Many credit unions are launching business intelligence initiatives with high hopes for improving performance. However there are two big challenges to overcome.
First, important data is usually bottled up in unrelated “silos”. It is essential to build a universal data model to connect all the various data sources into a cohesive repository. This becomes the “single source of truth” on which all subsequent analytical efforts depend.
Second, an effective analytics capability needs to be developed. This requires careful consideration. A recent Forbes magazine article provides some great insight to those taking on the second challenge.
Close the Loop on the Data
Think carefully about the data made available to various levels in the organization. Too much data can be as much of a problem as too little data. At the same time, allowing users to drill down to the transaction level where appropriate will speed up the discovery of root cause issues.
Offer Action –Based Interfaces
Provide users with visual, intuitive tools for analysis. Highly graphical, drillable dashboards and reports are a good example of the kind of tools that motivate users. Also, providing tools that are directly applicable to common business issues are more likely to quickly yield tangible results. For example, a branch productivity dashboard with key metrics is likely to drive better decisions around performance improvements in this area.
Simply putting analytics tools in users’ hand is not enough. No matter how “intuitive” the tool, training and support are needed to ensure utilization. Top management also needs to support the effort by establishing an expectation that decisions will be driven by data provided by the new system. To lead by example, senior managers need to invest time in learning how to use the new tools.
Focus On In-Time Impact
How the first challenge (data) is handled will have significant impact on the success of overcoming the second challenge (analytics). Providing at least daily data updating will provide users with an ability to affect performance more quickly. The feeling of immediacy created this frequency of updating can support an increased “speed to solution” in the organization.