Locally owned American National Bank of Fremont has served the community of Fremont, Nebraska since 1983. To differentiate itself from larger, corporate banks, American National Bank prides itself on providing exceptional customer service. To support that endeavor, bank employees rely heavily on the Microsoft® Office system for daily business processes, including loan documentation and customer mailings. In the first phase of a Microsoft Office Professional 2007 deployment, the latest features helped employees to realize greater efficiency and expand their use of Microsoft Office programs. For example, because the Microsoft Office Fluent™ user interface is more intuitive for users, employees are able to complete data analysis tasks 30 percent faster than before.
American National Bank of Fremont is proud to be locally owned and singly dedicated to serving the community of Fremont, Nebraska. With three locations and more than 40 em-ployees, the bank manages approximately U.S.$150 million in assets.
||In Office Professional 2007… the [mail merge] process is pretty straightforward. So now some of our employees are doing the mail merges themselves, which is a good thing for me.
IT Administrator, American National Bank of Fremont
According to Mark Schmidt, the bank’s IT Administrator and sole internal IT support resource, bank employees rely on the Microsoft® Office system for their daily work processes. Employees use Microsoft Office Word for general loan documentation and letters to customers, as well as for creating documents to support regular internal training sessions. Bank employees also use the Microsoft Office Outlook® messaging and collaboration client for e-mail. “A few of our employees are a little less tech-savvy, and sometimes they would send huge files to coworkers. Unfortunately, some of the branch locations have slower connections, and this would cause some real slowdowns,” recalls Schmidt.
Bank employees regularly use Microsoft Office Excel® spreadsheet software for business analysis for loans and other forms. Employees also regularly analyze data that Schmidt would import into Office Excel from a specialized line-of-business application for banking. This import process could take quite a while to complete because Schmidt had to import the data manually and then forward the spreadsheet on to employees in e-mail. In addition, so much data was imported that the spreadsheet regularly ran out of room, causing Schmidt to modify his searches to run in several “batches” in order to gather all of the information that the employees needed to complete a task.
Certain jobs, such as teller, require employ-ees to change stations throughout the day. When a new user needed to sign on to a different machine, Schmidt had to guide the employee through the process, either in person by driving out to the regional branches or by telephone. Further complicating Schmidt’s job was the mixed environment of Microsoft Office suites that the bank was running. “We were running the 2000, 2002, and 2003 Office releases on various work-stations. Whenever we got a new machine, we would license a Microsoft Office suite with it. The result was a piecemeal environment,” says Schmidt. In addition, this mixed environ-ment caused problems when updates needed to be deployed to employees using the 2000 version, which required inefficient manual updates on a regular basis. The overall situation required Schmidt to repeatedly consistently address user problems or assist in tasks that were more complicated for users, thus filling his day with help-desk tasks.
Further, American National Bank of Fremont maintains a strong commitment to customer service, including expeditious and personal responsiveness. To continually exceed customer expectations, employees are always looking for new ways to fully address customer needs in real time.
With the goal of eventually standardizing on a single Microsoft Office suite, the bank purchased 15 licenses for Microsoft Office Professional 2007 as well as the Windows Vista® operating system through Heartland Technology Solutions, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner. “American National Bank wanted to equip its staff with the best tools possible so that they could respond to their customers’ needs quickly and effectively,” says Arlin Sorensen of Heartland Technology Solutions, which has assisted the bank with its hardware, software, and technology needs for more than five years.
Migrating employees to Office Professional 2007 has been a staged effort; the bank’s “power users” were the first employees to receive the software. Says Schmidt, “I pinpointed a couple of our more computer-savvy staff members, who went on to help train others.”
In planning the migration, Schmidt also con-sidered the bank employees’ collaboration needs. “In our loan administration staff, we have four or five people who share docu-ments regularly. We wanted to keep them all on the same version, so we made sure we migrated those employees all at once.”
Schmidt handled the migration to Office Professional 2007 himself. “So that I didn’t disrupt employees, I went in after hours and copied the CD onto the network and installed from there. I just manually went to each machine and did it.”
