For credit unions, undergoing a digital transformation to offer better and more personalized services to members is no longer a recommendation. It is a requirement.
Yet at the same time, a lot of credit unions simply don't have the budget necessary to bring this transformation to life, let alone the strategic vision needed to guide them while they do. Because of that, many organizations are slowing in terms of their technology adoption rate, much to the chagrin of all involved.
Thankfully, the solution to this issue may be rooted in a matter of perspective. Most see digital transformation as a major disruptive change - a massive process akin to flipping a proverbial light switch and suddenly changing things forever. Instead, credit unions can - and should - see it as a series of smaller steps that are used to digitally transform their operations in more manageable (and meaningful) ways. This point-of-view shift, paired with the right technology, can help credit unions tackle many of the challenges that they are likely to face when it comes to this type of process.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
For most credit unions, a digital transformation strategy will be developed with an eye toward accomplishing goals like improving member services. But again, this isn't going to happen in an instant. Success in terms of leveraging IT is less about any one major move and is more about a series of smaller and more easily accomplishable ones.
Using IT to increase workforce productivity is likely one of your main goals, especially in an era when more people are working remotely than ever. Increases in operational efficiency are also paramount, as now you're beginning to see the very real gains that are a result of all that digital transformation effort.
Improving the ease and effectiveness of the core products that your credit union offers, guaranteeing secured banking, and even maintaining security compliance - all of these are things that can be handled by the right approach to digital transformation.
But the most important thing to understand is that there is no one piece of IT that you can implement that will tackle all of these things in one fell swoop. Assuming there is such a "silver bullet" is only setting you up for failure. Instead, choose which ones matter most to you and begin to tackle them in a logical order - one that makes sense given your long-term definition of "success." Not only will you see more short-term benefits from the entire process, but together these areas all add up to something far more important than any one of them individually. Collectively, they are the technology-driven foundation upon which the next decade of success for your credit union will be built.
It's About Tackling Your Priorities
Overall, it's important to remember that every decision you make as a credit union leader must ultimately be driven by the people who matter most: your members. This means that all throughout the digital transformation process, you must never lose sight of who these people are, what they need, and what they want.
Much of this will come by way of making tech-based advancements in terms of member retention and attraction first and foremost. Especially when it comes to younger members, more and more people want to be able to use digital platforms t make transactions. They want to be able to manage their accounts while on the go. They want mobile apps, not just websites.
Making these things a priority throughout the early days of your digital transformation is a great way to attract attention from a new generation and turn them into loyal members.
The same is true of certain changes that can be made to improve the overall speed of the transactions taking place. These days, members want instant notifications when transactions or other important events happen, regardless of the digital channel they're occurring on. Because of that, digital transformation must be executed with an eye towards these types of core integrations - the ones that allow for real-time data processing and that can help create a true omnichannel banking presence that takes services to members anywhere, anytime, and on any device.
All of this will be a major shift from the way things have traditionally been done, yes. But when broken up into a series of smaller mini-processes, it becomes far less intimidating than it otherwise would have been. Focus on each individual objective and what you need to do to achieve it now. Then, it will begin to add up to something powerful over time.
The Path Forward Begins Now
In the end, a digital transformation for a credit union is about more than just "keeping up with the times." It's about capitalizing on a once-in-a-generation opportunity to offer better services to members while paving the way for the next decade of success for the organization as well. Yes, it requires a significant investment of time, effort, and capital. But by breaking things down into a series of smaller and more calculated steps, you can enjoy all the benefits of this process with as few of the potential downsides as possible.
To find out more information about the power of digital transformation for credit unions, download FLEX's Digital Account Services eGuide.