By W.B. King
Now in its sixth year, the 2021 CULytics Summit attracted more than 400 credit union and vendor attendees from all 50 states. The virtual event, which ran from March 29 to April 1, featured a host of informative sessions with topics such as, “The Importance of Digital Technologies for FIs,” “Using Artificial Intelligence to Improve Your Productivity,” and “How to Leverage Your Data to Win Against National Banks,” among others.
“We, as a community, come together each year to share ideas,” said CULytics Founder Naveen Jain. “It’s all about building a community of passionate people. This has been the best event we have ever had.”
Along with sharing ideas and experiences with fellow credit union executives, Jain explained that attendees had the opportunity, through demonstrations and presentations, to interface with innovative solutions presented by leading fintech vendors.
“The most important thing is finding connections in the community, so you can network and learn with the goal of your organization doing better,” he said.
Jain gave high praise to all the speakers, sponsors, advisors, moderators and those behind the scenes who shared respective knowledge with the CULytics community.
“I especially want to thank Direct Federal Credit Union’s Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Devon Lyon for leading us through the event,” said Jain.
Lyon, a Summit veteran who served as the host, agreed with Jain saying that the event gets better each year. He added that it’s an “honor” to “share stories and help guide the conference,” which he said is a “small give back” to the credit union movement.
“The knowledge share is stronger. The partnerships are stronger. The fintechs get smarter and better,” said Lyon. “It’s about folks doing good work and propelling the industry forward. ”
CULytics is in the process of planning two one-day virtual conferences later this year (tentatively schedule in July and October). The 2022 Summit, which will take place in Seattle, Wash. in late March, will be a hybrid (virtual/in-person) event.
“I really look forward to doing this in person next year,” said Lyon.
Along with sponsored networking meetings and virtual happy hours, CULytics also announced a number of honors, including its annual Fintech Solution of the Year award.
Jain explained that the award, voted on by attendees and vetted by three judges, was based on innovation, functionality and value-impact for an organization.
“I believe all who participated in the showcase were winners from the attendees’ point of view,” he said. “The showcase covered different aspects on where these solutions provided value, and indeed each participant was a winner."
Out of the contenders, the Toronto, Canada –based Cinchy took top honors. As part of the prize, the company will receive a CULytics marketing package along with a trophy.
Cinchy’s model builds data-centric systems using collaboration where data is accessed and controlled by people opposed to code. The company views data as a fabric and its solution a loom that weaves together different threads of data that currently exist in an organization’s fragmented operating system. All data is available on an intuitive, single interface, which is linked to a web browser for data. The mission is to move from an app-centric/silo model to a data-centric platform.
“The platform was designed to make it accessible to existing technologists, so it uses readily available skills that have been widely understood; for example, SQL, but there is also a business user interface that will be very familiar to anyone that has used Excel,” said Cinchy’s Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder, Dan Demers, during the Summit.
“Whether you are a business user using it to build your own solutions or a technologist using it to build enterprise-grade, complicated systems that don’t require integration, the whole idea is to simplify,” he added.