Core Conversion: Where is the Summit?
February 22, 2018
If your core conversion happened months or even years ago, and you’re not feeling as great as you thought you would about all the new functionality, you may be wondering what went wrong. You’re not alone. That feeling is as prevalent as the common cold, but there is a cure.
A conversion requires tireless focus and heavy resource usage. The more distant goals can get lost in the immediacy of the conversion and the aftermath of catching up on the things that were set aside during the thick of it. Take a deep breath and celebrate the successful data cleanup, conversion, and initial gains that came with the new core. Then keep going.
Regroup, Clarify, Prioritize
Take a pause. You know much more about the system now than pre-conversion. What were you expecting from the new core back at the beginning? If there wasn’t clarity then, and even if there was, it’s helpful to revisit those expectations:
- Create or update the list of desired capabilities
- Assess the current status of those capabilities
- Write clear objectives statements with measurable goals for each
- Prioritize, using the credit union’s strategy as a filter
- Set them in motion as resources and other priorities allow
Writing clear, effective objectives statements is one of the keys to reaching the summit. For example, if funding loans through the system is a desired capability, the goals should include what percentage of loans will be funded through the system and by when. This eliminates the unfortunate situation where the capability is implemented but not fully utilized.
Be particularly aware of the processes surrounding the new system. Are they processes from the past that have just been crammed around the new system? Evaluate and improve those processes. For each process, get the doers and decision-makers in the room to understand the current process and identify non-value add activities. Always use the member experience as a decision filter. Make sure that people who understand the full capabilities of the new core and any associated third-party software are involved. Working together and sharing knowledge of system functionality and the way the system is really used by the doers results in superior process design. While the groups are still energized, create a clear plan for implementation of the improved process and begin executing the plan.
While major member-facing processes often get the most attention for process improvement, don’t forget other activities such as month close, collections, accounts payable, servicing, account maintenance that are just as vital for the smooth and efficient operation of the organization.
The core conversion itself only takes you halfway up the mountain. Reaching the summit requires clear objectives and continuing focus. Even if the core has been in place for some time, you can still get there.