The right time comes for a long-considered migration

The right time comes for a long-considered migration

The Challenge

For 107 years, state-chartered Hancock County Savings Bank has served its Community with premier mortgage lending products with a focus on first-time homeownership. Since it granted its first mortgage loan in 1899, Hancock County Savings Bank (HCSB) has become one of its community’s leading lenders, establishing a new record for mortgage loan originations in 2003. In an age when bank mergers are
commonplace, HCSB has remained an independent bank, helping to fulfill the dream of home ownership, providing a fair return on deposits, and making its community a better place to live.

For nearly 13 years, HCSB had relied on local firm, VAI/Computerland, for IT consulting and support. When Nortec purchased VAI/Computerland in 2005, HCSB had already been contemplating a migration from Novell to Microsoft. “We’d been considering a migration for 5 or 6 years – it’s something we reviewed every year,” says Doug Comm, Vice President of Technology for HCSB. “But we were waiting for the timing to be right for the migration.”

As with many banking institutions, HCSB outsources services like the processing of bank statements to an outside vendor. So when the bank’s processor, Open Solutions, Inc. (OSI), indicated that it would soon begin phasing out its Novell-based services for Microsoft, Nortec Systems Engineer Dave Kitzinger, who had worked on HCSB’s network for the past 13 years, felt that now might be the right time to make the conversion: “For many years, there wasn’t an overwhelming business case to make a migration – systems were running well, and the bank was functioning with its capabilities.” But once OSI indicated that its newer solutions required Microsoft, this provided the impetus to make a migration. “While we’d been reasonably happy with Novell, because OSI was moving to Microsoft, we thought now was the time,” says Comm.

It appeared the time had come for Hancock County Savings Bank to undergo its long-considered migration.

The Solution

Although the migration was due in large part to its processor’s conversion to Microsoft, HCSB hoped to solve some other network shortcomings as well. The bank employs a small IT staff, but its 4 branches are spread throughout Hancock County, West Virginia, which made deploying updates and security patches time-consuming and difficult for the small staff. HCSB hoped the migration to Microsoft would give them better control of its desktops and allow its IT staff to dispatch group policies and security patches remotely, thereby increasing efficiency as well as functionality.

In addition to better work flow and continuing its relationship with its processing vendor, HCSB was looking to the migration to provide additional reporting capabilities, better security, and enhanced features for audit reporting. “Novell didn’t really have great solutions for audit reporting, such as performance reports,” says Comm. “We knew Microsoft provided better capabilities.”

Careful planning and factoring in downtime was critical for this migration. “They’re a bank, so when they open up at 8am, they need to be ready to go,” points out Kitzinger. HCSB was also concerned about how the migration might affect its teller software. “We’d been having some problems that were network-related, and we wondered how the migration might positively or negatively affect our teller software,” says Comm.

In planning the migration, Nortec and HSCB met to discuss implementation, timeline, and budget requirements. Training for its IT staff and users was also crucial to the migration, as was functional testing – and this all needed to be in place before the actual deployment.

Over his 13-year relationship with HCSB Bank, Nortec IT Administrator Dave Kitzinger has come to know his customer – and its network – very well, so when it came to planning the migration, Kitzinger knew what to expect. “I’ve been maintaining HCSB’s network for so long that I already knew about any potential issues, and we solved them before they could become problems,” says Kitzinger.

The migration is midway to completion, and by all accounts, it’s gone exceedingly well. “The migration could not have gone smoother,” says Comm. “We haven’t had any problems, and in fact, the migration has even solved a few issues that we discovered were a result of the old Novell network.”

The Benefits

Even with its server migration halfway completed, HCSB is already enjoying the benefits of its new servers. “Just moving to Microsoft products has eliminated some of the issues with our software. We also anticipate being able to eliminate a piece or two of hardware,” says Comm.

And HCSB’s hopes of increasing its IT staff’s efficiency are soon to be realized as well. “We expect that the migration will help us automatically send updates and security patches. With our old servers, our staff had to touch each PC, which was extremely time-consuming,” says Comm.

Nortec continues to provide support to HCSB on an as-needed basis, as well as emergency support. But perhaps the biggest benefit HCSB has realized comes as a result of its long-term relationship with Nortec. “Nortec, Dave Kitzinger and Dave Cearfoss are very important to our business,” says Comm. “They have a good knowledge of what our bank is about. We feel fortunate to have them.”

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