OAK RIDGE, Tenn.-In previous years, ORNL FCU here was too busy "growing like gangbusters" to take advantage of core system upgrades, said Michael McKnight, VP and CTO. "We were busy with the day-to-day and always playing catch-up with software enhancements."

As a result, ORNL missed out on efficiencies the software provided-an outcome that's not acceptable in today's economy, he said. "With smaller margins and the NCUA assessments, we have to maximize the return we get from our tools."

ORNL tackled the problem by making sure IT staff meets with business units to experiment with core upgrades. But not all CUs create that kind of back-and-forth between IT and the rest of the business, according to Eileen Ramsey, a Symitar client relationship manager.

Ramsey pointed to "single-threader" credit unions as an example. "Their understanding of core capabilities is limited to basic functionality. All the enhancement material goes from Symitar to one individual at the CU-the single-threader-who disseminates the information to business units. If that individual doesn't think it's important, it's not disseminated. The result is gaps in business unit knowledge-gaps that widen over the years."

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