Member data analysis is all about getting a crystal-clear understanding of who your members are at a detailed level through data analysis.

By investing in better data analysis techniques, your organization is committing to collecting and scrutinizing large volumes of data to paint a clear picture of each individual member (their demographics, behaviors, preferences, major life events, etc.) so smarter, targeted actions can be taken.

Using time-tested techniques to analyze member data is the key to building a rock-solid member relationship that maximizes acquisition, on-boarding and retention. In short, superior data analysis helps you:

  • Know if you have the right data to answer key action-oriented questions.
  • Draw accurate conclusions from your data.
  • Informs your decision-making process.

Follow these steps, that we’ll outline over multiple posts, and you’ll be on your way to a successful data analytics strategy where you get to know your data, the right way.

Step 1:  Listen to your data.

“Successful analytics” is all about finding patterns and anomalies across the KPIs identified as important to your credit union’s business objectives. Do not try to shape the data into the story you want it to tell. Rather, let the data do the storytelling.

Start with analyzing the “4Cs” of data analytics: Collect, Cleanse, Compute, Consume.

Collect: Eliminate silos of data by collecting data from multiple sources, both internal and external, to create a single source of truth. The Knowlton Group’s VeriCU Data Platform gets your credit union up and running with their industry-leading platform in a matter of days – not months.

Cleanse: Resolve inconsistencies and maximize the accuracy of your data by cleansing, integrating, and relating to data.

Compute:  Statistically relevant data points don’t simply exist in your data system – they need to be computed in your data platform.  For example, computing an attrition likelihood based on a missed direct deposit or summing total deposits for engaged members to calculate a proxy for monthly income are valuable data points that need to be calculated to exist.

Consume: This step refers to how the information is presented and used. The output results should empower data-driven-decisions and action-lists that integrate directly to your marketing-action-platform to generate a message to a member to then implement the best call to action, timing and message.


Step 2: Identify the best metrics.

If you are looking to improve data analysis, a clear understanding of valuable business metrics is essential.

Vague metrics result in vague results.

Ill-defined metrics rarely align with key business goals meaning your organization is focusing on moving levers that provide no tangible value.  Clarity around what actions truly need to be improved and then identifying what metrics need to be tracked for those actions is essential.

In our next post, we’ll complete this five-step list to help your organization improve its data analysis capabilities. Stay tuned…

On February 23, 2021, The Knowlton Group was fortunate enough to present with our great client partner, Logix Federal Credit Union, at the Callahan & Associates hosted Credit Union Tableau User Group.

Nicole Lopez, the Manager of Business Intelligence at Logix, highlighted some of the fantastic ways that her team has leveraged the VeriCU Data Platform to deploy actionable analytics-driven output to critical lines of business and executives.  The video above is the replay of the webinar if you weren’t able to join us live.  I’d highly recommend that any credit union (those with and without existing analytics teams) watch this video to learn about some great practical analytics use cases.

Creating a clear path to design your data analytics initiatives around the Credit Union’s business goals. 
As organizations look to accelerate their data analytics competency, one of the big strategy questions is “what is the best approach to getting there?”. The key to unlocking your credit union’s analytics potential includes:

·        A thoroughly articulated data strategy and business plan

·        Quick implementation of a scalable/adaptable data warehouse

·        Robust visualization tools

·        Expertise of a data scientist and/or chief data officer

Today, analytics needs to dive deeper into the behavior and decision-making processes of members through analysis of critical, real-time data.  In our new digital and data analytics age, credit unions are relying more on data than even just a year ago, pre-pandemic, to serve members and thrive in a highly competitive market.  If using data to its full potential is something your credit union struggles with, you are in luck.  This quick read shares four actionable strategies you can put in place to get the most value and ROI from data analysis.

A Strategic Road Map for Success

Like most successful ventures, you need to start with a plan – a roadmap – that drives accountability, goal-setting and metrics for success.

We encounter countless organizations that are ready to transform their data into knowledge, growth and profits, but they are still hazy on that first step – Defining the desired business outcome(s) of data analytics.

Teams will need to clearly understand and outline the long-term strategic goals of the credit union (i.e. growth, branching, new products and services, etc.) to identify and select technology solutions that fit the requirements both today and, more importantly, where you want to be in the future. Otherwise, you run the risk of investing in technology, resources, vendors, and staff that might not fit the credit union’s vision; and the cost of pivoting later can be significant.

Analytics efforts should empower data-driven decisions and fuel growth.  As part of this strategy assessment, it’s essential to understand the specific, measurable actions your credit union wants to undertake.  In our experience, we’ve seen tremendous success with past CUs by driving digital branch growth through a focus on identifying member segments and delivering targeted marketing actions.

