John Petrey joined University Federal Credit Union ($1.9B, Austin, TX) in October of 2013 as its vice president and chief information officer. Aside from the institution’s size and location of its headquarters, one of the things that drew Petrey to the position was the internal satisfaction the credit union had with the IT department — it was not as high as Petrey thought it should be.
John Petrey, Vice President & Chief Information Officer, University Federal Credit Union
As the department that keeps systems working and supports the efforts of the others, finding a way to increase satisfaction with IT can minimize internal headaches and boost efficiencies. Fast-forward two years, and it’s clear the department has made strides in service satisfaction.
“I am proud of the significant change in the satisfaction of our business departments with IT compared to two years ago,” Petrey says.
How was University able to do it?
Determine A Baseline
CU QUICK FACTS
University Federal Credit Union
Data as of 06.30.15
HQ: Austin, TX
12-MO SHARE GROWTH: 7.92%
12-MO LOAN GROWTH: 9.54%
To determine satisfaction, University tracks anecdotal comments from different departments. In 2014, Petrey’s first full year with the credit union, IT received 103 documented pieces of positive feedback. These “kudos” as Petrey calls them usually come through email or written note.
“They are specific thank you’s that departments send to people in IT for the work we’ve done,” Petrey says. “On top of that, we also receive verbal comments from executives, senior managers, and others that tell us how much better things are than they used to be.”
Petrey’s not sure how much positive feedback IT received before he joined the credit union, and although he hasn’t tallied it up, he believes IT is on pace to pass 103 positive comments in 2015.
Petrey started working on improving IT satisfaction almost immediately upon joining the credit union.
One of the first things he did was interview, one-on-one, executive team members, senior- and lower-level managers, branch managers, and branch staff. He synthesized those conversations into what he calls a “current state assessment.” Petrey identified 130 tactical objectives for IT to improve upon in the coming years. He then went back to each person he interviewed, gave them a high-level synopsis of his plan, and asked them to confirm the objectives before moving forward.
In Petrey’s mind, IT is responsible for three things:
Daily service delivery. “That’s keeping the IT lights on and keeping the trains running on time,” he says.
Solutions delivery. “Think of it as project development,” he says.
These responsibilities fall into a hierarchy. For example, daily service delivery is more fundamental to the credit union’s operations than solutions delivery, which is itself more fundamental than strategic planning, according to Petrey.
“Why would [the executive team] let you work on projects if you can’t keep the lights on?” Petrey asks. “Similarly, you don’t get to do strategic planning if you can’t deliver projects.”
When he interviewed employees throughout the organization, he grouped tactical objectives into these three buckets. This allowed him to visualize which ones influenced the day-to-day operations of IT and which ones were high-level processes. From there, he was able to better schedule which objectives to tackle over a multi-year period.
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University’s objectives included establishing agreements around service level, reporting on daily service delivery, launching project management reporting, and initiating monthly meetings between IT and other departments.
“We had to make sure we were effective, efficient, consistent, and transparent in our IT processing and relevant and clear in our communications with other departments,” Petrey says. “If it’s not in layman’s terms or relevant to them, they tune out.”
IT has scheduled the number of tactical objectives it plans to complete on a quarterly basis — more than 200 in total — and now provides reports to showcase its successes in a given month. It also uses the COBIT (Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology) framework created by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association to monitor the maturity of 34 processes on a scale of 0-5, with zero meaning no such process exists at the credit union and five meaning the process is optimized. COBIT objectives fall into four larger buckets: Plan and Organize, Acquire and Implement, Deliver and Support, and Monitor and Evaluate. Examples of objectives include “define a strategic plan,” “identify automated solutions,” “define and manage service levels,” and “monitor and evaluate IT performance.”
“We report our maturity levels and the tactical objectives we are going to execute to raise our maturity levels,” Petrey says. “We tell them how we actually did against our plan and how higher maturity levels will help us reach our goal.”
Results, Impact, And The Future
When IT identified the 130 tactical objectives it wanted to improve, it needed to plan which objectives it would hit first to ensure its workload remained manageable. At that time, in February 2014, it planned to complete 105 of those 130 objectives by the end of second quarter 2015. Of those 105, University completed 96 on schedule — that’s a 91% on-time completion rate.
We are so much better than we used to be.
But the work didn’t stop at midyear. In February of 2015, IT added 75 additional tactical objectives to complete over the next two years.
And Petrey and his department continue to solicit comments from other departments on what is working and what to improve. For example, upon the completion of projects, IT sends specific satisfaction surveys to those departments it recently completed a project with. It received 208 responses in August 208 and achieved a customer satisfaction of 4.87 out of five. Sending an all-encompassing IT survey is not something Petrey is ready to rule out, either.
For now, Petrey is proud of the improvements made in IT satisfaction as well as excited for the objectives his department has scheduled for the years ahead. These improvements have taken time to come to fruition, but the results have been worth the effort.
“It’s obvious we are so much better than we used to be,” Petrey says.
3 Tips To Complete Objectives
Identify The Problem: “The first thing is to identify what you have to do. We came up with 130 tactical objectives for improvement,” says John Petrey, vice president and chief information officer of University Federal Credit Union.
Prioritize: “Determine and communicate which objectives are more important than others,” Petrey says. “Which ones need to be completed first, as opposed to second, third, fourth, or last.”
Establish Who Will Complete The Task And The Finish Date: “My management team tells me what employees sign up to complete a particular objective by this date,” he says. “So are they going to finish the objective by the date they said they were going to? It’s not me telling them what to do. It’s them telling me.”