As banks provide more and more electronic services, add new branches, merge with other banks and acquire companies, the cost of integrating desktop systems becomes expensive and laborious. If only there were one umbrella system that could manage everything. People's Bank officials believe they have found such a solution.

People's Bank, with $7.9 billion in assets and growing rapidly, provides consumer and commercial banking, trust and credit card services and is the leading mortgage originator in Connecticut. The bank's recent double-digit growth presented a dilemma: How to efficiently and inexpensively expand bank systems to meet the demands of an expanding customer base.

The Bridgeport-based bank had opened 45 supermarket branches in 1995, increasing its network to 111 branches. Bank executives plan to add more branches in the near future. With this rapid growth came a challenge: how to efficiently manage more than 130 local area networks with more than 1,400 PCs used by tellers, customer service reps and headquarters staff. It also had a highly diverse information technology (IT) environment, including Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows NT, Novell Netware, various Unix operating systems, and mainframes from IBM and Unisys.

People's Bank turned to Novadigm Inc., a New Jersey-based global developer of systems management software, which helped the bank install its Enterprise Desktop Manager (EDM), an electronic software deployment system that automatically distributes and maintains desired desktop and server software configurations from a central location.

EDM eliminates the need to purchase and physically distribute new software to each computer when system requirements change. Prior to installing Novadigm's electronic software distribution system, the IT staff of People's Bank had to physically travel to each branch and manually install and update applications. "We use EDM to distribute new software applications to the branches, including templates and documents," says Lena Zoghbi, vp and manager of client server infrastructure at People's Bank. "EDM can move large amounts of updated code to desktops, changing the look and feel of the desktop."

The EDM system gives a bank the ability to download new configurations or just simple changes in configurations, saving time and overhead costs. It enables the bank's IT staff to remove unwanted software applications and fix problems before they affect operations. "EDM can anticipate corruption of files and make automatic repairs," says George Kellar, vp of marketing for Novadigm, North America. "It can determine automatically which applications are Year 2000-compliant and which ones are not."

EDM is also instrumental in People's management of its 50 video banking machines located in bank branches and supermarkets, where people can get advice on mortgages, retirement funds and college loans directly from investment specialists.

By using EDM, bank officials were also able to develop a Power Point presentation that gives them a sophisticated way to present the bank's products to customers. And when People's Bank is ready to move onto the Internet, EDM will give it the ability to quick-start its on-line banking service.

EDM has produced significant labor cost savings at the bank. Only three part-time IT staffers now manage the bank's 1,400 PCs, saving an estimated $200,000 a year. The cost of the EDM system is a function of the number of desktops and servers, says Kellar.

"EDM costs between $100 and $200 per desktop, compared with the $1,200 it would otherwise cost to maintain a (PC) desktop," Kellar says. "It saves administrative costs, giving a bank a high degree of reliability with no down time, so service stays at a high level. (The institution) becomes more competitive because it can move applications and services to customers much faster, including personalized services that can enhance customers loyalty."

With more than one dozen large banks and financial institutions as clients, Kellar claims Novadigm has more electronic software deployment systems in production than any other vendor. And he says Novadigm's client-banks are developing new ways to use EDM technology, as is the case with video banking at People's branch and supermarket locations.


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