Transforming Credit Union Technology: A Journey with Pure IT

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Strategy / Technology

Transforming Credit Union Technology: A Journey with Pure IT

I feel fortunate to have the unique perspective of being on both sides of the proverbial desk. I am not shy about my experience in the credit union and community banking space. The majority of my career has been aligned with driving high levels of member (customer) service and serving the communities in which we reside, which includes sharing the benefits of being a credit union member and how credit unions are different.

Come along with me, circa 2018, when I first came to know about Pure IT, from my role at a Credit Union.

Imagine you’re sitting at a financial institution, working with fabulously talented people who all want to drive a significant impact and positively improve the membership, the company, and each other, but also, are struggling with that first step. With many projects in the queue, all competing for top priority and all critical to each business unit’s success, our IT team had a full plate. And that was not even including the normal, ‘keeping the lights on’ tasks.

Our team was working long hours to keep up with the infrastructure needs, and we had strategic goals to accomplish.

This was the reality for the credit union I was working at some years back. We had a CEO who knew there had to be a better way, and while he was reaching out in his circles, he encouraged a co-worker and me to do the same. We were specifically looking to partner with a company that knew about our industry and would complement our team in the technology support space. We set out to find a partner not looking to rip and replace what existed today: our people or our infrastructure.

What needs to be accomplished first? Are we at risk? How should we prioritize our goals? How can we make the most of our investments: our people and our infrastructure?

We spoke with a number of companies and ultimately felt the culture, goals, and collaborative spirit of Pure IT aligned with what we wanted to accomplish.

What sold us on Pure IT was their holistic approach to understanding the goals of the Credit Union and digging in to understand the alignment of those goals with our entire team. They spoke with subject matter experts from our branch staff through the CEO, speaking to the alignment or disconnect between where we were headed and what challenges may present in our path. We sought someone who could help us move forward and mature the organization while offloading redundant tasks.

Pure IT has an assessment process that evolved from the Gartner I&O Model, specifically aligned for financial institutions and those organizations that support them, including an analysis of the People, Process, Technology, and Business. The analysis of these four areas ensures the maturity efforts are balanced, and we wouldn’t have processes failing our business or our people and roles outgrowing the technology capabilities. Imagine a three-legged stool: one or two outpacing the others will leave you with instability.

The roadmap developed for our CU was specific to our needs and areas of growth. There were eye-opening technology findings and areas where we knew we had opportunities for improvement. This, however, ensured everyone who viewed the report was also aware of what some of us already knew to be the case. This report stood on its own, and if we had the resources and bandwidth, we could have immediately started resolving issues, but we didn’t (remember the project list). So, we elicited some help to continue guiding the strategy and to offload the time-consuming tasks our technology teams were saddled with. This helped us grow team members into new roles (previous gaps), leveraging their current skills and enabling professional development through training, to meet other needs. There is never a shortage of things to be done: member needs to be met, growth goals to remain relevant and successful for your membership, and compliance needs to guide our organizations in sometimes counterintuitive ways.

Our industry is no closer to construction or dental than we are to transportation. Credit unions are special, and finding someone who spoke our language and understood our goals and needs was crucial.

Erin Hicks
About the Author

Erin is a seasoned credit union professional with over 15 years of comprehensive experience in the financial services industry. Having been with Pure IT for nearly 5 years, she has consistently demonstrated a proven track record of success in leading cross-functional teams, aligning them with client success and strategic initiatives. In her free time, she enjoys exploring new restaurants, considering herself a true “Foodie,” and savoring craft cocktails.