Vice president Community Bank of Germantown Germantown, Tenn.

THE OFFICE AUTOMATION SOFTWARE we use needs to be user-friendly. We have tried to establish a standard so that everyone in the bank is using the same software. That makes it easier if an employee moves to a different position.

We have 120 employees at eight locations.

Although we do not deal with software manufacturers directly, we have two or three vendors that we use a lot and when software is upgraded, we will work out a deal where we will buy a number of copies of an upgrade at a reduced price. In some cases, we may choose not to upgrade.

We were a DOS-only operation, but now that Windows has gotten so popular, we are rethinking that standard. I don't know if we'll be moving entirely to Windows as a standard. Eventually, I expect we probably will change our standard to either Windows or OS/2.


Senior vice president Liberty Bank Oklahoma City

WE LOOKED AT HOW THE SOFTWARE integrated into our overall technology and information strategy. We looked at how it fit into our client-server technology, how it interfaced with our common graphic interface, how it worked on our network.

We use a whole array of office automation products from Microsoft: Microsoft Word Excel, Powerpoint.

We operate in a Windows environment. We are getting as far away from DOS as possible. We think Windows is more user-friendly, requires less training, and now the tools and products are being developed to support Windows.

We also have a product that distributes upgrades on all this software to all of the PCs on our network automatically.


Division manager Key Services Corp. Albany, N.Y.

WE'VE APPROACHED IT FROM TWO different angles. We look at cost, but we also look at how the office automation software will fit in with other, bank-specific software that we use.

For example, in our 900 branches, where they use both branch automation software and office automation software, we pick the best branch automation software first, and then we choose office automation software that will easily integrated.

In the [corporate] offices, we structure our selection process toward work groups. Accounting may have a different package than secretaries, depending on each group's needs.

We make sure the E-mail is compatible with all the systems throughout the bank, so that is another consideration as well.


Senior vice president Salem (Mass.) Five Cents Savings

WE ACQUIRE SHRINK-WRAPPED office automation products. When we decide which off-the-shelf program to buy, we look at ease of use and functionality as our primary considerations.

The more sophisticated applications often come with less ease of use and we have found that some of our employees simply won't learn or use the more advanced functions, so we really watch that the software is user-friendly.

We have just over 300 employees in 20 branches. We choose the applications centrally and then install them throughout the bank. For example, Lotus 1-2-3 is our standard spreadsheet program, although Microsoft Excel is used in one department because of their specific needs. Since it is exportable to Lotus, we agreed to allow that exception to the standard.


Vice president California Bancshares Alameda

WE HAVE CORPORATE STANDARDS for our office automation software. We mostly use Lotus 1-2-3 and dbase. To establish these standards, we went out and asked everybody -- all the users -- what they wanted and we made our decision based on those wants and needs. We have about 185 microcomputers in use in 25 different locations. Probably 90% of our offices are DOS-based. We have some Windows users and that's fine until there's a problem. I prefer DOS-based computing because it's easier to fix problems on DOS.

I keep reports that show where all the software packages are installed. When upgrades are released, we purchase them in bulk and use our own systems people to install them.


Vice president National Westminster Bancorp Jersey City

WE HAVE CENTRALIZED THE SUPPORT of bankwide LANs and PCs. Going forward, we will be providing centralized management and the software will reside on the PC. This should help us save money since we will no longer need all the stand-alone copies. We plan to standardize on a Microsoft Windows platform with a full suite of software from Microsoft.

We chose the Windows platform because the users believe that [a system with] icons and point-and-click is easier to use. From our standpoint in the technology area, we see a lot more companies writing software for Windows. We want to make sure the direction that the bank is taking is in sync with the direction the technology is taking. We are watching Windows NT very closely, and that will probably be the approach we will be taking in the future.


Executive vice president Bank of Boston

WE HAVE A LIST OF APPROVED products that we tested. We chose these products because they interacted well with our other systems and because we can support them.

We limit the choices, but provide the function our users need. If there's a special request for a product that's not on the list, we will investigate it to make sure it does interact with the other products we use.

When an upgrade is annouced, we send out a notice that it's available and then, if users want it, they can order it through our centralized purchasing department.

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