Over the past several months, I’ve had the opportunity to talk on the phone (and on Zoom!) with many risk and compliance credit union leaders. Inevitably, our conversations came around to a desire to realize greater efficiency across a number of processes. It’s a familiar ambition to those of us at PolicyWorks, as we, too are working towards improvements in this area.
Generally speaking, most wanted to explore the potential of automation in the hopes of achieving at least one of the following:
- Free up time for more strategic pursuits
- Increase speed and productivity
- See ahead to avoid crunch-time or emergency projects
Each individual I spoke to was tremendously excited to explore the different technology options that could get them closer to GRC automation. At the same time, they reported being reluctant to introduce these options to their teams because of a persistent resistance to change. And, I get it. Having worked in the credit union industry for many years, I fully understand the movement’s commitment to human-centric service delivery. Tenured credit union leaders often fear the integration of technology could minimize what is so fundamentally special about the credit union experience.
After all, it’s “people helping people,” not “machines helping people,” right?
But, here’s the deal. Technology, particularly technology automation, actually creates greater opportunity for people to help people. It’s amazing what happens when GRC team members come out from under piles of paperwork and unglue their eyes from screens full of worksheet tabs. Rescued from the monotony and stress of manual inputs and analysis, they begin to see things they couldn’t before. The human ingenuity and spark that drew them to movement is newly empowered; the creative juices flow more freely, and they begin to see more opportunity to make a difference within the credit union.
Anyone who has ever had a bad experience with new technology may have a hard time believing in this kind of outcome. But, I’ve seen it happen many times through my work with the ViClarity team. They have introduced me to the most critical aspect of technology – the singular most important component to any software solution, and that’s the people behind it.
The people behind the software are what makes or breaks any technology integration. So, how can a credit union be sure the human side of the technology solution they buy is up to the task of ushering in change where change is unwanted? Here a few clues that you’re talking to the right people...
They anticipate resistance. The right technology team has been where you are. They can see obstacles on the horizon and readily can share stories of how they’ve overcome them in the past.
They absorb the blows. Any chief risk or compliance officer introducing new technology is bound to get some tough questions. A good technology team will jump on a Zoom with your internal audit, finance, compliance and other department heads to provide thorough, on-the-spot answers to calm fears and secure buy-in.
They listen and adjust. Any software that requires you to change your processes to meet its limitations is bound to create greater angst within the credit union. Look for a technology team that has the capabilities (and importantly, the willingness) to customize the technology to your existing processes.
They are patient. It’s not uncommon for a credit union to discover it’s not yet ready to tackle a technology integration. The humans behind the right technology for you will not rush you. Instead, they will work with you to build out a calendar of milestones and help you achieve each before moving forward with a conversion.
They aren’t ocean boilers. Most software solutions on the market today are at least somewhat configurable, offering lots of options. A good technology team will understand your desire to start small and build over time. They won’t pressure you to go for gold from Day 1.
Most important of all, look for a team that understands the value you bring the relationship beyond that of “paying customer.” Technology changes exponentially from year to year, so you need a solution provider that sees your credit union as a partner and co-creator – a team that will help them iterate their innovation to maintain relevancy in the fast-moving regtech marketplace.
While I am biased, I’m very proud to say the humans behind our technology check off each of the above boxes and so much more. If there’s every anything we can do to help you excite your team about the possibilities of automation for your credit union, please don’t hesitate to reach out.