Posts tagged operations

Of Cadillacs and Chevrolets …

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Over the years I’ve heard something like this said many times: “Well, they want a Cadillac but they really only need a Chevrolet!” This colloquialism obviously goes back to the days when GM was really a dominating auto manufacturer … but I don’t think it really has as much to do with cars as it does with human nature.

The Difference between ‘Musts’ and ‘Wants’

Most everyone I know likes nice things. We like to see them, have them, use them. Anybody who doesn’t like nice things we sometimes label as ‘out there’ or ‘different’.

Even so, there are a lot of nice things that … well … just are not really necessary. Or even useful. C’mon, think about it. You bought that fancy stereo system last year. Before doing so you really dug into the research to make sure that the one you bought was the absolute best there is, right? (more…)

Merry Christmas Everyone! Count your blessings this past year …

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Wow. What a year. I suppose we should have known that 2009 was going to be very ‘unique’ () as we headed into it because of the downfall of the stock market and near financial collapse of the fourth quarter of 2008. That said, I don’t think we really thought that it would affect the credit union industry all that much. After all, the collapse was about ‘big banks’ and ‘Wall Street’ right? – those faceless, nameless giant blocks underpinning the country’s financial system. (more…)

Bingo. Bango. Bongo.

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Bingo bango bongo. I don’t really know where this phrase came from, just something from a distant memory somewhere along the line. What does it mean? Well, kind of like ‘lickity-split’ or ‘righto, boss-man’, I equate ‘Bingo Bango Bongo’ with right here, right now, real easy.

This really ought to be the universal tagline for technology. After all, why else would you ever invest in the development – or endure the pain of implementing – some kind of new technological wizardry? The world is full of countless stories where technology flops or is at best unfulfilling. But why then do we pursue technology like the Holy Grail? (more…)

To print, or not to print: That is the question!

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When I began my professional career - now many moons ago - we were just on the verge of applying technology across a broad base of business functions.  Word processing systems had just come of age - and there was this new piece of software called Lotus 1-2-3 that gave you all sorts of tools to manipulate and analyze numbers and statistics.  It even allowed you to easily generate charts. The future would be PAPERLESS!  Holy cow!!  We had arrived!!!

Nowadays you can’t find a typewriter and most employees don’t even recognize White Out as anything other than some kind of blizzard condition while you are driving.  People absolutely HATE filling out forms.  Today, we truly have so much computing horsepower at our fingertips that we can’t possibly use but a percentage of what is actually there. (more…)

Use Tech to ‘Grease’ Ops in Tough Times

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In the course of a normal workweek I end up communicating with several folks at credit unions – most of which are in a managerial or leadership position in the organization.  Recently, I’ve been checking in with many of them who put a project on the back-burner last fall or early this year because of the uncertainty of our economy.  In many ways this was a very appropriate reaction:  there’s uncertainty, we need to batten down the hatches and ride this thing out.

I must admit though – that the current perspective of a good portion of these folks is somewhat surprising.  In general, the response is something like “Mike, it’s been a tough year.  We’ve closed a couple of branches, loan volume is down, collections are up and I’ve had to reduce staff to trim our expenses.  We just are not going to be able to look at any of these projects until business picks back up.”

Are we missing the boat? (more…)

The Interface Question: ‘We do’ versus ‘we can’

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A couple of weeks ago we fielded a request through our website from a credit union in the northeast who is looking to add online member enrollment and account opening to their web offering.  The question for us … do you do this and can you help?  I spoke with my inquiring friend for several minutes and answered her questions … all to her liking.  We ended the conversation with a pledge to set up a web meeting the following week to explore whether our solution would be a good fit for them.

A couple of minutes later my new friend called back and sheepishly asked whether we had an existing interface to their host processing platform.  “We don’t today” I replied.  Her bosses immediately said “No way, we’ll only look at providers who have an existing interface!”  End of story.

Except, that is, it gave me an idea to write this.

The existence of a specific interface – host or otherwise - is a oft- and ill-used form of profiling.  Whether or not a technology firm has an existing interface to your host processor is certainly a factor – but there are probably several other things to ask about that indicate whether or not it is a show stopper.  Here are a couple of ideas to consider:

  • Does the target system (in our example the host processor) provide reasonable access for third party providers to develop an interface?  In most cases host processing firms are not willing to entertain a third party provider until there is a current (or better yet a potential) client who wants it to happen.
  • Does this firm support robust interfaces to host processors? Beware – there are many clients disappointed in the feature set of already existing interfaces!
  • Does this firm understand its role and capabilities regarding interfaces?  Other interfaces that do exist for this product and the firm’s approach to the activity of interfacing to other systems.

Those of us who are on the vendor side of this equation often talk about this qualifying question in a semi-lighthearted manner.  It doesn’t really matter, we say … but then again it does really seem to matter.

So, to my friend who we could not help – sorry about that and best wishes in your search!

To those of you who are using ‘The Interface Question’ as a go/no-go factor - I encourage you to rethink.  You might be surprised!  And thanks for the idea – I may even write an article about it.

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