NAFCU Services Blog

Sep 21, 2021

What Does Tech Transformation Look Like at Your CU? (Part 2)  

“Speed is a Choice” 

By Paul Timm, VP of Marketing, NAFCU Services 

In my last post, we covered one credit union’s digital transformation and cloud computing journey. George Estrada from AWS, Bipin Sahni from Persistent Systems, and Lisa Anderson from Affinity Plus FCU had outlined for us some common use cases and benefits of cloud technologies. As digital transformation sweeps across financial services, credit unions are rapidly evaluating and deploying cloud services to modernize their operations, adapt with changing member behaviors and expectations, and drive growth. We often know well ahead of time when we need to update or innovate. Where it gets tricky is overcoming legacy systems, and getting all stakeholders aligned on how and where to focus. Lisa’s team at Affinity Plus FCU seem to have cracked that code. 

Cloud MigrationBipin Sahni, Chief Strategy Officer of Persistent Systems, said it best when he noted how many credit unions are collaborating with partners to build a “digital mosaic of business services, data platforms, and infrastructure” that is both flexible and strong. The cloud represents the cornerstone of this digital mosaic. Bipin rightly emphasized that the digital mosaic, above all else, must support the four big needs of members: saving, borrowing, investing, and spending.  

To that end, one of Bipin’s favorite targets is helping credit unions to streamline member onboarding--making their experience easier and more enjoyable from the beginning. He also pushed for shifting other core capabilities into the cloud such as KYC (Know Your Customer), data analytics, governance models, and security protocols. And he has some great stories of credit unions rapidly building integrated IT ecosystems to replace older siloed architectures. 

Our friend George Estrada, a Principal Strategist with AWS, pointed out that by shifting most of the IT infrastructure and heavy lifting to the cloud, credit unions can “repivot and repurpose resources to focus on that end user experience.” This refocusing enables organizations to achieve new levels of speed and flexibility. He reminded us of his favorite quotes from AWS CEO, Andy Jassy (now Amazon CEO): “Speed is not preordained. Speed is a choice. You have got to set up a culture that has urgency and wants to experiment. You can’t flip a switch and suddenly get speed.” As the pandemic has accelerated digitalization within financial services, speed and flexibility are now more important than ever. 

Now, this might beg the question – how do you build something quickly if you don’t already have all the necessary tools, parts, and people in place? George’s advice: “you don’t have to build everything from scratch and do it all yourself… you could focus on building some of the core differentiators for your organization and then leverage partners.” By utilizing the cloud rather than on-premise infrastructure, credit unions can prioritize investment in personalized experiences like smart searches, personalized product recommendations, and relevant notifications. Of course, we can be even better at personalization by tapping into data generated in the cloud to glean individual preferences and buying habits, and to identify broader trends across membership. 

You might have already guessed that AWS had big roles in helping Affinity Plus with their transformation, and Persistent Systems knows how to help credit unions drive digital transformation. But I’ll let Lisa, George, and Bipin tell more of that story. You can catch their full conversation here.  

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