For smaller banks, searching for revolutionary technology is a bit like window shopping in Beverly Hills—there are a lot of cool solutions out there to speed up everything from mortgage loan processing to human resources, but they're often beyond what a smaller bank can afford.

But Will Barrett, senior operations officer at Bank of Tennessee, is not particularly bothered by the price gap. His $640-million-asset bank has just started a software-as-a-service-heavy business process management project that aims to improve work efficiency by turning to socially driven collaboration among staff, a less costly method than replacing or upgrading all of the bank's lending and workflow solutions.

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