Too often, executive management teams have an unclear strategic direction with regards to their technology investments and how they align with their corporate objectives. Take the time to clarify the overall strategic direction and outlook. Without this direction as a guide, the credit union’s technology decisions end up driving the overall strategic direction by accident.

Maximize the Value of a Data Warehouse

Are your data strategy and business objectives clarified?  Are you driving growth through measured, systematic, recurring action lists from analytics? If not, now it is time to ramp up the data analytics potential by using a data warehouse. Data warehouses can yield a tremendous ROI for organizations that leverage them to their greatest potential.

Rapidly evolving and improving data warehouse technologies have greatly benefited the financial services industry.  They allow organizations to easily retrieve and store valuable data about members, products, services and more. Data Warehousing solves the ongoing problem of analyzing data from disparate systems and transforming it into actionable information you can use.  It provides a plethora of benefits to a credit union, such as ensuring data consistency, providing a single source of truth to store and cleanse data, improving speed and accuracy on insights, and generating greater efficiency and time-saving solutions.

Developing and maintaining sophisticated data warehouse systems is often too expensive for individual organizations, so many have partnered with service vendors and their cloud-based platforms. To successfully build and deploy your data warehouse, start with a strong plan and foundation. Be sure you have executive sponsorship, adequate architecture and documentation, an implementation team, a sophisticated data integration plan and scalable and adaptable data warehouse.

Waiting to get a data warehouse solution implemented will lead to lost opportunities and insights that could have been gained through an analytics solution. The Knowlton Group’s guide: Buying vs. Building a Data Warehouse drills deep into the advantages, and some of the hiccups, of both scenarios.  Fortunately, our 72 hour Data Warehouse, VeriCU, is designed with a strong pre-built foundation and tons of customizable components. It blends the cost and speed of implementation of a pre-built solution with the flexibility and customization of a custom-built data warehouse.

Extracting Needed Business Insights

With a robust data warehouse in place, you can now get the insights that lead to innovation, superior member services, greater efficiency and so much more. The faster you can extract key insights and analyze data through sets of queries, the further your credit union can achieve business goals.  Visualization tools are paramount to make this happen.

Sophisticated visualization tools allow you to dial into the most important aspects of your member data, such as the profitability of member, branch, region, household, or product.  Visualization tools allow you to segment members based on any segmentation you define, so you can further improve member engagement and marketing messages. You can run reports that share defined information on member attrition, including which members are most at risk of leaving, with specific action plans to boost retainment. Imagine assigning an engagement score to each member based on their overall activity and tracking progress as targeted action helps drive members to the segment-specific ideal-product-bundle.

 Putting Data Science in Practice

Sure, most credit unions don’t need an army of data scientists to put their data to action. But, they need experience, expertise, and real analysis to solve key challenges and unlock what’s working and what can be improved within the organization.

One of the big impediments to implementing a data and analytics program that delivers business value is a misalignment between the business organization and the data organization.  The guidance and experience of a data expert, such as a Data Scientist, Chief Data Officer, or Data Strategy Officer, will help overcome this challenge.

A 2021 survey1 reveals that 65% of organizations have appointed a CDO, up from just 12% in 2012.  Why?  A CDO keeps everyone accountable and aligned with the overall strategic business objectives associated with your data and analytics projects.  Whether hiring a full-time executive or an outsourced expert like The Knowlton Group,  you will view them as a trusted advisor and strategic partner.  Consultants and data scientists will work with your data analytics teams to pour through the data and train your staff to uncover and act on new opportunities that lead to your desired goals. These experts can advise decision-makers, monitor progress, track success, and establish best practices that will position your data analytics project for success. Striking the right balance and partnership with the business side of the organization and the data analytics initiatives through a CDO is a winning formula.

While many success stories confirm data can add enormous value, most organizations still struggle to build data analytics into their business strategies, and to align their data efforts to the needs of the business.

With proper integration, data can accelerate many business strategies by improving the processes and empowering the people needed to execute them. Propelling your data, unlocking its full potential, and solving key business issues with data does not happen overnight.  Let’s help you lay the groundwork today.  For guidance, contact The Knowlton Group

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  1. CXO Today Survey Report


5 Business Value Drivers to Optimize Your Data Warehouse Investment

Data warehouses can yield a tremendous ROI for organizations that leverage them properly. However, many financial institutions that invest in a data warehouse are not maximizing the potential business outcomes that will drive a positive return on investment.

