A successful collaboration requires the right mix of business partners, technologies, and experience. In 2003, Bellco Credit Union and Bethpage™ Federal Credit Union took advantage of the opportunities to create a successful alliance. The two credit unions formed Open Technology Solutions, LLC (OTS), a Credit Union Service Organization (CUSO), focused on providing collaborative, technology-related services to a few large credit unions on the Fiserv platform. Bellco and Bethpage were joined by State Employee’s Credit Union (SECU™) of Maryland in 2007, and S3 Shared Service Solutions, LLC in 2011. Together, they have achieved the kind of scale none could have achieved on their own – more than 889,000 members and over $14 billion in assets – ranking them together as the one of the largest credit unions in the country. Currently, OTS proudly serves these members and our partner’s 2,000 employees in our consortium.
Operationally, the primary purpose of OTS is to create value for its partners by adding scale and efficiency to the process of providing information services. By standardizing and sharing the expense of providing information technology systems and services, our partners are able to access deeper skill sets and higher levels of service. Having the same core system was just the beginning of working together; over time, other opportunities to standardize and scale have been identified and implemented in many domains of technology enablement.
The key to collaboration is trust, but what makes it work is organization. An Advisory Committee, comprised of executives from each partner credit union and CUSO, meets regularly to charter collaboration groups, initiatives and efforts to further the strategic interests of the consortium. These groups, with members from all partners, are focused on domains of combined, strategic interest including digital, information security, program management, business continuity/disaster recovery, lending, member experience, payments, operations improvement and others.
OTS was in need of a comprehensive needs analysis of the three credit unions, S3 (a consolidated back-office and call center serving the three credit unions), and Open Technology Solutions. The needs analysis encompassed a thorough evaluation of the current uses of data, the processes surrounding the use of data, and the desired uses of data to arrive at a consortium-level data strategy. OTS was seeking an experienced partner that could assist in defining a consortium-level data repository solution and the optimal approach to data modeling to support the expansive data needs of the consortium.
iOLAP completed a thorough assessment of the data requirements of the three credit unions, OTS, and S3, as well as anticipated future needs. iOLAP worked with the credit unions to gather requirements for the outputs required for a data warehouse & analytics solution. We appropriately documented results, conclusions, and recommendations. iOLAP assessed data readiness of all three credit unions and S3 and identified gaps in organizational alignment and identify opportunities for synergy. Infrastructure was assessed to support a full-functioning data warehouse and with distributed data analytics.
iOLAP defined a data strategy that addressed the needs of end users, determining the correct balance between centralized and decentralized data. The strategy included the database schema, data collection techniques, data retention, report generation, data distribution, security, etc. The strategy clearly defined the future steps necessary to achieve the goals set forth in the strategy.