Are IT Budgets Poised for a Comeback?

CUs’ information technology budgets focus on three areas.

September 17, 2010
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Conventional wisdom says technology is outdated in three years unless it’s upgraded or replaced. Throw in the Great Recession, and you get delayed tech investments and pent-up demand for the tools needed to run today’s high-tech business operations.

Subscribe to Credit Union MagazineCredit unions, like other businesses, are noticing the obsolescence of their technology. Credit union information technology (IT) budgets for 2011 appear to focus on three areas:

  • Making vital security and infrastructure improvements;
  • Striving for efficiency and productivity; and
  • Supporting self-service channels and online interaction.

Credit unions put many items—now on their 2011 technology wish lists—on hold in 2009 and 2010 as they waited for the recession to ebb.

Although the national economy is still in flux, credit unions expect to relax budget restrictions in 2011 in pursuit of high-priority items, particularly security upgrades.

A critical security shift

The amount of elasticity in credit unions’ IT budgets varies with local economic conditions and the need for improved security. Kevin Prince, former chief technology officer and current consultant at Perimeter e-Security, a CUNA strategic alliance provider, says some credit unions are pushing the limits of their IT security capabilities.

Perimeter provides security solutions for financial services and other industries.

“There’s pent-up demand, and there are some things that have been held back that credit unions absolutely need to do,” Prince says.

Among the critical issues is a shift from “edge-based security,” which focuses on the connection between internal systems and the Internet, to a higher level of “end-point security,” which examines the potential for security breaches in all devices used in all aspects of operations.

“There are so many ways hackers can compromise end points now,” says Prince. “And when they do this—when they compromise a personal computer [PC] on the inside of the network, for example—those attacks very frequently can completely bypass all the edge-based security.”

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory ( will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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