Building a Data-Centric Organization


The task of transforming the culture of your credit union into that of a data-centric organization can often leave one’s head spinning. “How do I start? How do I measure success? How am I going to afford that?”

Generally speaking, I believe these barriers can be summarized by “overcomplication.” It is this mentality that prevents most projects from leaving the ground.

Find your data guru

The first step is as simple as establishing ownership and empowerment. After all, every marathon begins with a single step forward. Start your transformation by assigning someone to be your data guru.

If you are like many of the credit unions I have worked with, you likely already have an ambitious employee looking to get more involved. Consider encouraging and empowering this employee to dive into your data to understand vendor relationships, maximize your investment in your core, and start to understand the larger picture of your data sources.

Next, generate internal efficiency by routing data collection, report building, and internal research requests through your data guru. This step is critical in the development of your data-centric organization.

Depending on the size of your credit union, your core provider, and internal retention periods, you likely have hundreds of Gigabits of data. The only way your guru can begin to grasp all your data is to dive in!

Creating a data report

Each report and each request is an educational goldmine. Slowly piecing together where data is stored, how it’s formatted, and how to extract it. This is where growth occurs!

The lessons learned and shortcomings identified throughout this process will begin to outline your future data governance strategies.

  • What is or is not working well today?
  • Why is it important that loans are booked consistently using the correct reason and purpose codes?
  • What values can be attained through improving data quality?
  • Why should phone support staff take the time to accurately complete wrap-up codes and trackers?

This exercise will also shed light on your credit union’s data availability, retention periods, and overall reliability.

Find value in your data

Simply recognizing the value that can be attained through improved data governance and company-wide participation will lead you into step two: deciding for yourself whether the juice is worth the squeeze.


  • 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.

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