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Tech Council offers Automating the Enterprise paper

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MADISON, Wis. (10/17/11)--A new white paper from the CUNA Technology Council discusses the costs and the benefits of implementing automation in information technology. “Automating the Enterprise: IT Operations and the Data Center--The Last Frontier of Enterprise Automation” is based on information and experiences gathered from data center managers, operations managers and chief information officers/chief technology officers worldwide, including many from the credit union industry. The paper, by Neville Kroeger, also identifies barriers to the adoption of automation, describes the evolution of automated management tools, offers examples of forward-thinking organizations implementing automation in their data centers, and outlines the benefits achieved from their investment. In any information technology organization any manual process should be evaluated to determine if it is a good candidate for automation, says the paper. The attributes of a manual processes that make a good candidate for automation include:
* It is a high-risk process. If something goes wrong during the process, there is a significant negative impact to the organization. * It is a complex process with multiple parallel threads of execution. Humans don’t cope well with managing complex, multi-threaded or parallel processes. Typically they will execute these processes sequentially instead of in parallel and use a checklist to help them keep track of the process. This results in the process taking much longer to complete than if it were automated to run in the most efficient manner. * It is a process that requires manual keyboard input. Keying in information is both error prone and time-consuming when compared with using an automated solution. * It is triggered by an ad-hoc event, such as a file arrival or a display on a console. If the organization doesn’t know when or how often an event will occur that initiates a particular workflow, efficiency is severely compromised by having to manually check to see if the triggering event has occurred. * It is a process that requires specialized knowledge. Credit unions can’t always rely on the required specialized knowledge being available. Embedding that knowledge in an automated system provides insurance against employees being out sick, on vacation or no longer available to the organization.

Five practices FIs can borrow from retailers

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BROOKFIELD, Wis. (10/17/11)--A white paper identifying five best practices financial institutions can borrow from online retailers to boost customer engagement and create cross-sell opportunities, has been published by Fiserv Inc., a provider of financial services technology solutions. “Online Banking Meets Online Buying” shares findings from a series of consumer focus groups and a June Fiserv Consumer Insights survey of 3,000 U.S. consumers. To download the paper, use the link. “Consumers don’t expect a financial institution to be the next,” said Nicole Sturgill, TowerGroup research director, delivery channels. “They do, however, expect that their online experience will be intuitive and personalized regardless of whether they are banking or shopping.” The white paper outlines how the consumer mindset differs when banking online and buying online. Consumers hold their financial institutions to a “higher standard.” But opportunities still exist to market products and services online. Adopting these best practices from online retailers can increase cross-sell success:
* Make it easy for users to find what they want. Ease of use is the primary driver of satisfaction with online banking, according to the Fiserv survey. Credit unions and banks can make it easy to locate and accomplish specific tasks by prominently positioning frequently used online financial services. Also, online users are task-oriented and become annoyed if the flow of a task is interrupted, so credit unions and other financial institutions should strive to make related offers as part of the task flow or when a task is complete, said the paper. * Offer a personalized online experience. Personalization does not have to be complex. It can be as simple as providing online users with a personalized greeting or the ability to edit their profile and account information, areas in which the online banking experience lags the online buying experience. * Target the message to the right member, the right way. A best-practice approach is to present products and services to users based on their needs, rather than blanketing all customers with an offer or relying solely on sales goals to define offers. * Position recommendations in a helpful, friendly manner. Online retailers are adept at positioning products for cross-sell opportunities--without appearing to actually advertise the products--by presenting recommendations in a subtle and social manner. Financial institutions also may want to consider adding social elements to their sites as a way to promote products and services in conversations among consumers. * Focus on what you know. When consumers are engaged in online banking, they are most receptive to offers about products and services that will enhance the banking experience or that are related to personal finance. If the financial institution is helping them save money, providing valuable financial management tools or finding ways for them to increase their assets, members are more likely to respond and have a positive reaction.
“Consumers are not opposed to cross-selling within online banking, and a large percentage are receptive to offers they perceive to be targeted and relevant,” said Geoff Knapp, Fiserv vice president of online banking and consumer insights. “The key is to enable users to conduct their banking business quickly and efficiently while leveraging marketing to deliver a more personal and valuable experience.” To download the white paper, use the link.