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Business unit employees are mainlining data analytics at Boeing Employees' Credit Union.

"We've got 40 'power' users of our analytical processing engine," said John Richardson, IT program manager. "These business analysts are generating reports within each business unit."

BECU's business units include Marketing, Financial Strategies, Lending, Member Services, Financial Services, Audit, and Security.

In addition to "power users," about 60 employees are "generic users," accessing reports through BECU's Intranet. All in all, about 10% of BECU's employees have taken to building business intelligence through analytics.

"We're learning the value of creative analytics," Richardson added.

That's good for the $4-billion CU. Analytics allow BECU to agregate data for a more unified view of its membership, Richardson explained.

And data is baked fresh daily, thanks to BECU's three-and-a-half-year-old, online analytical processing engine (OLAP) provided by Mountain View, Calif.-based Sagent Technology, Inc.

In pre-OLAP years, Richardson said information was still delivered via "a lot of green bar reports" that were based on month-old transaction averages and generated outside of each business unit.

Part of the business intelligence journey has included rebuilding the data warehouse to store member information as a result of a major host system conversion reported by The Credit Union Journal in February.

The fortified warehouse "has provided a lot of big hits for our analysts by centralizing data for easy access," said Richardson.

One big hit is BECU's ability to track members' deposits via mail and the CU's Express Service Centers. Deposit tracking will allow the Member Services department to microcode deposit slips and thereby increase deposit accuracy, he said.

BECU has also begun monitoring delinquent loans for deposit accounts. "Business intelligence provides quick searches for available money that can be applied to a delinquent loan," Richardson said.

Members may also get fewer NSFs as a result of BECU's passion for analytics. "We can create rules that are linked to the different accounts," said Richardson.

Additionally, BECU now knows which of its 335,000 members are simultaneously doing business with its for-profit Financial Services unit.

"Previously, there wasn't an automated process for getting information on BECU members who had accounts in the CUSO," Richardson said. "If a member had $5 in a BECU account, we may have thought they weren't profitable. But that same member may have had a substantial balance in a Financial Services account. Now we have a more complete picture of those members."

The automated daily analytics have bred a healthy competition amongst Express Service Center managers, Richardson said. "With quality control reports and new product reports, managers have started monitoring their performance via the Intranet as compared with other service centers."

Building business intelligence takes an "intellectual curiosity about members," said Butch Leonardson, vice president of IT at BECU.

"Whereas customer relationship management requires an organizational root canal," he continued, "BI is just an analytical weapon."

BI is one step at a time at BECU, said Richardson. "Each business unit must know what the business requirements are and go after them in small steps. And we needed account and transaction information to fill out the picture of the member. We can only do that in increments."

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