New chief tech officer says Thrivent needs to reach customers on their own terms

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Brett Brunick has spent two decades helping companies keep IT functions running smoothly, so employees can help customers with whatever the firm’s business is.

What excites Brunick now is applying what he has learned to the “higher-order purpose” as the new chief digital and technology officer for the Minneapolis-based Thrivent financial services organization.

“The commitment of the organization is to build those seamless experiences for our clients and our advisers and ultimately our team members as well,” Brunick said.

Brunick has leadership experience in digital, technology, product management, engineering, architecture, data and infrastructure. He most recently was chief information officer at TCF Bank, where he oversaw the launch of an online mobile platform, implemented a retail customer relationship management system and modernized legacy systems.

At Target, he helped build out Target.com, stores, data, merchandising and supply chain. Brunick, who began his career as a software developer, has a degree in management information systems from Iowa State University.

“His expertise is essential as we plan for our future digital needs at Thrivent and serve our clients how and when they want over the various stages of their relationship with us,” said Thrivent CEO Terry Rasmussen in a release.

Q: Where is Thrivent in its digital-first transformation?

A: We’ve started the journey. We have our recent mobile application. But you’ve got to continue to make those experiences better. As you mature in digital organizations and digital experiences, it’s an endless investment in improving those experiences, removing friction points for customers, responding to their feedback. That is the roadmap that we’re extending after the success of some of our recent investments.

Q: How does this help Thrivent competitively?

A: We’re competing in an experience world. You can go on an app and get food delivered to your house in an hour. Those expectations are being applied to every dimension of a consumer’s life. So for our clients, we need to do very much the same thing, so that it’s easy, on their terms. Those who do that better will have deeper relationships, which is clearly a strength of Thrivent, and will be easier to do business with and improve their competitive position.

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