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LENEXA, Kan. – At headquarters for CommunityAmerica Credit Union, a team of dedicated professionals is remaking the future of the $1.5 billion institution, one workstream and project at a time. Working in what’s been dubbed the “Command Center,” their overall mission is to integrate contact management and business workflow capabilities into a single, browser-based transaction platform for tellers and other member-service staffers at the 390-employee institution. To accomplish that, Summit PathWays middleware is being used to integrate the CU’s core processing platform from Summit Information Systems with a CRM platform from Fiserv CCS and Summit’s own Branch Suite teller solution. A range of third-party solutions, such as an APPRO lending system, DealerTrack for auto loans, a Corillian/NCR home banking platform, and a Cisco voice-over IP telephony system, also are involved. Ten staffers are assigned fulltime to the 47 separate projects and workstreams, with others getting involved as needed, says Guy Russo, CIO at the 112,000-member CU (www.cacu.com). Russo says this is the largest such project ever undertaken at CommunityAmerica, with the timing being driven in part by the CU’s changeover to Summit’s new HP/UNIX operating hardware. “This is much more than an upgrade, though,” Russo says. “We’re treating this like a whole new system. We’re committed to changing the teller experience, the member experience, to give the member a `wow’ feeling when they come to the window, or through whatever channel they come to us for service.” Kevin Sparks, president of Summit Information Systems, says the project is one of the largest of its kind for his company, too. “It’s one of the first initiatives we’ve undertaken where the third-party application, in this case the Fiserv contact solution, is the dominant solution riding on top of our core system,” says Sparks. “That’s pretty uncommon in our industry. “Here, the CRM system is the first application the end user sees. They do an inquiry through that to the core application and then it builds the cases that help automate all the other workflow processes,” Sparks says. “It’s not been that difficult an integration because we use so many third-party interfaces already, but it’s probably the most aggressive use of our PathWays middleware product we’ve seen so far,” he says. Russo, meanwhile, calls the project “taking multiple systems designed by two different companies and making them look like one system designed just for CommunityAmerica. It’s taking off-the-shelf software and making it look like custom-built stuff for us, and that’s not very easy. “But the cooperation of Fiserv CCS and Summit and CommunityAmerica so far has made the integration experience easer than I anticipated.” The overall project is expected to take about a year and a half to two years and, while it’s a technology project, Russo says, “It’s not really about the technology. The technology really gives us the excuse, the solid justification really, to go back and assess everything we do and why we’re doing it in terms of our business processes.” His boss agrees. “I really think it’s important to integrate as much as possible all our data systems so our staff and ultimately our members can experience the very best service that we can deliver, every day,” says Dennis Pierce, CEO of CommunityAmerica. He also says the current integration projects are not the end of that overall effort. “We’re committed to giving our members value that they won’t get from other organizations, including the tools to make good decisions. That’s critical for us and for the organization, and this will be an ongoing process,” Pierce says. “What we did yesterday will not necessarily be the way we do things today or how we’ll do it tomorrow.” Pierce also says such an effort “really involves everybody in the organization. You have to commit a lot of resources for something like this to be successful.” It also takes teamwork, the CommunityAmerica CEO says. That esprit de corps is encouraged at the “Command Center” through the use of a baseball theme; a natural extension of the credit union’s marketing ties and naming rights with the minor league team that now calls CommunityAmerica Ballpark its home. The CU’s internal Web site for the project even looks like the Web site from a baseball team, and Pierce says the project managers have “done a good job of maintaining a high level of excitement and getting people involved.” [email protected]

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