By Rhiannon Stone
Selecting a core and software solutions partners is a major decision for any credit union – regardless of size. The right partner should provide robust functionality, seamless integration and customization to meet the needs of your credit union and members. As with any big decision, however, there are risks – from financial to operational – that must be taken into account.
To mitigate any risks that come with selecting a new technology partner, consider the taking the below approach:
Research, research, research. Conducting proper due-diligence on potential partners is a must. Your credit union must consider everything from features, functionality and user experience to back-end support and integration. Reading an RFP is one thing, but actually taking the time to get into the software and demo it is another. Don’t rely on words on a page to convince you of the right decision – enlist team members to use the software and provide feedback.
Conduct a cost-benefit analysis. There are many benefits to undergoing a core conversion or any new software solutions implementation, such as increased efficiency and enhanced security. However, these benefits do not happen overnight. Make sure your credit union is prepared for the multi-year financial and time investment that it takes to find and implement the right software solutions for your credit union.
Consider the present and future of your credit union.How many processes and products at your credit union rely on your current system? What will the ripple effects of converting to a new software platform be? All of these things must be considered in selecting a technology partner. Ideally, you’ll find a true partner that is focused on delivering the best solutions for your credit union and making your operations much more streamlined.
Choosing a solution with a modular and open architecture will ensure you are able to evolve with the industry and the needs of your members – these platforms are more flexible than legacy systems and provide seamless integration with new technologies.
Assess the support staff of your technology partner. If you’re encountering a challenge with your new solutions, you want to be able to call your provider anytime, anywhere. An ideal partner will be available 24/7 to help you solve any problems or answer any questions you may have. They should also be prepared for any potential questions or challenges your members may have, and guide you along the way to making the transition as smooth as possible.
Tie your conversion to strategy.Choosing a partner isn’t about a quick fix – your selection should be intrinsically tied to your credit union’s overall strategy. When assessing potential core and software solutions partners, consider where you are and where your credit union wishes to be in five, 10 and even 15 years from now. What are your strategic initiatives? How can your platform help you get there? Ensuring that your solutions align with your business strategy will set you up for success in the long run.
A decision on the software platform you and your staff will rely on every day to meet the needs of your members is not a small one. It should not be taken lightly or made hastily.
By researching all of the options, ensuring you will have adequate support and aligning your core and software solutions with your overall strategy, you can ensure you make the right decision for your credit union, now and into the future.
Rhiannon Stone is COO at EPL, Inc. For info: www.eplinc.com.