Citing cost savings and productivity gains, bank IT execs finally appear to be warming up to cloud-based productivity suites such as Google Apps for Business.
American Banker (registration required) recently reported on one such example, showing how the IT team at Georgia’s $1.2 billion Colony Bank ditched in-house servers and desktop email clients in favor of Google Apps for Business.
As reported by American Banker, Colony converted more than 330 employees to Google Apps last year. Now its bankers handle daily tasks like email, calendar, chat and more.
Since moving to Google Apps, Colony bankers interviewed for the article cited benefits of the migration to include such items as:
- Eliminating the need to maintain and manage email servers
- Productivity gains using Google App’s for daily workflow and tasks
- Collaboration tools to increase knowledge sharing
- Mobile-device friendly, for use in meetings to cut down on paper printouts
- Strong search capabilities
- Disaster recovery and storage of email
- Familiar user-interface for those already using Gmail for personal accounts
As reviewed in the article, part of Colony’s success with the migration came as a result of a strong training and communication plan. For example, Colony bankers, with the help of a third-party training firm, helped coach and train “Google Guides” at each of the 28 branch locations and corporate offices, to ensure a smooth transition to Google Apps.
As this case study shows, there appears to be a slow but growing trend of banks going to the cloud for email service and other productivity tools as a way to offset, among other things, costs.
To that end, Colony’s IT staff, as quoted in the article, estimated they used to spend around $80,000 a year for hardware and software for the existing in-house system. With a move to the cloud, Google Apps’ basic pricing is $50 per user (times 330 employees) per year – a savings, no doubt, making their CFO to smile all the way to the bank.