What is Post-Release Validation (PRV)?
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The Post Release Validation (PRV) process engages credit unions to participate in the validation process for software changes that are released to the network, both in major releases and as needed projects i.e., DHD, warranty adjustments and other enhancements. CU*BASE affords a lot of flexibility that allows credit unions to design their products and services in a multitude of ways. Therefore, it is imperative to follow the verification process into the live environment to verify a broader spectrum of environments than we are able to test prior to release. PRV keeps the communication channels open with credit unions outside the normal release notification and encourages credit unions to participate in the verification process. This can also serve to help credit unions better understand changes and hopefully utilize CU*BASE more effectively.
How is this accomplished?
CU*Answers Earnings Edge team accomplishes this in two ways:
First, they now have a dedicated CU*Answers team, led by Cody Smith (learn more about Cody below). This team watches credit union income and expense indicators after any software change that might have an effect on those, especially with automatic processes that might happen behind the scenes. Indicators such as dividend and interest accruals, fee posting routines, monthly service charges – all calculated by processes that go on day after day and can become a little out-of-sight, out-of-mind. But not for the PRV team! They are watched closely by our experts.
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Second, we have started adding the PRV indicator to our release materials, to give CUs a heads up on changes that could have a potential to affect the credit union’s income statement. Be sure to watch for these on your release materials! Projects in the queue awaiting release that have been identified for PRV:
|Project Number||Description||Owner's View|
|54533||Adjust ANR Scoring to include Payroll with ACH Activity||Owner's View|
|54047||Divapl's for OC account types not being frozen by dormancy||Owner's View|
|53878||Make adjust on how Reg E is to be handled if Global Reg E out in/out Configuration is set to 'N' for CU||Owner's View|
|53376||Update NSF/OD Protection Configuration to Allow Non-Return Fees by Origin Code||Owner's View|
|52846||Delinquency Fine is not being satisfied when there is an available Partial Payment Amount.||Owner's View|
|52276||DHD - Notre Dame CU would like to have interest only loans recognize the schedule payment amount.||Owner's View|
|49847||Add new functionality for when a LOC loan is paid to 0.00 the scheduled payment amount also changes to 0.00.||Owner's View|
|54948||1Click Unsecured Loan Offers via "It's Me 247" Online and Mobile Banking||Owner's View|
|54047||Divapl's for OC account types not being frozen by dormancy||Owner's View|
|53793||Allow different stop payment fee for member initiated via OLB vs. CU initiated in CU*BASE||Owner's View|
|53520||Lock down sensitive settings on the DIVAPL configuration screen||Owner's View|
|53051||Modify service charge fee programs to include frozen accounts when searching for alternative accounts by dividend application||Owner's View|
Note that many of these projects are released on an “as needed” basis, meaning they won’t necessarily be part of the normal CU*BASE GOLD release communications.
A Review of Post-Release Validation for 2021
For 2021, we met a few times to discuss PRV projects for weekly releases and upcoming major releases. We also discussed ways we can both assist in the verification process, and how we can educate the credit unions to verify their data as well. An example would be reviewing their stop pay fee income g/l after implementing a different fee for online stop pay fees. For weekly releases, we touched base and determined the things to look for. I took this information and did verification myself but also pulled in credit unions to do it as well (and so they use CU*BASE to its fullest potential). I do want to give a shoutout to Bridge CU, Cherokee Strip CU, Affinity CU, and PowerNet CU for participating and in turn learning more about CU*BASE and how it works “behind the scenes.” Not only this, but it’s a good way to implement new toolsets released into CU*BASE that may not be on their radar. I plan to involve many more credit unions going forward. We have a dashboard in Track*It that we can use to be proactive when a project is getting close to being released. This gives a heads up and prompts us to prepare to know what to look for when validating.
