The Fauquier Bank in Warrenton VA finished a core conversion six years ago after devoting much effort and resources. Bank executives then spent the next six years complaining about it. So when the bank choose to upgrade its core system in 2008 newly hired CIO Chip Register was determined the bank would not repeat that experience. He would be a tough negotiator, he would demand excellent execution, he would measure results post implementation, and he would deliver superior products and services at a lower cost. That's a tall order, but the $570 million bank managed to pull it off.

The project began with a careful half-year of due diligence. After that the bank committed $500,000 (17 percent of the IT budget) to convert from Metavante to Fiserv. To help keep the project on track and all sides communicating-and avoid the misunderstandings that inevitably delay a project and cause cost overruns-Register hired Harper McNeil, a consultant with core conversion expertise to work alongside the bank and Fiserv. It was this commitment to communication that kept the project on schedule, within budget, and relatively trouble free, he says. For instance, when the bank went live in June of 2009 it maintained uninterrupted EFT/ATM services, and successfully completed night processing the first night after conversion.

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