’s not why it’s there. It’s not a very sophisticated app, either, but, it’s something I can’t live without when I travel.
It’s serving up a great consumer experience because of its command of data. American Airlines knows that its customers aren’t just comparing its app to other airline apps. Consumers want from the American Airlines app what they get from Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple.
The same expectations are confronting credit unions.
The Magic of Data
Members have daily interactions with digital brands that create super exciting, highly predictive, hyper-personalized experiences. Think about Amazon. Data on search and transaction history is combined with data on the likely user and fed into a suggestion engine. The site then displays all the right products to pique our interest as shoppers. The same thing happens at Netflix and Spotify. These apps put right in front of users exactly what they want before they even know they want it.
That’s the magic, and that’s what gets you on the home screen. Data delivered to and culled from mobile apps – when combined with democratized artificial intelligence and modeling techniques – can actually predict the future.
This is a powerful concept. It’s how we deepen relationships in the age of mobile, and how we solve member problems.
Getting Data Right
What makes a great data strategy? The best approaches are specific and measurable. They pinpoint a problem to solve and map out how data and analytics can help them.
When solving member problems, you may need to tap new partners or technologies to reach your objectives, but you always want the member issue to drive that investment. In fact, the last thing you want is to integrate the latest, greatest technology only to find that it’s completely ill-suited to your objective. Innovation for innovation’s sake is of no value.
The good news is that credit unions have massive amounts of data inside their systems – and their partners do, too. The hard part is identifying the data pools that produce actionable intelligence.
And, the key to applying data intelligently is to think through the entire member experience when you develop a data strategy. What data is useful to you, what is helpful to members – and what is not?
Data, More Precious than Gold
Consumers today are all too willing to share their information, but this will change. As more individuals begin experiencing identity theft and other forms of fraud, there will be a universal call for more data protection. If, as trusted stewards of member data, we don’t protect it, we will lose that trust.
We’ll also lose the data. So, data governance has to be built into your strategy from Day 1, incorporating these best practices: end-to-end traceability, quality and controls, privacy and security, and accessibility.
A Data-Driven Culture
Data strategies are more than technological initiatives, though. They involve an operational shift. A credit union with a terrific culture of analytics will have four key attributes:
Collaboration between departments
For a complete view of the member, you need data from multiple viewpoints, and that comes when lending works with operations, when card teams work with deposits, etc.
Data as an asset of the entire cooperative
You need buy-in from all teams to combine data and insights for the greater good. To promote success, demonstrate the ROI each department gets from its efforts.
Enterprise-wide understanding of the goals
This also speaks to buy-in. Why are we doing this? How does this help individual employees meet their objectives? What does this do for members? Clearly answer these questions and emphasize the mission’s importance on an ongoing basis.
When everyone sees clearly how data leads to exceptional member experiences (and when they see the outcomes), they are much more likely to keep contributing.
Integration Is Innovation
In order to leverage data in service to members, you need to build a technological ecosystem that is integrated, flexible and extensible – one that allows you to mine data resources effectively and embrace a future of growth and innovation.
As you create your own apps and digital solutions, think of ways to take functionality one step further to solve next-level problems. Identify the data pools and features already out there that you can integrate to surprise and delight members. Solidify partnerships to add to your data arsenal and enhance your 360 degree view of members.
If data is the new currency, credit unions are wealthy beyond most organizations’ wildest dreams – and it can be invested in revenue growth.
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