Reducing Costs with 'Thin' Client Technology

Faster service and improved productivity can be tremendous competitive advantages. So when Union Square Federal Credit Union ($174 million, 26,000 members, Sheppard AFB, TX) recognized an opportunity to achieve both by moving to a Windows-based environment, the credit union jumped at the chance.

 

By USERS INCORPORATED - A FISERV CONNECTION

 

Faster service and improved productivity can be tremendous competitive advantages. So when Union Square Federal Credit Union ($174 million, 26,000 members, Sheppard AFB, TX) recognized an opportunity to achieve both by moving to a Windows-based environment, the credit union jumped at the chance.

''With access to our Intranet, e-mail, member statements, and other applications, we felt our staff could work more efficiently and serve members better,' says Joe Mannion, Network Administrator. The only question: How to make the move cost-effectively? By capitalizing on the thin client/server environment of its core system supplier, USERS, Union Square took a smart approach that yielded significant savings.

Opening the Door

A major element of the credit union's move to a Windows environment was the implementation of USERS' Navigator solutions, designed to improve service and productivity through a familiar browser interface. DataSafe® Navigator's thin client/server design means the software can reside on a central server, instead of individual workstations. And that design opened the door to an attractive option: to consider replacing the credit union's dumb terminals with thin client devices, instead of more costly PCs.

Mannion performed a cost-benefit analysis comparing PCs to the increasingly popular thin clients - small-footprint devices with no hard drives or other ''moving parts'' prone to failure. What he discovered was the opportunity to save 50% on hardware by choosing thin clients - without sacrificing performance or functionality. With almost 100 workstations involved, that meant nearly $70,000 in avoided costs for hardware alone.

Launched in November of 2000, Union Square's computing environment now consists of Neoware thin devices on the desktops of tellers, financial service reps and other front-line staff (with a few PCs left for end users running demanding applications requiring a hard drive). The workstations are connected to servers that run USERS' Teller and Lending Navigator solutions, along with Microsoft Terminal Services and Citrix Metaframe technologies.

Better All Around

Beyond the hardware savings, the thin client/server environment resulted in other tangible benefits:

  • Reduced labor. ''We change or upgrade some piece of software almost every week here,'' Mannion says. ''Instead of having to visit each branch and each workstation, I can log onto the server and give access to new software to anyone who needs it, all at the same time.'' End users gain access to new features faster, while the credit union saves on labor.
  • Lower software licensing fees. For some applications - like Microsoft Office - Union Square was able to reduce its license fees because the applications are now installed on one server instead of many workstations.
  • Reduced risk of data loss. ''If you use PCs and your staff doesn't back up regularly - which they rarely do - you'll lose data when the PC crashes,'' Mannion says. But in the thin client/server environment, the data is saved on a central file server that's backed up nightly.
  • Improved security. By limiting the point of entry for new software to a single contact - the server - Union Square reduces security risks. ''Our staff can't bring in a file from home and introduce a virus into the network,'' Mannion says. ''It's a much more secure environment.''
  • Smaller footprint. On the teller line, where space is at a premium, the thin clients are especially welcome. The Neoware units can lie flat on the counter with the monitor on top, taking up no more space than the monitor itself.

As for the staff's response, Mannion says they're finding the thin clients can do everything they need - and typically faster than before. ''Our existing staff became comfortable with the new hardware and the Navigator software pretty quickly,'' he notes. ''And new hires jump right in, because it's an environment they find very familiar and intuitive.''


For more information about USERS' technology solutions for credit unions, send an e-mail to info@users.com or call 1-800-523-7282.

 

 

May 5, 2003


Comments

 
 
 
  • We are a IT Company who specializes in Thin Client Technology for Credit Union in Canada. It is nice to see the realization of savings and managing of their IT being mentioned. Philip Hamlin Summerside, PE Canada
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