Future-ready CIOs should brush up on these four technology topics

Even as they develop their leadership capabilities, CIOs need to continually hone their technological knowledge base. Here are four broad technical fronts where executives need to be well versed in 2020 and beyond:

All things digital, especially point-of-sale systems. Beyond the technology that drives mobile and online delivery channels, executives need to understand the science and research involving the member experience, specifically what questions to ask, how to ask them, and how those interactions impact digital decision drop-off rates and sales conversion. This research can guide technical decisions about digital system design and integration—and improve outcomes for selling mortgages, checking accounts, consumer loans and credit cards through digital channels.

Analytics. Credit unions are developing their data analytic capabilities across the organization in marketing, channel management, finance and lending. Compliance with current expected credit loss standards is a primary example. IT leaders can take the lead in sharing use cases, guiding vendor evaluations and leading data governance policy decisions.

Next-generation middleware and integration solutions. A lot of people are talking about open application programming interfaces today; far fewer are taking action. Many credit unions still rely on old-school point-to-point integration. The digital world, especially digital point of sale, requires a rapid evolution to newer open API models. The application development software Plaid, recently acquired by CUES Supplier member Visa, Foster City, California, is becoming the default integration method for online account opening. CIOs should take the lead in exploring, understanding and leading conversations about integration, middleware and open APIs with line of business owners.

Workflow automation. The adoption of tools to automate workflow in both member experience and back-office systems is still in the early stages at many financial institutions, but a wealth of workflow systems is available both from core vendors and such third-party providers as Appian, Pegasystems and Alloy. A couple of Cornerstone clients are already experimenting with robotic process automation. These emerging technologies hold promise to accelerate workflow for efficiency gains, faster loan decisions and streamlined member interactions. CIOs will be expected to drive conversations about these tools and offer use cases on how these solutions may work for lines of business.

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