Selling Oranges in Winter: How ECM Can Drive Social Media
With all the talk about social media these days and the ongoing revolution in both mobile and tablet devices, the primary question will be how to deliver usable content in a cost-efficient manner to leverage these new devices.
The good news for credit unions is that they are well positioned to capitalize on these emerging trends.
Many credit unions have implemented imaging systems where electronic images of documents reside and are stored in secure networked environments.
However, making these documents accessible and secure to their members will be the real challenge. Most imaging systems in place today lack the sophistication and ability to deliver content effectively or efficiently to mobile apps. In a sense they are first generation systems, which is OK, because they have laid the groundwork for moving into a true electronic content management (ECM) system that can provide these desirable capabilities.
Let me explain. First generation imaging systems allow credit unions to start scanning and capturing paper-based documents and implementing various forms of electronic signatures on items such as receipts and simple loan documents.
In effect what they have done is create a repository of imaged data that can be retrieved but not much else.
Enter electronic content management systems. ECM allows those documents to become active by becoming part of workflows designed to deliver notifications or event tracking that tells the end user that an action must take place. A good example would be in the creation of a new loan.
Let’s assume that a member is out shopping for a new car on the weekend and decides to buy his/her dream car. They negotiate the price and when they sit down with the dealer and the subject of financing comes up, the dealer will provide them with a variety of financing offers from various entities.
Wouldn’t it be more advantageous to the credit union if that member pulled out their iPad2 or mobile Android device, logged into their home banking and applied for a loan right then? Or even better – had pre-qualified prior to going into the dealership?
Regardless, they take their mobile device enter the terms of the loan and within a matter of seconds they have their documents on screen ready to sign with a digital certificate or simply by using their fingers or a stylus, sign for their loan via the ECM application?
In the background the ECM takes the loan request, generates a workflow that pulls a credit report, validates the loan information and renders a response to both the credit union and the member that their loan has been approved, completed, all the necessary documents have been assembled, a folder has been created for the member where the documents have been stored and the loan officer responsible for that member has been notified via email and a link to the documents that a “sale” had been made over the weekend.
Although this is a very simplified and I am sure, somewhat imprecise scenario of the process. The point is with an ECM system there is a lot of automation that is possible on the back end using these mobile devices that can streamline this whole operational process.
Now the fun part kicks in. What if that same ECM system was able tweet or post to a social media network that there is a loan sale going on right now and that a certain number of members have already taken advantage of it? What if there was a push for new members and a promotion was offered to members for referrals?
You get the idea. ECM systems can drive social media apps because they offer highly integrated workflow and program capabilities that can send out notifications, start processes and programs in the background and then generate messages that can be put out into cyberspace via designated channels.
Does this really exist today? Yes, kind of sort of. Applications are currently being developed that leverage the power of the mobile devices. However, if the credit union has a true ECM, then the only thing limiting deployment is the imagination and scripting skills of the IT department or their ECM vendor.
As a testament to the power of social media and ECM driving behaviors, let me give you one personal example involving a young swimmer, a fundraiser, and a requirement to sell oranges in the midst of winter.
Last winter I picked my daughter up from her swim class only to find out we needed to sell $500 worth of oranges to raise funds for the swim team. I also found out that I had a mere three days to do so.
Enter the power of social media. I logged into my Facebook account from my iPhone 4, and sent out a plea for help to sell the now infamous oranges.
I then sent out a blast via Twitter announcing my orange dilemma there as well.
Finally, I logged into my company’s email server and sent out a companywide blast begging for help and forgiveness for using the company work email for personal sales. (Better to ask forgiveness after the fact when your kid is concerned!)
I then texted my wife instructing her to follow the same pattern which she did. (BTW, we both had our hands slapped for doing so, but in the end it was worth it).
What happened next really illustrated to me the power of using social media channels to promote one’s cause or product if executed correctly and with the proper tools and expectations.
In a matter of three short hours, we had orders for the required amount of oranges sold and had set up a distribution plan for deliveries and payments to our victims.
A mere three days after the blasts, we delivered the oranges and raised the required amount of funding and then some as orders keep coming in from those who only check their accounts periodically.
So you decide, can ECM drive social media and help the credit unions extend their services and reach members in a positive, productive and cost efficient manner?
If you see what it can do for a little girl selling oranges in the middle of winter using social media channels, imagine the potential it has for your credit union.
How has your credit union used ECM to drive your social media efforts?
Scott Cowan is vice president of sales and marketing at Millennial Vision Inc. in Salt Lake City, Utah.