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Data... it is definitely a journey, not a destination

When organizations start their data journey, usually, it is never considered a journey. It begins with a need for knowledge. Questions that start with "How do we.." "I wish I knew…", "If only we could know…" usually kick off the need for insight and drive the desire for business intelligence and organizational learning.

Instead of defining a data vision, many organizations often start by searching for a data management solution or tool. While the solution/tool is significantly vital in achieving data success, it is not the first stop nor the second.

There is a defined Data Success Continuum, and it is very much a journey and not a destination.

Here are the major five steps:

Step 1: Enterprise Data Vision

The enterprise data vision is your data "why." What is the reason your organization is harnessing its data in the first place? When you look forward to 3 years, what business problems do you want to have solved using connected data?

Step 2: Member-Centric Use Case

This is also known as the specific member problem that you use the connected data to solve. Think of this as the small, demitasse cup-sized drink from the vast, immense beverage source. Many organizations hold false beliefs that they have to have all the data mapped and organized before starting with the use cases. Au contraire - identify the members' frictions doing business with your credit union, then find the data to help lessen these frictions.

Step 3: Data Maturity/Foundational Data Governance

With the use case identified, data governance can begin to take shape. This step helps the organization to think about its data maturity and begin to sculpt that roadmap.

Step 4: Data Consumption by Enterprise Talent

This is by far the most forgotten step in the data journey. When an organization has its data vision, use case, and maturity, they need to make sure their talent, people are ready to consume data. Many think this will come naturally, nope, to gain success; an organization needs to have a framework to bake this in for success.

Step 5: Workplace adoption

This is ideally the destination of all data journeys. It sounds lovely to have data flowing through our organizations in real-time, generating insights that instantaneously turn into action. This, too, is not organic and needs to have a framework as well. Be mindful that as an organization is strengthening its data-centric capabilities, it will need to take time to become an organizational asset.

As you review this journey, where are you? Here are a few tools to help you get started.


Curious about the current state of data at your credit union?

Take this quick

Found at the bottom of the page.


Where can I fill my data knowledge gaps?

With a stop at the

Data Education Center.

We believe that data transformation doesn't have to feel overwhelming or expensive to be impactful. After helping over 600 credit union leaders launch their data journeys, we have identified several consistent knowledge gaps. We have worked hard to fill these gaps with a variety of educational artifacts:


Looking for more insights on data and how you can leverage it to transform your members' lives?

Check out Big Data/Big Climb. Written for credit unions by a credit union expert, this book has been hailed as a "must-have". The book cuts through techno-jargon and translates data transformation concepts into a playbook filled with real-world examples, assessment guides, and other tools needed to reduce member friction, analyze actual competition, and identify disruption to improve the lives of its members and gain competitive advantage.

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