'It's More Than the Core'

Keep member disruptions to a minimum during core conversions.

February 01, 2011
KEYWORDS conversion , core
/ PRINT / ShareShare / Text Size +

Hiring an outside vendor to handle a core processing conversion might sound like a good idea. But doing so removes credit union ownership from the process, says Patricia Valentino, senior vice president, real time solutions, for FIS.

“It’s like having someone decorate your house without telling them what your style is,” she says.

Abdicating responsibility for a core conversion is bad business because the core processing system is too important—it touches all credit union delivery channels.

Information Systems Guide
Credit Union Magazine's 2011 Information Systems Guide highlights the credit union movement's top core processors and their systems' features and functions.

“It’s more than the core,” Valentino says.

She shares her core conversion insights with Credit Union Magazine.

CU Mag: How can CUs make this process go more smoothly?

Valentino: Establish and maintain strong project management, including weekly project meetings, and defining your scope. Assign tasks to individual owners, not groups of people.

A lot of this is detailed project management. Sometimes people approach things without that project management discipline and hope for the best based on their skills or historical ability to manage. But a conversion really needs a defined and managed project plan.

It’s important to have executive support so staff feel the support for the project from the top. You need a cheerleader from the executive level because the process gets stressful sometimes.

Also, recognize that people have day jobs. You don’t hire extra people to help during this, so you’ve increased—sometimes doubled—peoples’ workload.

CU Mag: How do you help motivate CU staff?

Valentino: We use a formalized project plan with an implementation team and multiple fingers in the process. We send a lot of communications to senior management, steering committees, and other committees to keep people focused on the positives; what we’re doing well.

It’s about breaking a huge project into smaller projects and tasks so you can succeed and celebrate success. That keeps people moving forward.

CU Mag: What are some common stumbling blocks?

Valentino: Lack of knowledge of current product offerings and limited resources are common—everyone has a day job.

Not understanding what they want the new system to look like and do. A credit union will change its core application because it’s not doing something in a way they’d like it to. It’s not helping the credit union grow and serve members.

What often happens after the sales process is that the conversion team isn’t up to speed on the new product features. So you end up converting existing issues, such as bad product definitions, into the new application. You’re just taking your old problems and putting them in new drawers, so to speak.

Knowledge transfer between the sales and conversion teams is key.

Next: Conversion don'ts

Post a comment to this story


What's Popular

Popular Stories

Recent Discussion

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.

Your Say: Who should be Credit Union Magazine's 2014 CU Hero of the Year?

View Results Poll Archive