In my nearly thirty years working with CU*Answers, I’ve been witness to the many ways clients have partnered with the CUSO for their technology solutions. Most recently, I’ve been fortunate to be a part of the newest evolution of that partnership with the Developer’s Help Desk, which now celebrates two years working with credit unions.
CU*Answers has always prided itself on being a suite provider of products for credit unions. It has focused on Do-It-Together cooperative development where all clients have a say in where the CUSO invests in technology. In that capacity, CU*Answers serves as the lead designer, developer and manager of most tools provided.
A rising need for custom development
As technology has rapidly evolved of the years, so too have the opportunities for credit unions to incorporate a growing number of technological strategies. While credit unions continue to be able to thrive under the DIT model, CU*Answers recognized that in the spirit of cooperation, we should help facilitate the process of seamlessly integrated other solutions, and at a lower price point. In essence, the Developer’s Help Desk was started to provide credit unions and vendors an opportunity to design, build and manage custom software projects in a streamlined way, where they could act as the explorers, designers, and builders of solutions.
Another important aspect was to develop and document our due process as a team for helping fulfill custom requests. This included developing many new policies, procedures, agreements and forms, and developing an entire website dedicated to these requests. Today, our DHD site has been visited over 5,000 times, and averages 160 active users monthly.
Looking back on two years
Looking back on the first two years, it provides an opportunity to see how much progress has been made, how clients are responding and to help set the benchmark for our next two years. From square one to where we are today has been exciting process with a lot of learning along the way. In that time, over 1,100 custom project requests were submitted, of which 400 projects were completed. The volume of custom project completed in year two increased by 30%, and the number of applied programming hours grew by 40%. Interestingly, the largest percentage of project types by far is client requests to integrate 3rd party vendor solutions with CU*BASE. Over 50% of project requests received have fallen into this project category!
Perhaps the most visible component of this DHD process has been the development of an online store for displaying a wide array of solutions in a virtual environment. Today, the online store features 300 DHD related products, spanning across 7 different CMS departments. It includes 290 free APIs and 140 API products/services. It has become a staple for the DHD, receiving new custom project inquiries and orders to fulfill.
It’s been a busy first two years and we’ve just scratched the surface. We have a long way to go. The experience gained from working with clients (and vendors) in helping them fulfill their product vision in a more Do-It-Yourself environment is rewarding; I cant wait to see what the future brings!