When a St. Louis area bank needed help with a sluggish WAN, they turned to ISG for help. When the lines at Midwest BankCentre started to grow unusually long due to a sluggish network and unresponsive business applications, Larry Albrecht, senior vice president of operations, thought he knew the answer—a new T1 connection.
“We’re a midsize community bank here in the St. Louis area,” said Albrecht. “We do not have a large IT staff. So, when we need help with our technology we typically turn to an outside provider.”
Because Albrecht had already established a good working relationship with ISG Technology, he brought his network bandwidth issues to them for help. “When Larry first contacted us about his problem he was sure that they needed to add a new T1 line,” said Shanon Lightle, account executive at ISG. “I asked him if he would allow us to run an assessment of his network first to determine what his exact problems were before he invested in a new T1 connection. Thankfully, he said ‘yes.’”
With Albrecht’s blessing, a senior network engineer with ISG installed a PacketShaper from Blue Coat to assess their network performance issues. What ISG discovered was eye-opening.
“The basic problem was that we had limited to no visibility, or control of our network,” Albrecht said. “But bandwidth wasn’t our biggest problem.”
The PacketShaper that ISG installed also provided them with a granular level of insight into the bank’s Internet usage during business hours. That’s where they discovered two things. “First, we discovered that a portion of our problem was caused by employees checking their Gmail, updating Facebook and watching YouTube videos, bogging down what bandwidth we had available.” said Albrecht. But this wasn’t their biggest challenge.
“Not only was our connection to corporate email and file sharing running slow,” he said, “but our business application that supports our client account creation and modification was practically unusable, causing updates to client accounts to take, on average, about 15 minutes.” These two issues combined to create long lines at the bank counter and a lot of unhappy clients.
In response to these concerns, ISG installed a Blue Coat Mach5 WAN Optimization solution, which allowed Albrecht’s staff to drastically reduce the size of their business data and file transfers, and increase their bandwidth by 90 percent.
In addition, files and applications that previously required more than 15 minutes to open and update were now responding in fewer than 60 seconds. ISG also deployed a Blue Coat PacketShaper to allow Albrecht and staff to begin shaping their recreational traffic and set maximum thresholds giving priority to business applications. The business results were dramatic. Lines got smaller. Clients smiled more often, and employees at the bank got their work done faster and with less stress. Albrecht was pleased.
“We talked to a couple of different IT service providers about our need for a better solution to our bandwidth problem,” he said, “but we went with ISG primarily because we were comfortable with what we’d experienced with them in the past.”
As happy as Albrecht is with the results, he’s quick to admit that the project had its share of road bumps along the way. “I’ll be real honest, we ran into a few snags with this, when our NetApp SAN application encountered some issues. But ISG was quick to involve NetApp’s engineering team to address that problem,” said Albrecht. “It was gratifying to know that ISG’s relationship with the vendor allowed them to get such a quick response to our problem. ISG did a very good job of jumping on the issues and dealing with frustrations as we encountered them.”
Thanks to ISG’s assessment of the bank’s network, Midwest was able to increase client satisfaction, address their bandwidth issues, and optimize their business applications to improve responsiveness and regain control of their network.
“What I like about ISG is that they’re not a large, anonymous company,” said Albrecht, “and when I call them I’m not talking to an operator in an enormous call center who creates a trouble ticket and maybe calls us back in a few days. Instead, I know that ISG will take my call and respond quickly. They’re very consistent and they’ve shown great interest in establishing a long-term working relationship with our business.”
If you’d like to talk to someone at ISG Technology, Inc. about how they can help your business improve efficiency and address network issues like these, please feel free to call (877) 334-4474 or visit them online at www.isgtech.com.