VERNON HILLS, Ill.-The emergence of "big data" and the ability for CUs to mine aggregate data beyond their own four walls is one of the major technology trends that will begin to materialize in the next six months and beyond.

"A lot of organizations do a good job of mining the data they have in their own four walls, but with all the data that's posted throughout the datasphere, you can have a good idea of what your members could have a propensity to buy," said Jeff Johnson, SVP of information technology at Baxter CU here and vice chair of the CUNA Technology Council.

Some institutions, such as Citi, are able to devote 250 people to combing through data with a focus on how to increase credit card penetration, observed Baxter. While individual CUs can't do that, there's no reason the whole movement can't work together on such a project. One of the major challenges for CUs in the short term, he said, is for credit unions to "band together and develop our own solution to big data."

Collaboration will be key to that, said Baxter, who urged CUs, vendors, CUSOs and more to participate in the Credit Union Financial Exchange (CUFX), which seeks to set industry-wide standards for integration of hardware and software. Baxter-along with other members of the CUNA Technology Council-serves on the CUFX governance committee. About 20 CUs are currently part of the group, which is in the process of creating data standards for the industry, said Baxter.

"It's imperative that we develop a set of standards so that we can be more reactive" as an industry and be better prepared to meet member needs, he said. Baxter encouraged credit union professionals to get involved to help set those standards.


Consumerization of IT

Beyond big data, Johnson pointed to the consumerization of IT as a trend that could effect CUs in the near future. He pointed out that since the development of the web, innovation generally came out of firms and leveraging internal IT. "I think that's going to flip around and consumer technology is going to drive what happens inside enterprise IT. Lifecycles will be a lot shorter and attention spans will be a lot shorter. It's going to require IT departments to be a lot more reactive and a lot more flexible."

What that means for the bottom line, he said, is that "you have to have a really flexible infrastructure so you can quickly react to trend changes. You've got to invest in that flexible infrastructure, which could potentially be expensive."

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