COVID-19 has changed our world of in-person contact and limited auditors' and examiners' ability to complete an onsite review of credit unions. Although digitalization has been a continuous topic over the years, we all received a push to enter the digital age with this year's "new normal." So we ask, how do we continue to make remote audits and exams go smoothly? Simple answer: digital transformation.
Does digital transformation mean you will throw all of your paper away, and the computer will do everything for you? No, that is digitization, on which we already rely for core systems to track all of your members' information.
Digital transformation is the process of developing new business applications that integrate digitized data and digitalized applications. In reality, digital transformation is a change mindset for all credit union processes, which includes ongoing digitalization projects. To understand this better, let's break it into three parts: digitize information, digitalize process, and digitally transform the credit union and its strategy.
Years ago, credit unions kept all data on paper or, in some cases, "in a shoebox." Step forward to the 21st century, and most credit unions have converted to tracking all member information through their core system software. Now that member information has been digitized for tracking purposes, what is left behind is the paper documents in loan files or new account files. To finalize the digitizing process is to get all existing files imaged. Once all existing files are imaged, the next step is to continue to digitalization.
Digitalization is how business practices and processes going forward incorporate digital systems. For example, now that all documents are digitized, how are ongoing processes going to skip the paper and go right to being available digitally? To start, you need to know all the capabilities of your software systems and ensure that you are utilizing these systems' functions in your everyday processes. Digitalization is not rocket science, but it does take knowing when and how to ask the right questions to design digital processes. One step further is digital transformation, which is more than just digitizing and digitalization.
How do we meet our members' needs end-to-end in a world with so much technology? The answer is through digital transformation, which is a strategic approach to mapping the ongoing roles that make up business operations to meet the members' needs. Credit union leaders have to decide which software to use, how switching to new technologies will benefit members, and how these transformations will be rolled out.
So, where do we start the transformation? Cornerstone Resources Audit and Consulting professionals can help strategically prepare credit unions for digital transformation through five easy steps:
Help figure out your business strategy before you invest in pricey software.
Find the right people to work through the transformation, leverage insider knowledge within the credit union, or find the right associates to fill these roles.
Using existing membership or new target markets, help design the desired member experience end-to-end.
Prepare and train credit union associates before, during, and after transformation.
Align strategic visions with software to ensure a smooth transition.
Focusing on a change mindset will help build better credit union cultures, benefit members' access to information, and help ease future audits and examinations.
Amanda Dawson is a business operations consultant for Cornerstone Resources, Audit and Consulting Services, and a specialist in commercial lending. You can reach Amanda at firstname.lastname@example.org or 469-385-6458.
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