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Is it reasonable to expect our solutions provider to also provide channel profitability analysis, especially in online services? And if so, what can we expect?

John Schooler, Senior VP-Chief Technology Officer, USERS, Inc.

Increasingly, credit unions are expecting application providers to take a larger role in helping them with analysis to support their technology decisions, particularly with return on investment (ROI) information.

While core providers may not have the direct data to perform an analysis for a particular credit union, we can and do share the experiences of others who have implemented the technology already. These experiences can help guide the credit union through its own decision-making, especially at a time when the number of channel delivery choices is increasing and the technology decision growing more complex.

It's clearly in the supplier's best interest to facilitate this kind of information sharing, in the hopes of helping the credit union arrive at a positive evaluation of its own products.

In turn, the credit union must exercise due diligence to ensure that the evaluation is fair and fully considers its unique deployment needs and requirements.

Beth Halloran, Online Resources Corp.

If your online solutions provider isn't providing you channel profitability analysis now, it may be time to look for another provider. Not only is it reasonable to expect such analysis, it is crucial to the success of your Internet channel and your relationship with your provider.

In today's world of tight budgets and economic uncertainty, what other way can you justify your investment? Online Resources has made a corporate-wide commitment to helping each of our clients maximize the value of their Internet channel. We have provided them customized ROI models and every month we provide reports detailing exactly how they are doing in the specific areas that impact their channel rofitability.

In fact, we also report how our clients are doing in comparison to their peers. Of course, no solutions provider's profitability analysis is complete if they don't also have the appropriate marketing and customer care services that are critical to helping you move that needle skyward.

Stephanie Shah, VP-Marketing & Product Management, Harland Financial Solutions

A true technology partner should have the ability to provide multi-channel profitability analysis. With business intelligence tools, MCIF systems, and CRM solutions available today, credit unions should be fully equipped to perform analysis of almost any type, including channel profitability.

One tool from a suite of business intelligence tools Harland Financial Solutions offers, enables the analysis of transaction trends and patterns by addressing key business questions as to which channel, what time, and from what location members are performing transactional services inside and outside the credit union. This analysis can help credit unions understand member behavior to determine the most likely channels used by particular sectors of members.

Predictive modeling applications and tools, also from Harland Financial Solutions, assist credit unions in driving profitability and member retention through a statistically derived model that leverages financial, behavioral, and demographic data with tools that model "member value," attrition probabilities and purchasing probabilities for individual credit unions.

With these analyses, credit unions are able to provide one-to-one marketing campaigns, through their channel of choice, to target member retention of their most profitable members, and to cross sell other members to increase their profitability.

Dick McConnell, AFTECH, Malverne, Penn.

Yes, a core processing provider can-or should be able to-provide transaction traffic data by channel. With that information, a credit union can determine the cost per transaction in each channel, and consequently do a profitability analysis of those channels. It is more difficult to perform analysis on the revenue side. However, a core processor should have the ability to track certain revenue generating activities such as loan applications, successful cross-sale opportunities, etc., using transaction traffic data generated by the system

John Edwards, Senior Vice President of Business Development, XP Systems

Your solution provider's system can provide channel profitability analysis only if it is designed to capture ALL member contact information, be it financial or otherwise, from channels such as the Internet, ATM, audio response, and walk-in traffic ven an open, relational database does not capture this information if the system is not designed to do it, which means across-the-board profitability analysis is a problem for legacy

What an open relational database does do is make it much easier to store relevant channel data, then mine that information for reporting, measurement and analysis, using standard off-the-shelf tools. XP Systems' new Member Service Platform is designed to log every contact with individuals, not just financial transactions, and non-member contact included. The IBM DB2 database permits the data-mining necessary to determine channel profitability from the core system, without the need for expensive business intelligence software.

To take advantage of The CU Journal Panel of Technology Experts, write P.O. Box 4387, W. Palm Beach, FL 33402, or e-mail fdiekmann cujournal.com.

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