11 Mar As recession deepens, IT transformation best tackled in chunks
In 2005, CUNA Mutual Group began a massive effort to transform business processes to boost profitability. The Madison, Wis.-based organization provides insurance and other financial services to credit unions and their members. The move was not wildly popular with many of the organization’s 4,700 employees. CUNA, after all, was a giant in the credit union insurance industry, with 95% market share.
“I had a lot of people say, ‘Why — and why don’t you go back to California?'” said CEO Jeff Post, who with CUNA Mutual CIO Rick Roy spoke about the IT transformation project at the recent Fusion 2009 CEO-CIO Symposium in Madison, Wis.
In fact, change was a four-letter word at the 75-year-old provider, known locally as the country club of Madison, said Post, former CEO of the Novato, Calif.-based Fireman’s Fund and a Wisconsin native brought in to lead the transformation. But change was needed. CUNA Mutual’s approximately $3 billion in annual revenue was spread across 52 product lines. Return on equity was about half what it needed to be, and CUNA Mutual’s vaunted market share was slipping at the largest credits unions. The provider needed to reduce the cost of how it did business, Post said, a transformation that “at the end of the day [was] about technology.” He pulled Roy out of IT to oversee operations and services for the duration of the project.
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