Two simple (but not easy) strategies for data mastery

first_imgNearly every industry’s front-runners are pursuing data mastery. Today, many consumers are surprised to learn the enhanced experiences they encounter are data-driven. Pretty soon, they’ll expect it.For this reason alone, it’s imperative credit unions become the kind of data-centric organizations that can meet consumer demand for personalized, intuitive and predictive financial services.What can you do from the C-suite, as a board member or as a senior leader to cultivate a data-centric culture in your credit union? Focus on two simple (but not easy) strategies – Top-down leadership, bottom-up engagement.Top-Down Leadership There is no substitute for a CEO with a vision. When he or she is on a personal mission to instill a culture of data-driven insights and fact-based decision-making, the chances of success are exponentially greater. That said, C-suite vision alone does not necessarily equal top-down leadership. Gaining alignment among the executive leadership team is crucial.The Economist Intelligence Unit looked at senior management alignment around a data-centric culture and financial performance. It found companies with senior managers who were aligned around the importance of a data-driven strategy financially outperformed their counterparts.Senior management team members have many years of experience, and their intuition has served them well over the course of their careers. It’s a big part of why they are helping guide the organization. The day will come when the data presented to them will run counter to that intuition. These leaders must commit to trusting the data, even when it points the credit union in new directions.Of course, senior managers must also be sure to avoid grasping at those few data points that may re-enforce “The way we’ve always done it around here.” When it comes to leading a successful, data-driven financial institution, leaders must remember: outliers are just that.Bottom-Up Engagement There are three components to nurturing bottom-up engagement when it comes to success with data:Making data availableTraining staff on data analysisFocusing on critical business issuesMaking Data AvailableData should be available to every staff member in your credit union. Now, that does not mean all data must be available to every staff member. When determining which data to supply to which employees, ask yourself: Does this data allow staff to perform their assignments to the best of their abilities? Does this data help staff understand how their contributions are advancing the organization?The second of these questions is particularly important, and that’s because putting data on display is a terrific way to inspire staff engagement. Post graphs on the breakroom bulletin board; display data over strategically placed monitors throughout your branches or in all-staff presentations. The manner in which data is displayed isn’t as important as displaying it, pointing to it often and declaring, “This is how we are managing our business.”Training Staff on Data AnalysisThink about the last time you were presented with data you couldn’t easily interpret. That brings us to the second component of building bottom-up engagement – training.Everyone who uses data to make decisions can benefit from training. Do not assume staff members know how to read the data necessary for their success. Train, re-train and re-train again, from sessions on how to read graphs and interpret tables to learning new analytics tools and techniques. Enroll everyone from frontline staff to board members and IT executives in your training programs. Raising the level of data literacy throughout your organization will raise the effectiveness of the organization at the same time.Focusing on Critical Business IssuesOnce these issues are identified, frame them in terms of consumer-focused outcomes. This approach holds two advantages.First, it will help avoid the trap of attempting to capture, store and analyze ever-increasing volumes, varieties and velocities of data. Second, focusing on the few critical business issues in terms of consumer-focused outcomes means using only the data that’s relevant – usually data you already have.The process for implementing this discipline looks like this:Define the issue in terms of specific desired outcomes. Do this from the consumer’s perspective, identifying only that data which must be measured to inform the outcomes.Identify the steps needed to collect, store, analyze and visualize the data.Integrate these steps into the service or process you’re using to deliver the desired consumer outcome.Begin to collect data and measure outcomes.Integrate the learnings into the refined product or service.Following this disciplined approach to data-driven strategies will help you avoid those “Oh, isn’t this interesting!” moments that can shift focus away from your credit union’s most critical business issues.From a data analytics perspective, the credit union industry may very well be further behind than it was last year. Yet, we’re not as far behind this year as we will be next year, and the year after that if we don’t take the steps necessary to shift the culture.Credit union leaders have been asking themselves what they can do to cultivate a data-centric culture in their organization. By setting their sights on top-down leadership and bottom-up engagement, these executives, managers and directors will lead their credit unions on courses to success within the big data revolution.Eric Schurr is chief strategy officer for TMG Financial Services, a top-70 credit card agent issuer and credit card portfolio advisor. He is focused on emerging lending and financial products, as well as industry innovation that will trigger the development of competitive solutions for TMG Financial Services’ credit union and community bank partners. In addition to contributing to industry publications, Eric blogs for a consumer audience at ericschurr.com. He can be reached at [email protected] 41SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Eric Schurr Eric Schurr is chief strategy officer for TMG Financial Services, a top-70 credit card agent issuer and credit card portfolio advisor. He is focused on emerging lending and financial products, … Web: www.tmgfinancialservices.com Detailslast_img

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