5 Features Credit Unions Want from Data Visualization

Guest post written by Kevin Garabedian, Senior Director for Small and Midsize Business at SAS Institute, Inc.

Data underpins the operations and strategic decisions of every business. Yet these days, data is generated faster than it can be consumed and digested, making it challenging for credit unions to extract maximum value from this vital asset. Many decision makers – whether data analysts or senior-level executives – struggle to draw meaningful conclusions in a timely manner from the array of data available to them.

Reliance on spreadsheets and specialized reporting and analysis tools only limits your flexibility and output. After all, spreadsheets were not designed for data analysis. And specialized reporting and analysis tools often lack integration with other critical business applications and processes. Dependence on the IT group for ad hoc reports slows insights and decisions, putting the company at a disadvantage. Business decision makers feel a loss of control waiting for the already overburdened IT department to generate critical reports.

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Why Using Business Analytics Will Make Your Credit Union Better

As a marketer who really is a geek for marketing, I have a very dear relationship with business analytics. Why? It is (or should be) a part of every step of the marketing process. Analytics allow you to determine which marketing campaigns, outlets and target audiences are the most effective (ie: Is Facebook or Twitter sending more people to our website? Which of our members are most likely to leave? Who is most likely to be looking for a car loan?). Take it a step further, and analytics can even predict which marketing campaigns, outlets, and target audiences will be most effective in the future.  How cool is that?

The difference between using analytics and not is the difference between making an informed choice about allocating your scarce marketing resources and an uninformed one.  It almost seems a no-brainer which approach makes the most sense, but time and time again we see ‘intuitive’ marketers following their gut instincts and ending up with poor results.

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Zen and the Art of Operational Excellence

The classic 1970s novel ‘Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’ spends a couple of hundred pages exploring the question of how you define quality, among many other things, including motorcycle maintenance.  I don’t remember anything at all it said about spark plugs, but the discussion of what the term ‘quality’ means really stuck with me.

In a meeting last week someone made the observation that they thought their organization was ‘world-class’ when it came to operational excellence.  I’m not sure that I would agree, having experienced first-hand their service as a client. That reminded me of the book — how do you define operational excellence in the context of a credit union, without just falling back on the ambiguity of ‘I know it when I see it’?

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