Everyone is strategizing for 2013. Whatever you're looking at, whether it's the housing market, new regulations, branch dynamics, shifts in customer behavior or any of the myriad strategic concerns affecting the nation's credit unions, most of you will be doing so without the benefit of a senior technologist in the room. I'd like to suggest that you resolve to change that dynamic for the future, starting in 2013.

Resolve to make technology strategic.

We all know that technology is currently affecting how we do business. Many branches are seeing fewer visits, while online interactions are multiplying and our customers expect to do more and more business on their phones. But all this change has at its core a constant, unchanging reality: technology expertise will be needed.

Yet so many credit unions still treat the IT function as a second-class cost-center, rather than as a strategic asset. That's so 2012. In the new year, as well as many more future years, winners and losers will be divided more and more by their ability to compete for an ever-growing segment of business which involves technological excellence. So how can anyone expect to go forward and win while employing one or two junior-level IT guys or guessing on a technology then hiring the cheapest coding shop to build it?

Making IT a part of your strategic decision-making team should be a priority if you haven't already made it one. An experienced technology partner will help you decide how to serve customer needs and expectations as the opportunities come and go, whilst remaining calm and on budget. As technology advances and customers shift their focus from one trend to another, you'll need that IT expertise in the room as you decide how to move forward, even if you decide not to provide customers with cash-teleporting wristwatches. You'll need the expertise to weigh those new options intelligently.

You may not be an IT expert. More likely, you understand how to deliver the promise of a great credit union to your loyal customers. But you can't, and shouldn't, attempt to do so without strategic-level expertise in IT. Make 2013 the year you make IT a first-class strategic function of your decision-making process. You'll be glad you did, for more than a few years.

This post originally published on CUinsight.com.