As befits an institution with $7.9 billion of assets and more than 1,300 employees, Anchor Savings Bank oversees a substantial amount of technology. What it didn't have was a clear view of those resources.

Anchor had been using a proprietary, mainframe-based tracking system that kept records of equipment serial numbers and locations.

The bank needed the ability to track more than 2,000 pieces of equipment, including teller terminals, mainframes, and personal computers throughout its 66 branches.

According to Anchor executives, the system they had wasn't doing the job. For example, the system was capable of tracking a central processing unit, but unable to track a monitor or a modem attached to that unit.

"The old system did not let us keep track of all the pieces that make up the configuration of a PC. We needed one that did," said Russell Jones, a vice president at the Hewlett, N.Y.-based bank.

By the end of 1992, Anchor was considering writing another proprietary system to manage its technology assets. Then Joel Talka, Anchor's chief information officer, received a cold call that hit home.

The salesman calling on Mr. Talka was pitching something called the Wyzdom Asset Management System, an enhanced, PC-based relational data base that allows a company to track all aspects of its technology assets.

"What we found was that Wyzdom offered everything we needed in one box," said Mr. Talka. "The program was in front of us. We could see it, touch it, and play with it, without the pain of designing it ourselves."

With Wyzdom, the bank has all the pieces of each configuration at its fingertips, instead of just a central processing unit number. Anchor is able to track every piece of its technology assets - both physical and paper - from mainframe terminals and modems to leases and maintenance contracts. The program also tracks costs, amortization, sales tax, book value, billing, and shipping orders.

The data is used by the corporate systems department to control expenses and charge back costs to users.

Anchor runs the Wyzdom system on a single 486-based PC. The Wyzdom software acts as a front end for the Paradox relational data base, from Borland International.

According to David Leibow, vice president of San Francisco-based Benson Software Systems, Wyzdom's developer, Paradox serves as a data repository for the asset management system. "It provides tools to developers and users for fast, easy methods to develop and extract data from Wyzdom," he said.

Wyzdom allows the bank to generate reports by the location - or the specific type - of equipment. Mr; Jones said he can now have reports on a department's assets or assets of the entire bank.

When Anchor decided to go with Wyzdom, it established two goals.

First, the bank wanted to gain added control of its assets, in terms of knowing the location of inventory and the specific attributes of each machine. To accomplish this goal, a data-entry operator keyed in all of the bank's technology assets. Now, the bank simply enters a record of newly purchased equipment directly into the data base.

The second goal is to eventually use Wyzdom as a front end to Anchor's corporate accounting system, which will help the bank charge back the cost of its electronic data processing assets to the user community more efficiently.

The bank also plans to use the system to track and process invoices. "Wyzdom will allow us to process invoices quicker and more efficiency because the information is in the data base," said Mr. Talka. "We will also plan on using it to double-check vendor invoices for billing errors."

"The key is to have all the data in one place and get as creative as we can," he continued.

Mr. Jones said Anchor also uses Wyzdom to track leases. "The lease agreements are not generic across the board with every computer company; basically they are customized to the environment," he said. "Wyzdom allows us to track any number of lease variables anytime we want instead of searching through paper files."

"If I want to know what is coming up for lease, or what our maintenance cost per vendor is for the next year or when the maintenance contracts are due or all of it, Wyzdom provides me with the information." he continued.

Wyzdom has also helped the bank in the budget process. "By having all of the information in one place, we are able to update the costs and charges of the equipment without the hassles of paperwork," said Mr. Talka.

Anchor staffers needed only a single day of training and some phone support to begin entering data in order to convert from their existing system.

According to Mr. Jones, it took the bank two months to key in all of the assets. "We had the opportunity to do an automatic load but chose not to because we wanted to fine-tune the data base," he said.

"The system has enabled the staff to take time that was once used for logging the inventory manually and now work on establishing better vendor relationships," said Mr. Talka.

There were some cost savings involved as well. Mr. Jones said that selecting Wyzdom instead of developing a system in-house saved the bank $30,000.

Along with saving the bank money Wyzdom has been able to insure that support is available when it is needed.

"If we had gone with a home-grown system we would have had to rely on one person for support," said Mr. Jones. "Wyzdom gives us both phone and site support when we need it."

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