Technology Infrastructure - Citizens Savings
Citizens Savings Bank (CSB), with locations in Gilman and
LeGrande, Iowa, had made a strategic decision to expand into the
Marshalltown, Iowa, market. The opening of this new office
offered the potential to almost double the size of their
business. CSB knew they would need a technology solution
provider to help them navigate the maze of banking software and
hardware necessary to operate such an enterprise. This was also
necessitated by the high cost and difficulty of retaining
personnel who possessed sufficient expertise. This situation
called for an outside firm that could provide multiple people
during the operation and oversee the expansion and
implementation of all technology. This is where WSI stepped in
- Allow the client to operate their business without the
need for a full-time, dedicated IT person on staff.
- Assist the client in sorting through the myriad of vendors
and vendor claims with respect to technology solutions.
- Provide a cost effective one-stop source for the majority
of the bank's technology needs including PC's, Windows
servers, printers, web site hosting and design, support and
The first step was to complete a basic assessment of all
facets of their technology. WSI evaluated their IBM RS/6000
server, Wide Area Network (WAN), bank transaction software -
Vision by PCS, document imaging system, loan management -
Bankers Systems & Gulf Pak, deposit and account software - Gulf
Pak, as well as their general office software. WSI then assessed
their PC hardware and Local Area Network (LAN) infrastructure.
Once this assessment was complete, WSI provided the bank with
recommendations for each of these areas.
The bank elected to have Mark Steffen, WSI's Senior IT
Consultant, assume the responsibility for communicating with all
of the vendors to determine what upgrades were appropriate and
necessary. CSB also decided to have Mark deal with all licensing
issues and select additional vendors as needed.
WSI provided a new Intel Based Workgroup Server to run
Microsoft Small Business Server 2000 and the Gulf Pak software.
The Small Business Server provides needed groupware
functionality to help manage the bank's growing and more
widespread personnel. Microsoft Exchange Server 2000 is used to
handle complex, multi-site, multi-person meeting scheduling as
well as internal email and task management. WSI also provided 15
new Intel Based PC Workstations that utilize Microsoft Windows
2000 and will serve as their users interface to the bank's
entire technology infrastructure. All workstations utilize
Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional, PC based printing systems
from Hewlett Packard, and network switches by 3COM were also
provided by WSI.
After assessing the current WAN infrastructure already in
place the determination was reached that it would not handle the
bank's expansion plans. Two alternatives were researched,
upgrading from a 56k wire based WAN to a T1 or replacing the 56k
system with a wireless network. Based on a careful assessment of
recurring cost versus initial costs and discussions with other
banks and co-ops that were using wireless, the bank elected to
proceed with a wireless WAN solution.
WSI coordinated and facilitated communication between the
bank and the company selected to provide the wireless solution.
This greatly simplified the project for both the bank and the
wireless company. With this relationship in place, the bank knew
that its best interests would be represented and communicated.
The wireless vendor had the advantage of working with a company
that had experience with technology and networks.
Winning Solutions, Inc. worked with a variety of vendors as
well as providing solutions, allowing the bank team to focus on
the many other pressing matters related to their expansion.
Solutions from many vendors were brought together to work on one
When first approached by WSI about planning for this bank
expansion, one of the banking software vendors stated that it
would be necessary to purchase a new RS/6000 at a cost in excess
of $55,000. They stated that this was necessary because the
current model in use could not be upgraded. WSI took it upon
itself to research this statement more closely. It was
determined that the unit could indeed be upgraded at a cost less
than $5,000. The previously described wireless solution saves
the bank several hundred dollars each month over the costs for
having a T1.
Now that the main thrust of this expansion has been
completed, CSB is able to decrease its technology spending, not
have to lay anyone off and know that WSI will be there when
Microsoft Software Used: Winning Solutions, Inc. is a
Microsoft Certified company and thus used the following
Microsoft software in this project. Microsoft Office Small
Business Edition including Access, Word, Excel, and Outlook,
Microsoft Windows 2000 SBS, Microsoft Exchange Server 2000 and
Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional.
Other Products Used: Vision by PCS, Gulf Pak, and Retrospect