Technology

‘No Such Thing’ as an Easy Core Conversion

If you let things slide, you risk ‘having a wave come over your head.’

January 03, 2011
KEYWORDS conversion , core , cu
/ PRINT / ShareShare / Text Size +

What’s the recipe for a successful core processing conversion? Assemble the right team, minimize disruptions, build a comprehensive plan, stay on plan, and resist the temptation to delay or defer activities or decisions.

So say Symitar President Ted Bilke and Charlotte Casagrand, director of implementations. The core processing veterans share with Credit Union Magazine their knowledge about ensuring a smooth core conversion.

CU Mag: What are the best ways to keep this process running smoothly?

Casagrand: I have several recommendations:

  • Appoint a project manager from the credit union side;
  • Be very organized. Know what you want to do and changes you want to make, and have executive signoff on this before starting the conversion; and
  • Keep in mind, first and foremost, that a conversion is a big process—it takes a lot of input and effort from the credit union side.
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.

So don’t take on too many other projects during the conversion. It takes a toll on credit union staff.

Bilke: We’ve seen it all—credit unions that do core conversions and mergers at the same time. We can bring a lot of resources, but the key credit union staff have limitations.

Credit unions need to accept that core conversions are hard—there’s no such thing as an easy conversion. You have to assemble the right team, minimize disruptions, build a comprehensive plan, stay on plan, and resist the temptation to delay or defer activities or decisions.

Typically, what isn’t negotiable is that conversion date. If you let things slide, you risk having a wave come over your head.

Casagrand: It’s a domino effect: If you miss one or two key events, you’ll have a heck of a time catching up. Don’t miss milestones.

CU Mag: What happens if a CU misses a milestone?

Bilke: We look at stoplight charts that tell us whether the credit union or our employees are meeting or missing their deadlines. This allows us to react quickly and either apply more resources from the vendor side or make sure we have the right focus from the credit union side.

This is invaluable. Those stoplight reports go all the way up to myself, as president, as well as to the credit union’s senior executive team.

Casagrand: As a sideline to those reports, I have all managers give me weekly reports on conversion status. That gives me a bird’s eye view of anything that might be slipping on our side or the credit union side, and we can address it immediately. We have a lot of checks and balances in place.

Bilke: Our conversions culminate in an integrated test week, typically about a month before the conversion date. It’s a direct rehearsal for the conversion itself. At that point we’re tweaking and refining, vs. what the industry has done historically—throwing a big Hail Mary pass those last couple of weeks.

Next: What causes delays?

One source for a conversion story?

mike lawson
January 13, 2011 12:18 pm
Hey Bill:
This was a very informative story, thank you. If there's a similar article coming up, can there be more sources than experts from one company? It would be interesting to see the differences in their responses.
Thanks!
--Mike


Flag Comment as Offensive

Bonus coverage

Bill Merrick
January 14, 2011 10:37 am
Mike,

This is one of a few "online extra" articles we published in addition to our annual Information Systems Guide and the main core conversion feature from the December Credit Union Magazine, "Building a better core."

Thus the one source.

Here are a couple more online extras that address core processing:
* "It's more than the core" and
* "Don't get dust in the server and other core conversion lessons."

Bill


Flag Comment as Offensive

Post a comment to this story

heroes

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 (www.appreciationatwork.com/assess) 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