When Will You Need Data-Driven Strategies?


Do you need data insights today? What about tomorrow? Will your credit union cease to operate tomorrow without data insights? Next week? What about next month? It can be easy to talk yourself out of change when you are meeting the status quo today, your board is satisfied today, and your examiner is happy (enough) today. It’s easy to justify that since it’s not broken, why fix it?

Consider the 1990s for a moment and the increasing popularity of debit cards. Did you immediately know you needed to offer this new technology or did you doubt the future relevance of debit cards? Could you operate successfully in today’s financial arena without them? Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying data-driven strategies will be the next debit card, but there are many similarities in regards to the adoption of new strategies and technologies. They often immerge as the minority, as something that is nice to have, then one day you can’t compete without it.

So if you can finish this week, month, and a quarter without data-driven strategies, when will you need analytical insights and data-driven strategies?

I recently completed a personal training program called “Couch to 10K.” This was a training program designed for people who did not run distances, meant to help get someone off the couch and— you guessed it—run a 10K. For years I had been telling myself I’d run tomorrow or I’d start after the holidays and countless other excuses. It was easy to put off because on no single day did I need to work out.

Was I going to not wake up tomorrow if I didn’t work out today? Probably not. Was I going to fail as a husband or father if I didn’t go for a run today? Nope.

It took a conscious decision. I made the decision to be healthier, to be lighter, faster, and more agile. Once I made that decision and committed to it, once I got over the hump and saw signs of progress, my stance began to shift. I knew that in order to continue to be healthier, faster, and more agile, I needed to run today.

Data-driven strategies will prove to be your own couch to 10K program. Whether your commitment is to increase membership, loan growth, or profitability, data-driven strategies can reveal weaknesses, identify opportunities, and lead to more informed decision-making. One or two small wins are all it takes for a change in mentality; make the commitment to be the best version of yourself, running healthier, smarter, and more efficient credit unions. When will you need data-driven strategies? It’s best to train before the race starts.


  • Thomas Hull

    After joining the CU*Answers family in 2011 as a staff accountant, Thomas’ passion for data and analytics became immediately apparent, and he quickly grew to become the corporate resource for data trending and forecasting, financial analysis, and data visualization. In 2017, Thomas joined the Asterisk Intelligence team as a business intelligence analyst, playing a vital role in new service development.

  • Deb Slavens#1

    March 14, 2022

    Excellent analogy, Thomas. The key is to START somewhere. Set small, achievable goals. Celebrate the wins that justify the next steps towards larger goals. The unknown always feels so overwhelming, but the vision becomes clearer with each step.


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