To make the most of available skilled resources, Teachers Mutual Bank Limited wanted an end-user computing solution that would eliminate administrative burden.
Teachers Mutual Bank Limited sees the smart use of technology as a way to continually build on the service it offers to Members. Given the technology skills shortage affecting all industry sectors, it was vital to enable the bank’s valued IT team to focus on these high value tasks. Additionally, the bank wanted to switch from the capital expenditure of device acquisition to an operational expenditure model, and after reviewing proposals, the Device as a Service (DaaS) model from Data#3 best met the bank’s needs.
Teachers Mutual Bank Limited is one of Australia’s largest mutual banks in its 56th year of operation with over 230,000 members and more than $10.4 billion in assets. Teachers Mutual Bank Limited is comprised of Teachers Mutual Bank, Firefighters Mutual Bank, Health Professionals Bank, UniBank and digital bank Hiver. Teachers Mutual Bank Limited is a Certified B Corporation, aligned with its purpose to provide banking for good, for those who do good.
Providing the best return means the organisation must play to its strengths. Already, the IT team had begun a sustained effort to reduce admin-heavy tasks in order for its skilled resources to focus on projects that drive better services and deliver meaningful outcomes. During the global COVID-19 pandemic, it became clearer than ever that this approach was necessary.
Teachers Mutual Bank Limited has a busy IT team that strives to offer the best possible outcome for the Members it serves. Their expertise is in demand, whether to build new services and capabilities, or to secure those already in place. Teachers Mutual Bank Limited CIO Gerard Smith1 said that it has become increasingly important for IT staff not to become bogged down in administration, prompting him to assess where it would make best sense for certain tasks to be handled by a trusted partner.
“We had already outsourced some areas and looked at what else we could give to other providers. Providing and supporting laptops was labour-intensive. We decided to lease laptops and wanted to make sure we weren’t spending a lot of time on admin tasks, so I considered whether it was something we could outsource to a partner like Data#3.”
Provisioning and supporting laptops was not only time-consuming, it was also disruptive. Other activities could be interrupted any time a user had a problem with their device, making it hard to sustain focus on priority projects.
“Provisioning a new laptop took at least an hour per device, so by the time it was imaged and ready for staff members, it would be close to 90 minutes in total. Then there’s the support, the maintenance issues that inevitably crop up. I didn’t want the team distracted,” said Smith.
“Instead of working through that endless list, the idea was to provide more meaningful tasks than troubleshooting devices.”
Workplace changes accelerated by changing COVID-19 restrictions served to highlight the wisdom of focusing on the core business needs. Given the role Teachers Mutual Bank Limited plays in the financial lives of its Members, business had to continue at all costs. The already busy IT team was stretched further still as it worked to keep the business operational as staff shifted from office to home, and then transitioned to a hybrid model. They were, said Smith, “some of the real heroes” at a time of immense upheaval.
“It felt like we doubled the amount of work in that first 12-months of COVID-19, and I think there came a point where everyone looked tired. Lightening the load by taking away some of the repetitive administration tasks, and the device troubleshooting, reduces that overload.”
Named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies (WME) from 2014-2022, Teachers Mutual Bank Limited has a reputation as an excellent workplace, but even these credentials do not make it immune to the global shortage of skilled IT workers. Smith sees carefully chosen ‘as a Service options’ as a way to complement the work of his team while limiting the impact if skill shortages in the IT sector worsen.
“Clearly, all industries are affected to some extent. From our perspective it has not been too bad; we are finding as we go through this time of change, that certain roles, like business analysts and security, are hardest to fill, and this is likely to continue. At the same time, IT is expected to do more within organisations, so we must make best use of our skills.”
Teachers Mutual Bank Limited opted for a ‘pay as you go’ Dell end-user computing (EUC) solution, with devices and services provisioned via a customised DaaS portal hosted by Data#3. This allows for streamlined procurement, and a decreased IT workload. When a new device is needed, a request is entered in the portal, and the assigned Data#3 DaaS Customer Success Manager fulfils the order from local strategically cached stock, without taking the bank’s IT staff away from their priority tasks and delivering a zero-touch deployment
“For the users, the experience was no different – the new laptop arrived at their house or office, wherever they work, it is just now issued by Data#3,” outlined Smith.
“Data#3 had already been handling purchase of equipment for us, so it made sense to continue. They have the devices in their warehouse for us, we provided the image for the laptops, and they do the rest.”
With a newly updated fleet of laptops, staff are enjoying the performance and collaboration advantages of more modern machines. With most working remotely at least sometimes since the pandemic, exchanging ageing devices for the new Dell laptops has been welcomed enthusiastically. With hundreds of staff, Smith said that a few device issues will inevitably crop up, and it is here that he has noticed the greatest difference, both in the immediacy of replacement when needed, and in lower support time.
“When there is a warranty issue, or someone gets the blue wall of death on their machine, we just load the job with Data#3 and they take care of the rest, we don’t have to touch it. From our point of view, it is easy. We can provide more meaningful tasks for our IT team, instead of endless troubleshooting. It also gave us the opportunity to review security practices around end-user devices, for example.”
Outsourcing tasks does involve a cultural shift, something that Smith said should not be taken lightly. Change can always be challenging, and managing the transition requires understanding and communication. While it has required a shift in mindset, Smith noted that prioritising projects with a core business focus among his busy IT team, while drawing on external resources for some of the day-to-day functions, has been a strategy that works well.
Although the process is zero touch for the IT team, regular reporting and strong communication are important factors of the DaaS program’s success. As well as having access to check progress of any support ticket, Smith and his team can track the device program at an overall or granular level. The Data#3 team provides regular updates and monitors ongoing needs.
“Data#3 has weekly catchups with my team, and I have a monthly, high-level meeting. The team feedback has never had any concerns, Data#3 is always a good organisation to deal with, we have a shared value set, and they are very invested in our business success.”
With the DaaS solution now in place, Teachers Mutual Bank Limited is considering further outsourcing options that will complement their IT team’s strengths. As well as the benefits of predictable costs and simpler cashflow that arise from shifting from a capital to operational expenditure model where possible, the increased time and focus enable the team to build on their excellent work through the pandemic.
“We are in a position to look at what further things we could give to a provider, any admin-heavy tasks, phone services and so on. I don’t think I would change back to managing laptops in-house, I would be very definite about it being an outsourced option. Data#3 has a standardised approach, they have got the strong processes, we remove complexity and put it in someone else’s hands, and as a national organisation they can provide that level of service across the country,” commented Smith.
“We have to play to our strengths to give the best to our members. My view is that, like us, Data#3 is an organisation that does what it says it will do and if we work with them, we can get rid of components that bog us down, so we can do other things without hindrance.”
When considering embarking on DaaS, or any other outsourced service, Smith’s advice is to establish clear expectations from the beginning.
“It is important to set the rules of engagement early, and make sure you understand what you are getting into, so that you can get the best outcome and make it a success.”
Begin your journey towards digital procurement and modern device management, request an end user computing assessment or to learn more, reach out to a Data#3 DaaS specialist below.