Trend Watch: Timely Technology Updates Ensure Success

Catalyst logo with background imageTiming is everything when it comes to rolling out new technology at credit unions.

As your Strategic Link business solutions partner Catalyst Corporate FCU focuses on the Credit Union Movement’s future, it has tapped the expertise of Kirk Drake, who is co-founder of CU Wallet, LLC, and a CU 2.0 strategist.

Whether your CU’s “hot-button” is artificial intelligence (AI), crypto-currency, or other trend-setting technology, you probably can’t hesitate too long before hitting the “go” button.

“Don’t believe a technologist who tells you they know where innovation will be in three to five years,” said Drake. In his opinion, it is “impossible to predict where technology will be that far in advance.”

And therein lies the challenge. When implementing new technologies and services, credit unions aim for perfection, says Drake. This approach creates long product rollouts before members are ever introduced into the process.

“In 3-5 years, the technology that was once brand new is now obsolete,” said Drake. “By the time a strategy is ready to roll out, the wow factor is gone.”

What should credit unions do differently to achieve long-term sustainability?

Drake recommends a strategy some may consider daring, but to others, it’s trend-setting.

“The successful brands put things out before they’re ready for primetime. This helps determine trends and interest before betting big,” said Drake.

Drake discusses this approach in his book, CU 2.0: A Guide for Credit Unions Competing in the Digital Age.

The “if you build it, they will come” approach is destined to fail, Drake thinks, because no one is joining a credit union for what may come. A better user experience will keep more members around, but he believes it’s not going to make people switch financial institutions.

Drake explains that building an exceptional member experience requires some effort.

First, credit unions need to understand the needs and wants of their community.

“Recognize that the connection point isn’t necessarily the products you think are valuable, but the things members are interested in,” said Drake.

Second, Drake says, a focus on trends, rather than fads, helps to better inform a credit union’s timing for rolling out new technology.

“Video is the No. 1 technology trend today,” adds Drake. “But credit unions must be surgical and strategic about its use.” While credit unions are great at adapting to new technologies like video, they may struggle with deployment.

“Half of the challenge credit unions face is finding the right technology, and half of the challenge is learning how to deploy that technology in an effective way,” he said.

Editor’s note: For more information on Catalyst Corporate FCU’s suite of products, services, and expert presentations, connect with Kaitlin Ramos at Strategic Link.