Schmidt was pleased with how quickly and smoothly the deployment went. “We haven’t had any issues at all. In the past we had experienced problems with legacy software and other deployments, but we’ve had no problems with Office Professional 2007,” says Schmidt.
|Figure 1. American National Bank employees use visually rich SmartArt capabilities in the 2007 Office system to present information in compelling ways.|
Microsoft Office Professional 2007 has minimized Schmidt’s daily support task list through employee use of the Microsoft Office Fluent™ user interface, SmartArt® graphics, improved data analysis tools, and other features. “When you’re a one-person shop, anything that frees up your time is a good thing!” says Schmidt.
Improved Productivity for Employees and IT Staff
Finding the new mail merge features in Office Professional 2007 to be more intuitive and user friendly, American National Bank of Fremont employees are increasing their productivity. Now, employees no longer need assistance from the IT staff. “I used to do all of the marketing mail merges, where we were pulling information out of our banking system. In Office Professional 2007, using Excel, and Outlook or Word, the process is pretty straightforward. So now some of our employees are doing the mail merges themselves, which is a good thing for me,” says Schmidt.
Also, Schmidt used to import data from the core banking system into Office Excel for employees to sort as they required. Because the Ribbon in the Office Fluent user interface makes organizing data so much easier now, Schmidt estimates that employees are completing data analysis 30 percent faster.
||American National Bank wanted to equip its staff with the best tools possible so that they could respond to their customers’ needs quickly and effectively.
Heartland Technology Solutions
In Office Excel 2007, Schmidt appreciates that spreadsheets offer a greater number of rows and columns. “We can fit more on one sheet than we could previously. Before, sometimes we had to limit the data we pulled in, just to try to fit it into one spreadsheet. I haven’t run into that with Excel 2007,” says Schmidt.
In addition, Schmidt regularly traveled to and from the company’s various locations to assist employees with setting up new user profiles. With Office Professional 2007, says Schmidt, “you just start Outlook 2007 and—depending on who is logged on to the computer—Active Directory® just goes out and looks for which mailbox to use. It’s great, because now I don’t have to run around to each machine and set up a different profile when someone different logs on.” He esti-mates that this improvement alone has saved him approximately three hours per month.
Finally, another productivity increase that has helped streamline business operations is the automatic deployment of software updates. Companies that are using the 2007 Office system in combination with Windows Vista can turn on automatic updating, so that Microsoft Update is always on, providing a more simplified end user experience. This provides significant timesavings for Schmidt because he no longer has to manually download and install updates for the Microsoft Office system.
More Effective Documents and Presentations
The powerful graphics features, including the visually compelling SmartArt capabilities, in the 2007 Office system have helped American National Bank to create more memorable training documents and presentations. Now the bank can more efficiently convey important information to employees, such as changes to banking regulations, process refinements, and updates to the company organizational chart.
Customer service is a core company value for American National Bank. By using programs in the 2007 Office system, such as Office Outlook 2007, to rapidly communicate customer inquiries or alerts throughout the branch offices, bank employees “can now answer customer questions more quickly by taking advantage of technology in real time rather than having to call the customer back and potentially lose business,” says Sorensen.
Greater Bandwidth Availability
Because the 2007 Office system file formats are optimized to consume anywhere from 50 to 75 percent less network space, the amount of available bandwidth has increased. According to Schmidt, “Previously, when employees would send huge files in e mail, this would slow down the network, and since some of our branches have slower connections, the file size improvement in the 2007 Office system makes a real difference.”
Microsoft Office System
The Microsoft Office system is the business world’s chosen environment for information work, providing the programs, servers, and services that help you succeed by transforming information into impact.
For more information about the Microsoft Office system, go to:
For More Information
For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-2495. Customers who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234 in the United States or (905) 568-9641 in Canada. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to:
For more information about Heartland Technology Solutions products and services, call (712) 744-3619 or visit the Web site at:
For more information about American National Bank of Fremont products and services, call (420) 727-8600 or visit the Web site at: