Why One Relatively Small CU Has Invested In Business Intelligence

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Credit unions want fresh, tailored data to better serve their members. That's why $26-million First Rochester CU last month hitched onto a business intelligence (BI) platform.

"Our new business intelligence system puts a lot more information at our fingertips," said Steve Daggs, comptroller at First Rochester. "We need that information available to us so that we can make solid decisions."

The 4,400-member CU's move to a modern analytic engine isn't an anomaly-The Credit Union Journal reported last month that data analytics are trickling down to the business unit level at credit union giant Boeing Employees' CU.

First Rochester is particularly interested in using BI data to compare branch performance, Daggs said.

"The branch accounting capabilities was a big sell," he continued. "We'll be able to analyze how each branch is operating and what income and expenses each is running."

As two-branch First Rochester plans to add a third branch in January, now's the time for analytics.

Branch-level views of loan and deposit volume will enhance First Rochester's organization-wide perspective, which "limited the information on which we had to base decisions," said Daggs.

Daggs explained that, for example, management could examine the success of marketing campaigns by branch, each of which has its own member profile.

First Rochester's business intelligence is provided by Redwood Shores, Calif.-based Oracle Corp.'s E-Business Suite and delivered via service bureau by COCC, an Avon, Conn.-based enterprise processing provider.

The service bureau offering has put BI within First Rochester's reach. Though Daggs didn't name a dollar amount, he said that analytics initiatives are "much more expensive in-house in terms of housing the equipment and hiring people with IT skills."

Daggs and a First Rochester accounting department employee are responsible for dispensing data to the CU's various departments and branches. "There's a small learning curve, as with any new system, but it's all Windows-based with a drop-down menu format," said Daggs.

Data mining hasn't always been so easy for First Rochester. "Anytime we wanted to break out data for each branch, we went through a manual process that took a lot more time and created a lot more pressure than was useful to the end- user," Daggs said.

Business intelligence comes as one part of First Rochester's move to the Oracle suite, which includes General Ledger software.

One of the benefits of the Oracle architecture is that new clients can transition from legacy systems to Oracle applications in a familiar, Microsoft Excel-based environment, made possible by Oracle's Application Desktop Integrator (ADI), according to Linda Stahl, assistant vice president of Financial Services at COCC.

"ADI eliminates the learning curve," Stahl said.

And with no IT department, First Rochester counts on Oracle and COCC, said Stahl. "All servers are housed at our headquarters. We are First Rochester's IT department."

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