Asset size: $150 million
Project: A combination of virtualization and outsourcing.
Why it's cool: The bank can upgrade on a number of fronts with minimal IT staff.
At T Bank, the big new IT project is more than a new deployment — it's a cross-enterprise method of using virtualization and outsourcing to enable a bunch of smaller IT projects: customer relationship management, online banking, payments, loan origination, new channels, even a reimagining of the most mundane of technology department tasks: "keeping the lights on."
"We now have multiple monitors on every desk, electronic monitoring cameras in banking centers. There is simply so much technology that the demand on IT support is significantly more than average. It's too hard for one tech support person to handle," says Thad Hutcheson, the bank's chief technology officer.
The Dallas-area bank's internal IT staff basically is Hutcheson, who is in charge of tech strategy and making sure the workstations work. But maintenance was just a small part of the challenge. T Bank, which has three banking centers in the Dallas area, has to compete with far larger banks; quickly upgrade customer-facing technology like mobile; and add staff technology such as remote access, advanced email and business continuity that is less reliant on facilities the bank leases but doesn't own.
To pull off these upgrades, the bank began migrating its internal server functions to a third party, Computer Services Inc., in late 2011. The project involves the hosting of email clients, server applications, storage and internal networks. By combining outsourced infrastructure and hardware services with CSI's integrated management and security solutions, Hutcheson has access to secure data centers with multiple levels of physical security and disaster recovery. The bank can also scale services to meet growth needs without buying hardware that exceeds the small bank's purchasing power.
But the project is more than jobbing out IT. Hutcheson sits at what amounts to a vast IT control panel, able to execute strategy that combines the bank's business objectives with technology without getting bogged down in the day-to-day details.
"We're a $150 million company. This deal with CSI is kind of like having an entire building of IT guys who work for me. I know they also work for other companies, but they respond quickly. It doesn't make sense to do all of that work in-house," Hutcheson says. He estimates the move will cut the bank's IT expense in half. CSI people monitor, track and manage the IT network, taking that work out of Hutcheson's hands.
Through virtualized servers, CSI allows the bank to add functions speedily and at minimal cost. The expense of delivery is included in the fees the bank pays CSI. Hutcheson says that allows business initiatives developed in consult with business lines to be put into action right away. T Bank recently added a new document management system, linked to its CRM platform, to accommodate its paper-reduction initiative. "We can call CSI to say we need a new virtual server to deliver the new document management solution. Within a couple of hours, they spin up the server installation package and set up a VPN for our engineer to install the solution," Hutcheson says.
The bank made a similar upgrade to its email system, migrating from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2010, which offers improved remote access to T Bank's email network. "We can offer Outlook Web access on the Internet with more mobility and a better iPhone deployment," Hutcheson says.
CSI Managed Services data centers are located in four disparate locations, and are subject to SAS-70 Type II audits, BITs assessments, security and ISO 27001 audits. Hutcheson says this provides redundancy, which fosters business continuity. At its physical locations, where it is leasing space, T Bank doesn't "control the power and the buildings' environments. We didn't want to rely on the infrastructures of the buildings themselves." A power outage at the Dallas headquarters, for example, would not cause other offices to lose Internet access.