Beyond the Buzz: Big Data

With all the industry blog entries, articles and conversations around “Big Data” lately, we decided to reach out to Synergent’s own experts on the timely topic to see what credit unions should really be considering when it comes to member data.  Here are their thoughts on what’s important and why  – and what you need to know.

“‘Big Data’ is a huge buzzword for 2013. It is an emerging and daunting idea, and there are few experts with real experience when it comes to the subject matter, but credit unions may be pleasantly surprised to know they are in luck when it comes to the biggest part of Big Data – collecting data,” Doug MacDonald,  Assistant Vice President for Synergent Direct Marketing Services, said.  “For many credit unions, even without a MCIF system, the member data available in core processing platforms like Episys, can drive target marketing, response and adoption rates that can be quantified with real results and ROI like never before. As we move forward, tapping into this resource will be imperative, as we look to increase product and service penetration, onboarding new members, recapture loans, and drive vehicle, mortgage and card campaigns adoption – just to name a few ways to leverage ‘Big Member Data’.

“The key to knowing your members, is to understand your credit union’s data,” Sally Witham, Data Mining Specialist for Synergent Technology Services, explained.  “Knowing where to find the data and how to extract it and put it into a meaningful format is the biggest challenge.  It’s important to get your staff trained properly in using the tools available to them to convert their data into meaningful summaries.  Digging down into the details of member data will provide you with invaluable information about your members; not only about the products and services they utilize but to also get a clear picture of the products and services they have yet to take advantage of and possibly use that knowledge to drive a marketing campaign.   The more you drill into your data, the more familiar you become with what your members are doing and what they might need.”

“I agree that credit unions should place a priority understanding and unleashing the power of member data without significant investments in MCIFs,” MacDonald said. “In fact, over the past 2 years Synergent Direct Marketing Services has helped over 50 credit unions drive nearly 300 successful and effective marketing campaigns leveraging member data without MCIFs. Recently Direct Marketing Services is sharing seven case studies that totaled over $10 million in new lending growth for our credit unions. This speaks to the power of leveraging member data to enhance relationships and service with our credit union partners. Synergent is already helping credit unions realize the benefits of Big Data by helping to unlock the existing potential. The era of Big Data may bring wonderful things to our futures, but we can get started today!”

Rebekah Higgins, Assistant Vice President for Synergent Card Services, added that when it comes to utilizing member data, the issue of security should always be in the forefront. “If a credit union were to outsource this service, it is critical to make sure that they trust the company that they use and ensure that due diligence processes are conducted to ensure that these companies are properly handling their member’s personal data if it is provided.”