How Qlik Helped Teachers Credit Union Boost Referrals by 207%


One of today’s top business challenges is turning massive amounts of data into valuable insights. In just under a year, Teachers Credit Union went from struggling with Excel spreadsheets to automating our data delivery through self-service apps. Learn how we use data from our apps to make informed decisions, improve our member service, and drive revenue.

More than eighty-five years ago, a small group of teachers pooled their savings to lend to others in need of credit. From these humble beginnings, Teachers Credit Union (TCU) has grown to become Indiana's largest credit union with more than $3 billion in assets and fifty-five branches. 

One of today’s top business challenges is turning massive amounts of data into valuable insights.

As TCU’s Supervisor of Business Intelligence, I lead a small team that is expected to make a big impact. One of my top goals is to build self-service applications that allow TCU employees to gain on-demand business insights, make data-driven decisions, and improve their member service.

In the past the TCU Finance department stored some data in outdated software and used Microsoft Excel to create spreadsheets and reports. Manipulating data was very time-consuming, and if someone requested a change or wanted to dive deeper into data, IT needed to re-create reports manually. Teams often waited days for the right IT person to handle a single request. 

In my former role within the company as a financial analyst, I spent 80% of my time on data fulfillment. Meanwhile, the TCU applications development team spent almost all their time on it. Manual tasks left the group unable to take on projects that would drive greater business value.

We needed a software solution that would allow us to automate the data delivery process so we could make more timely decisions. We also needed user-friendly technology so departments such as Finance were not recreating reports each month that could have been produced once and then refreshed monthly by a business intelligence system. 

Why Recommendations from Peer Review Sites Matter

When it was time to find a solution, TCU turned to the tech peer review site Gartner Peer Insights. 

We also used the Gartner Magic Quadrant and selected the top three business intelligence and data visualization vendors. Next, I built the same app in each solution. I wanted to see how easily I could get into each system, manipulate data, and create dashboards.  

Qlik offered a freemium trial of Qlik Sense Desktop, and out of all of the best-of-breed solutions I tried, theirs was the easiest to use. Another vendor seemed very professional, but I felt Qlik had the most user-friendly dashboards and would result in greater adoption.

Reducing Operating Expense and Boosting Sales 

We installed Qlik in October 2016 and have since deployed Qlik Sense apps across all areas of TCU. Here are two apps helping us drive value across our organization:

Reducing Operating Expense and Saving Time by Delivering Focused Data to Branch Staff

Every branch needs to maintain cash at its location to facilitate the withdrawal of deposits for TCU Members. This is easier said than done. Not only do branches need to forecast cash needs for the week, they also need to know which denominations will be in greatest demand, and what is currently on-hand at that location. For example: During tax return season does the branch have enough $100 bills to handle that week's withdraws?


Prior to Qlik, TCU used a standard report that showed data in an Excel-like format. The way content was delivered was leading to an increase in operational expense because the way it was displayed did not provide value to the end users. When a branch is running low on cash they have to do an "emergency" cash delivery. These are very expensive. By delivering data in a user-friendly format my team allowed the business users to quickly get the data they need to make better decisions.


Here is what the old report looked like. It only showed the week’s starting and ending totals.

Here is a small piece of what the new Qlik report looks like. TCU used Qlik to tell each branch manager a story about their cash use.

On the first sheet, we provide a quick way to see how much cash a branch manager might need to order for the next week. The second sheet in the app then shows which denominations they might need to order based on their current cash inventory.


This app does so much more, such as reporting down to each drawer in a branch, reports cash that is over the limits set for that branch, reports drawer balances compared to limits, illustrates issues with drawers having "offages", provides data on bad habits such as having a high cost "emergency" delivery of cash due to poor planning, etc. It is a one-stop shop for district mangers to have coaching conversations with a branch, or branch managers to have coaching conversations with a teller, etc.

Indirect Lending: Boosting Opportunities to Sell from Their Loan Portfolio

The Teachers Credit Union Indirect Lending sales app helps sell off loans and better position the balance sheet to increase the overall return to members. 

In the past, brokers would reach out to the TCU Finance department to get a list of indirect auto loans that they might want to sell. Finance would then have to wait for a database analyst to compile the data. If the database analyst had other priorities, Finance could wait days. Once loans were selected by brokers, TCU Finance would request a data refresh for the selected loans. Again, depending on the database analyst priorities, Finance could wait days for the data update.

Today, TCU's Qlik Sense app houses all of the information that Finance needs to facilitate these loan sales. With one click, Finance can filter the loans and export them to brokers. 