The amount of stored data and exceeding interest in data analytics has resulted in the growing popularity of data warehousing solutions and analytics platforms. Over the years we have seen that as data management and analysis needs have skyrocketed, the market has introduced data warehouse solutions to address the evolving data centralization and storage dilemma. Well-built data warehouses offer the ability to store vast amounts of data and deliver fast results that a traditional database could not compete against.

As credit unions move away from the traditional database to a data warehouse, whether it is built, purchased, or in the cloud, it’s essential to use the data warehouse strategically to optimize all the potential value it promises.

If your credit union has invested in or is considering purchasing a data warehouse solution, are you leveraging its full value?

Here’s a quick Q&A on value drivers to get you started:

Value Driver #1: Are you gaining faster insights and better decision making?

The goal of a data warehouse is to help answer business questions faster.

In what once took days, can now take seconds. This provides management the ability to make clearer and more accurate decisions regarding the credit union’s members, products, services, branches and so much more. A data warehouse allows the credit union to analyze their data effectively as well as trust it! It creates accuracy, dependably and democratizing data so that more than just the purely technical employees can access it— your team can use and benefit from the insights gleaned from running data queries. This avoids bottlenecks and allows management to make decisions based on pure, clean, data—not on gut instincts.

The data warehouse provides a way to mine, refine, and harvest actionable insights faster – increasing the amount of time available to realize the benefits from those insights. The best data warehouses allow you to gather and analyze various types of data from diverse sources and not only collect and convert that data, but turn it into action plans that drive business decisions for the organization.

Value Driver #2: Are your business units/departments aligned and embracing the benefits of the data warehouse?

Each line of business in your organization (e.g. sales, marketing, lending, product management), and third-party tools should have a centralized data warehouse.  Your data warehouse should not limit data access or produce silos of data. Data remains centrally stored and can be accessed through any warehouse, as long as the user has the necessary permissions.

Most credit unions operate hundreds of disparate application systems.  Individual departments in an organization often focus on their own narrow system and information needs and don’t see the corporate value of integrating data.  A data warehouse helps breakdown those silos of disparate data so your data doesn’t get out of sync.  Best-in-class data warehousing technology will enable better department alignment, a single version of truth that ensures clean and accurate data management that everyone can rally around.  All this leads to more informed managers, making data driven, objective decisions – for which you’ll see the results to your credit union’s business outcomes.

Value Driver #3:  Is the data warehouse automating data collection and scaling with your credit union?

The best data warehouse solution should provide automated end-to-end data management—from initial data collection to analysis and reporting.

Your organization’s data assets will continue to increase, therefore, a data warehouse is one of the best available tools for managing data growth by enabling archival, aggregation and analysis of data from many different data sources. Whether an in-house or cloud-based solution, data warehouses can be highly scalable solutions. Having scalability to meet business needs is an important value driver to take advantage of as it will allow your organization to automatically scale to support any increase in data, workload, and concurrent users and applications without the need for data movement or expensive upgrades down the road.

Value Driver #4:  Are you utilizing powerful visualization tools?

A data warehouse makes it easier to work with popular visualizations tools like Power BI or Tableau. This enables non-technical users to quickly build insightful visualizations and dashboards to highlight critical information in an appealing fashion.  These tools can be used for advanced analytics output as well as traditional operational reports.

Value Driver #5:  Are you easily integrating key non-core data sources within your data warehouse?

With the increasing volume of information collected through a variety of channels, credit unions need a single interface where data is collected and stored – integrating data from common non-core applications such as loan origination systems, third-party servicers, credit and debit card processors, GL systems, and much more.

The right data warehousing solutions allow you to easily combine data from multiple sources to create a unified, single view of the data.  The ultimate goal is to provide users with consistent access and delivery of data across the entire credit union.  Data integration benefits everything from business intelligence and member segmentation to data governance and real time information delivery. Data warehouses can help bring disparate datasets together to further increase the value of your information.

Are you ready to drive greater business value? Getting the most out of your data warehouse means making smarter, quicker business decisions.

If your credit union is embarking on a business intelligence journey, or already down the path and looking to increase ROI of your data analytics investments with a powerful data warehouse, learn more about VeriCU data warehouse platform created by the Knowlton Group.  You could be up and running in 72 hours driving value data insights right away.


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To Build or Buy A Data Warehouse?

Chances are, you have heard conversations around the “build vs. buy” question in the context of data warehousing.

The answer to “build or buy” may seem a little hazy now. This free guidebook created by The Knowlton Group provides clarity so you can make an informed decision for your organization.

Complete the brief form below to get our guidebook on “Building or Buying a Data Warehouse”.


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