Four Technology Trends to Watch

Know how the ‘consumerization’ of technology will affect member interactions.

September 29, 2011
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The rapid “consumerization” of technology requires credit unions to monitor four key trends: Social media, mobility, cloud computing, and data security/privacy.

That’s the word from Rick Roy, CUNA Mutual Group’s senior vice president/chief information officer, speaking at the 16th Annual CUNA Technology Council Conference in San Antonio.

Consumerization refers to the increasing influence consumer products or technologies are having on the corporate environment, Roy explains.

“Social networks are changing how we talk, interact, sell, and build brands,” he says. “The astounding reach social media has had on marketing and sales can create new opportunities for credit unions to reach new demographics quickly and effectively.”

The same can be said with the explosion of mobility. With millions of mobile devices sold worldwide, smartphones and tablets are a consumer-driven revolution. “Mobility is a powerful market differentiator for credit unions,” Roy adds.

Rick Roy
Rick Roy: “Social networks are changing how we talk, interact, sell, and build brands."

Cloud computing also is making inroads into the credit union marketplace.

“Today, cloud computing has experienced a major shift from infancy to a real business strategy for many companies,” Roy says. “We’re hearing more about how insurers are adopting software as a service [SaaS] platforms outside their core systems of policy administration, claims, and financials.”

But he cautions that while market forces may drive this strategy, the insurance industry is still assessing whether it’s the best solution. Roy acknowledges potential drawbacks related to the security, performance, and availability of cloud offerings.

“Security for private information remains a huge concern for insurers, as it’s a business issue that spans beyond technology,” he says.

Roy also said data security and privacy issues remain at the forefront for credit unions.

“Data breaches can happen quickly, and they have profound effects on credit unions, including financial ramifications, loss of members, brand damage, regulatory scrutiny, and legal liability,” he says.

Data breaches occur both internally and externally, and include the theft of personal information by employees or loss of unencrypted equipment containing personal information.

These threats change so frequently that it’s important to monitor this trend constantly. “Many incidents can be easily prevented with changes in one’s internal controls,” he says.

Roy’s recommendations for each trend:

• Social media: Develop internal and external social media policies that incorporate clear corporate messaging standards.

• Mobility: Embrace mobile devices’ new levels of productivity for employees, and create a secure, “mobility choice” support model.

• Security and privacy: Eliminate all nonessential private and credit union data and encrypt the remaining data, including that on mobile devices.

• Cloud computing: Beware the hype, but monitor industry progress as options are maturing quickly. Be clear on security and privacy shortcomings.

“Ensure that your technology strategy can support your business strategy,” Roy says, “and that your people and processes are lined up to help your credit union capitalize on new market opportunities that come your way.”

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