In the fast-paced, tech-driven world that we're currently living in, the core system truly is at the heart of any credit union. Not only is it this bedrock of technology that allows employees to better communicate and collaborate with one another, but it also helps to facilitate the most important goal of all: bringing newer, better, and more forward-thinking services to members everywhere.
Recently, Lafayette, IN-based, Industrial Federal Credit Union realized that it needed to switch to a new core platform to keep up with the tech demands of the modern member. Obviously, this process isn't as simple as flipping a proverbial light switch. There are a lot of "moving parts" to account for and, unfortunately, there is an equal amount that can go wrong.
But Industrial FCU was able to complete this project successfully, and they have truly come out all the better for it. Let's outline the five core switch best practices that Industrial FCU was able to follow--and the major impact that they had on operations along the way.
5 Core-Switch Best Practices From Industrial FCU
Industrial FCU had a lot to consider as the Indiana cooperative made the switch to a new platform from the core system that had sustained the business for more than 30 years. Here, in his own words, President and CEO Kevin Umlauf shares best practices that helped ensure a successful journey from decision to deployment.
- Get out of the office. “We went onsite to many credit unions to help us make our decision,” says Umlauf. “We looked at different cores and involved multiple people from Industrial on these trips. This allowed the doers to ask the right questions and provide great feedback on what they liked and disliked.” Industrial leaders also visited the core’s corporate HQ and met with users from other institutions to better understand the system and how it would enable them to network with other users.
- Get everyone involved. “Involve all layers of staff, not just leaders, when making decisions about the framework of the system. The leaders don’t always know the best processes for how things should go.” Umlauf adds that it’s equally important to involve the whole team in the training plan to ensure voices from all levels of the organization are heard.
- Make it fun. “The project can be grueling at times, as you’re cleaning up old data and testing to make sure it works with the new software.” One way to keep things lively, he suggests, is by creating contests for training on the new system.
- Practice makes perfect. “We mirrored transactions in the new system for the month leading up to conversion. This allowed staff to practice on the new system while we were still using the old system.” Umlauf also emphasized the importance of over-communicating with members and testing the system extensively before launch.
- Bring in help when needed. “Strongly consider hiring a vendor to help with call volumes [after launch],” says Umlauf.
Switching to a Core Platform
In the end, following the best practices outlined above is the key to executing a successful project of this type for your credit union. For as important as it is to get everyone within an organization involved in the proceedings, it's equally important to get out of the office and use a real-world context to make decisions.
Industrial Federal Credit Union modernized its services with major upgrades during their core conversion, but some of the biggest hurdles came with the onset of the pandemic, leading to some senior managers camping out in branch lobbies after going live with their new core provider.
Download the case study to learn how the Lafayette, Indiana-based credit union navigated their core conversion during one of the most tumultuous times in the world's history.