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MADISON, Wis. – Technology whizzes looking for a new niche might want to consider a key finding in the “Credit Union E-Metrics Study – 2003.” The report, the culmination of a six-month study by the University of Wisconsin E-Business Consortium, found a shortage of available software tools credit unions can use to measure the effectiveness of their online business strategies. The report was released in late February based on a survey conducted by the university, the CUNA Mutual Group, CUNA & Affiliates and the CUNA Technology Council, with help from the Information Technologies Credit Union Association. The nationwide survey, along with follow-up focus group sessions, gathered results from 88 credit unions of various sizes and locations on such topics as page hits, visit frequency, page views, Web site security and active pages and then aimed to analyze those results in terms of member service and effectiveness. Here’s one observation: “Credit unions are constantly attempting to increase customer value while obtaining a reasonable ROI through their Web-based services. However, Web metrics that reveal business value have a very low deployment rate and few plans exist to increase their use. “Our focus group for this study noted the lack of available/affordable tools to capture necessary e-metrics data for this purpose.” Build it and they might come, the study continues: “Successful Web-based service implementation stories demonstrate how the balanced use of internal metrics and customer-focused measurements provide a sustainable advantage in the e-business journey,” it said, adding that technological constraints noted from core processor and other application service providers would have to be overcome. About one in four credit unions, primarily larger ones, now use formal tools for such purposes, the study found, although all the respondents were using the most basic of online solutions: deposit account functionality. Automatic transfers, bill payment and loan products followed, with adoption rates of 77% to 94%. Lower adoption rates were found for such consumer services as electronic statements, bill presentment and alert messages, but the trend was moving toward offering more of those, beginning with larger credit unions, the study found. “The good news in this study is that credit unions continue to make progress in the ever-changing and challenging e-commerce arena, due in large part to the way they are leveraging technology advancements,” said Jeff Milbrath, vice president of Web channel development at CUNA Mutual. “However, it appears that most credit unions still have a ways to go before they fully understand whether investments in their Web sites are paying off,” he said. The report is available online at the following sponsor Web sites: www.cuna.org, www.cunamutal.com and www.uwebc.org. “Credit unions that are considering implementing new online services will find this report helpful in developing their implementation strategy, and those that have already implemented these services will find the results useful in validating their current strategy,” Milbrath said. -

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