Initially, TCU launched the Qlik Sense app to analyze data about loans that they might want to sell. But it has quickly turned into a reporting tool to handle data needs for the sale after the fact. Before Qlik, TCU hadn’t completed an indirect lending sale in years because they were complex and involved too much back and forth. Now, TCU can process the data for these sales within minutes—not days. 

Saving the Finance Department Countless Hours: Insights from Our Manager of Finance

Thanks to Qlik, the TCU financial analysts can spend more time consuming and analyzing data—as opposed to gathering it.

@tcunet's 3 tips for boosting internal @Qlik adoption: 1) Prepare for resistance, 2) Educate, 3) Engage power users

When my team and I build visualizations in Qlik, Finance can filter, download, and send the information within minutes. Without Qlik, they would need to use Microsoft Excel or SQL—which have higher learning curves. In the Qlik dashboard, the user simply selects the reporting month and pool number to view the relevant data, easily saving an hour of reporting time per month. 

In addition, the dashboard allows us to slice the loans by several parameters for future sales or participations. With just a few clicks, we can segment loans on almost any attribute. This has saved Finance countless hours, allowing TCU to manage our balance sheet and income statement more effectively.

Making Smarter Decisions With Timely, Accurate Data 

In just under a year, TCU has deployed 31 Qlik Sense apps. I have seen the greatest adoption in the TCU Member Call Center, where 40 people have access to Qlik for their day-to-day tasks.

These apps have dramatically decreased the amount of time it takes users to analyze data. Departments no longer need to wait for IT to create reports. They can now access apps with just a few clicks. Previously, the Member Call Center only got their sales numbers at the end of the month; now they get an update every morning showing them where there are compared to their goals.

Thanks to TCU's Qlik Sense apps, we have improved our decision-making. We can make data-driven decisions on the spot, instead of waiting days for new reports and clarification. 


For example, the old TCU Call Center report didn’t provide end users any detail on their monthly sales and was only updated after the month was over. With the TCU Call Center Sales app, we can see which reps get the most number of referrals, which could turn into sales. The Member Call Center can then pair top performers with reps who don’t have a high rate of referrals that turn into sales, and they can work together to discuss what is working for the high performer that the other rep can try in order to boost their sales.

In the app’s first month, we increased business partner referrals from 73 to 224—a 207% increase! Overall, the Member Call Center has seen a 55% boost in referrals since we've started using the app. As illustrated in the graph below, the blue 2017 line shows an increase in referrals from the past two years (which was deployed out the app at the end of February 2017). 

TCU management also uses the TCU Call Center sales app to track progress on monthly goals. In the past, reps couldn’t access this data until after the month had ended, so they didn’t know if they were close to hitting their sales targets in real time. With Qlik Sense data, they can see where they stand every morning, and TCU is now reaching more of our sales goals.

We've experienced a 29% increase in referrals that turned into sales, as compared with the same period last year. The following chart shows an increase in sales between 2016 and 2017.

How to Transform into a Data-Driven Organization

About 60% of my job involves managing the people who do data fulfillment and getting them on-board with TCU’s new apps. Here are my top three tips on driving adoption: 

1. Be prepared for resistance. 

Any time you introduce something new into your organization, you will face resistance. People who spend most of their time collecting data might worry that a new technology will make them redundant. Explain that instead of just reporting the data, they can now drive value by analyzing it.

2. Educate. Educate. Educate. 

Every time we release a new app, I walk people through how to use it. By front-loading the education, I can drive adoption and alleviate concerns, while minimizing the back and forth of additional questions. 

My team and I also create educational content, such as a user guide to walk through all aspects of the system (where to get in, what they will see, how to slice data, how to know what data they are consuming, etc.). We also provide links to the Qlik Continuous Classroom for its FREE learning videos and guides for Business Users.

3. Engage your power users. 

I identify power users from different departments and invite them to attend what I call "Qlik University Fridays". Every week, we share success stories and lessons learned. We also discuss the apps that we are building and troubleshoot problems. 

Thanks to @Qlik, @TCUnet financial analysts spend more time consuming and analyzing data—as opposed to gathering it.

Qlik University Fridays allow us to learn from each other and see what is possible. Since we’ve started these meetups, the demand for apps across all departments has risen and team members across TCU are more frequently requesting training.  

The Key to Driving Adoption 

Given these dramatic early results, we have big plans for the next year. We want to grow our development team to be able to rollout 10–12 larger apps. But with these new self-service apps, we will also have to focus on user adoption. To reach our goal of having 400 employees throughout all branches utilizing Qlik apps for their daily use, providing real value will have to be a driving focus.

Because when you save people time over the long term, they are willing to make the upfront investment to learn a new technology, and that investment, as we’ve clearly seen, not only helps users save time and work more efficiently. It also impacts your business in a big way.