The PRV initiatives powered by Earnings Edge began in the fall of 2020 with the 20.10 CU*BASE release. Prior to the release, the PRV team (Earnings Edge and production team leaders) identified projects that they believed would be best suited for review after the software is released to all credit unions. These identified projects were reviewed by the Earnings Edge team after they had been released to ensure the software is working as designed. We also developed “run sheets” for how to verify the software (which ultimately is a combination of running thru the software, reviewing the data that is created by the software, and using CU*BASE tools to verify that data is within tolerance). Projects that are flagged for PRV resources have typically been projects that may affect the income statement of our credit unions. Therefore, priorities have been placed on those projects, but we also discussed the differences between traditional software releases and on-demand software releases. Historically, the projects that have “burned” us the most are the projects that have been released outside of a traditional release because there are fewer eyes aware of the changes. We tested/reviewed multiple projects in 2021 and involved a handful of credit unions to get involved in the PRV processes with us.
With the start-up of PRV in 2021, we have incorporated additional verification procedures for adjustments involving high risk programs (effect on income or high impact to member). By validating post production, it allows us to increase the number of environments reviewed where credit unions have varied product and service configurations. It has also assisted with understanding some changes that previously may have gone under the radar. PRV also highlights various functionality from major releases and follows through results in production for credit unions that utilize the feature.
Looking Forward to 2022 for PRV
For 2022, continuing to use the dashboards and reports available in CU*BASE is a great way to validate data, and at the same time ensure credit unions know about the tools right in the core to monitor their operations. There have been a couple instances where I’d get back “I didn’t know this tool existed!” from a credit union. For example, for a project that works with a dividend program, we can use the dividend accrual dashboard to monitor “red flags” in the accruals over time and remind credit unions this is available to them. Personally, I plan on hosting a few events to emphasize the importance of PRV for the 2022 FY and how I can help credit unions know what to keep an eye on, etc. I believe the PRV dashboard in Track*It is very valuable and can keep us prepared at any time for what’s coming soon. It’s a team effort both internally and within the network.
In 2022, the primary focus for PRV will be a shift to marketing our efforts and getting credit unions involved in the processes. This will include the creation of a PRV website, a webinar reviewing all PRV identified projects prior to traditional CU*BASE releases, a publication of our “run sheets” (so that credit unions can follow alongside our PRV efforts…), etc. If I were to sum up our goals for PRV in 2022, it would be for us to spend more time on marketing our efforts to the marketplace so that our customers will begin to recognize PRV as a differentiator in their choice for a technology provider. In addition to the marketing work that happens externally, the same amount of marketing will need to occur within the cuasterisk.com network as well. CU*South has already asked how they can get involved more with PRV, so I envision that we will loop CU*South into our future conversations for how they can execute PRV efforts.
I am also interested in discussing how PRV could be added to the price of custom projects completed by the DHD team. For example, a credit union pays for programming a new ACH translate within their library. CU*Answers releases the software, and the credit union assumes all is well (until its not). Therefore, we might be able to offer PRV services as a premium to our DHD credit union customers.
For PRV in 2022, I expect that information learned in the past year on how to utilize some of our own tools in verification can now be passed on to credit unions, helping them to be more proactive in reviewing their own data on a regular basis in addition to any follow-up work we do in-house. We’ve built a base to communicate and watch upcoming software changes, both new functionality and changes to existing program that can be added to the PRV program. By communicating this information to clients, working with them to watch key areas and marketing PRV efforts at validation in production, we hope to increase both the knowledge of how to look at data and identify any impacts to clients before they become problematic.
Who’s Cody Smith?
Cody Smith is an Account Executive with CU*Answers Earnings Edge Team. He brings over 8 years of credit union experience to the network. Since joining the CU*Answers Client Services and Education team in early 2017, he has served in various roles including Client Services Account Executive and Certified Trainer. His current focus with Earnings Edge team is helping credit unions to design strategies to earn from and grow member relationships via CU*BASE.
Earnings Edge Provides education and consulting in Marketing, Accounting, and special projects pertaining to custom fees, notices, ANR, Dividend Applications and of course PRV. Reach out to Cody to learn how he can help you start harvesting on your member relationships, validate your releases and processes and more! Cody can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 616.285.5711 x245.