SCRANTON, Penn.-Credit unions are gathering in small groups across the country to talk about technology game plans, part of a series of free Road Shows sponsored by Wescom Resources Group (WRG).
The Road Show isn't just another user conference, according to Travis Frey, VP-IT and support for the $152-million Tobyhanna FCU here. "The Road Show is way more personal." Frey went to a Road Show last summer in Reading, Penn., and said he's hoping WRG comes his way again.
At a typical WRG Technology Road Show, five to 15 CU technology leaders meet around a conference table to share war stories and catch presentations about WRG products and strategies, said Dave Cerwinski, director, sales and marketing with WRG, which is a technology CUSO owned by Wescom CU.
"User conferences offer a similar type of environment, but on a larger scale where one can get lost from the discussion," explained Brad Hutchinson, senior software developer for $750-million LGE Community CU in Marietta, Ga.
"The smaller dynamic ensures everyone contributes and participates in the conversations," added Hutchinson, who went to last summer's Show in Atlanta. "Plus it was free, so some people who may not be able to attend conferences due to cost are given a chance to participate."
Since WRG hit the road more than one year ago, the CUSO has hosted 16 Road Shows, from Southern California, where WRG is headquartered, to Seattle, Oregon, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Washington D.C., Atlanta and Florida.
WRG Road Shows set the perfect stage for productive collaboration, suggested Thomas Ha, VP-IT, at $165-million AmeriChoice FCU in Mechanicsburg, Penn. "The small-group environment was great for staying focused on the issue at hand yet getting feedback from peers." Ha attended a Road Show in Reading, Penn., last summer.
In 2009, instead of forcing clients around the country to come to a big user conference in California, WRG decided to go to clients. "With travel budgets, now is not the time to launch another user conference and try to get in someone's calendar," said Cerwinski.
And if more than 15 clients want to meet in any one location, WRG extends the Road Show another day to accommodate them and preserve the small-group atmosphere.
"You just don't get the same level of interaction with more than 15 people," said Cerwinski. "You get a lot more people opening up and talking when you have a smaller group."
Road Show credit unions build rapport with other local CUs, he continued. "We like to encourage that kind of activity in the credit union movement. Wescom gets to learn about other credit unions' strategic direction. And some credit unions have altered their strategy based on the ideas we've presented."
Road Shows address any area of operations where technology has an impact, including member engagement, delivery channels and marketing, Cerwinski said.
"The Road Show dynamic put credit unions from a specific demographic area, that are all using the same core system, together in one room," said Hutchinson. "We were able to discuss our existing technologies, technologies that each credit union had developed internally, and also brainstorm about the use of some of the technologies WRG offers."