Technology Unwrapped

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Scalable Solutions for Credit Union Growth: A Guide for IT Support Partnerships

shutterstock_750073606Managing a credit union in the Omaha and Lincoln areas is no small feat. It’s a complicated organization that provides critical resources to individuals and businesses. That’s to say nothing of regulatory oversight and the unique challenges that come with the financial services industry.

These challenges extend to IT, and it’s particularly tough to ensure that your IT resources keep up with organization growth.

The only way to manage it all is to invest some time and energy into understanding and mapping IT scalability. Of course, that gets easier when you take advantage of IT managed services in Omaha and Lincoln. In fact, let’s explore exactly how a service provider can improve your scalability in various IT areas.

Areas to Scale

A credit union has some unique operational components. Meanwhile, other IT concerns find a lot in common with many other organizations. Both are accounted for today. Scalability concerns every facet of IT, but to help you conceptualize it, we can break it into five categories: cloud, internet, labor, assets, and support.

The Cloud

To say that cloud services in Omaha and Lincoln are essential for credit unions is to risk a severe understatement. The cloud touches all of the essential components of credit union services. When members use an app for transactions, they access the cloud. When you back up essential data, you use the cloud. When you want to ensure
proper security for all of your products and services, you invoke the cloud.

Clearly, cloud services inundate every aspect of operations. If you want your organization to grow, you need scalable cloud services.

Thankfully, cloud services are the easiest to scale. Simply find a provider with a flexible contract that allows you to increase or decrease service tiers easily and exactly when needed. If the contract is scalable, then you’ve solved a common issue already, and that’s a strong start.

Internet, Speed & Bandwidth

If cloud services are essential to operations, then clearly, you need reliable internet access, speed and bandwidth across your locations as well. That stems from your internet service provider (ISP), and as long as you have a reliable ISP, you’re in good shape.

As your credit union scales up, you will consume more internet services.

There are multiple ways that this happens. For starters, you will likely employ more individuals with additional workstations. That alone increases bandwidth.

Often more importantly, your organization will process larger volumes of data as it grows. That leads to significant bandwidth consumption.

The solution to scaling your ISP contract looks very similar to cloud services. If you have flexibility in the contract, you can upgrade when needed. Most ISPs already provide this, but there are two tricks.

First, long contract commitments do not give you the opportunity to make changes at the speed your credit union needs. After all, growth is rarely linear. If you can move up and down tiers of service while your organization experiences normal fluctuations during periods of growth, you can save a lot of money.

Second, you will want to consider redundancy, utilizing a second provider to pick up the slack if your main provider is down or experiencing problems. Redundancy provides you with peace of mind and limited downtime, if any. 

IT Labor

Next up, you need enough personnel on the IT team to keep up. Every time you add a new member to the general staff, they will require some level of IT support. Naturally, this means that organization growth comes with more IT labor needs.

At this point, contract flexibility is only part of the equation. It certainly helps when your IT provider can scale labor access with a model that mirrors cloud services, but you also want an organization with enough manpower on hand right now to meet your near-future needs.

This is the primary reason third-party IT support outscales in-house support. If you staff all of your IT personnel, you constantly have to hire and train. If you partner with a robust managed service provider in Lincoln or Omaha, they already have enough staff for today and tomorrow. And if they need more people further into the future, they can get ahead of those demands, train, and continuously scale your labor access.

Support, Maintenance & Updates

These aspects of IT go hand-in-hand with labor, but they are not exactly identical. For instance, how do you schedule deployment for new IT assets? How do you roll out updates?

Your growing credit union needs to be able to do these things for larger and larger locations or groups of people. Naturally, your service provider needs scaling manpower to keep up, but they also need scaling strategies and support models.

You need a provider that allows you to increase or add services and/or tiers as needed. You also need an IT partner that builds your growth into their strategic process.

Onsite Assets

Lastly, you have to make IT purchases. While you can bring data resources and backup to the cloud and other service providers, you can’t offload everything. You will need workstations, printers and other hardware for your staff, and, if you have onsite server needs, those will grow over time. Also, software needs will scale up too.

Clearly, you can’t treat onsite asset acquisition the same way you scale cloud services. 

Instead, you have to build asset management into your strategic planning. Make a growth roadmap that clearly states your goals (and important time intervals). Then, your IT partner can build an asset management plan that matches your expectations. They can also include wiggle room so you can readily adjust to needs as they unfold.

How Your IT Partner Can Help

Understanding the key areas of growth that need to scale with your organization, we can move on to the obvious question. How, exactly, does
your IT partner deal with scalability?

You can look through a handful of services designed to address these exact concerns.

Vendor and Asset Management

Three of the ideas you’ve already read include cloud growth, internet access, and onsite assets. You can manage all three with a single service: vendor and asset management.

With this service, your IT provider vets vendors, negotiates contracts, provides direct vendor support, plans your asset acquisition, maintains assets, and essentially takes care of everything.

It’s one of the most cost-effective ways to ensure both scalability and reliability in these areas, which cover a significant portion of the total scope of your technology investments.

Monthly Agreement Contracts

We’ve talked a lot about flexible contracts today because they offer the best scalability. You can condense most of that into a single monthly agreement contract with your IT provider. Especially if you also utilize that provider for vendor and asset management, you’re consolidating everything into a single, scalable contract.

With an IT support provider contract, you’re making scalability easy, freeing up a lot of time and energy to focus on the rest of the organization.

Strategic Planning

Lastly, strategic planning takes care of scalability before it becomes an issue. You’ve already seen how this ties into asset management and labor scaling, but it’s not limited to these areas. Strategic IT planning considers security, data integrity, network reliability, and everything else related to your IT and organization goals.

It’s a comprehensive outlook, and with a robust and flexible plan, your organization is ready to adjust IT resources in and around Omaha and Lincoln as needed throughout your growth cycles.