Austin, TX (PRWEB) May 3, 2005
Community bankers are battling to get more out of their existing technology while keeping up with the rising costs, complexity and regulatory requirements. Now they have an objective and affordable support resource for optimizing their technology resources, managing the regulatory burden and improving their bottom line.
Newly formed Abound Resources, Inc. of Austin, Texas, (http://www.aboundresources.com) offers technology support services through a new, industry-shaping, web-based product, says Brad Smith, Co-Founder and President. (Photo: http://www.aboundresources.com/smithpicture.jpg.)
ÂCommunity financial institutions now have access to an inexpensive alternative to high-priced consultants. Our impartial advice cuts through the vendor hype,Â said the former head of Deloitte & ToucheÂs community bank technology consulting practice.
Two years ago, Abound ResourcesÂ predecessor company, IntegraTeam, learned through customer surveys that the IT challenges had changed dramatically in community financial institutions. Although technology costs had grown to be the second-largest non-interest expense, technology utilization had dropped to less than 50%, and the IT regulatory burden required more and more resources.
ÂWe realized that the traditional high-dollar consulting model was not the solution,Â recounted Smith, a 15-year community bank technology consulting veteran. ÂSo, we spent two years designing and building a breakthrough product. We asked 25 community banks, as well as industry leaders, trade associations, regulators and banking professors, to envision their ideal technology support environment.
ÂOur team asked them what it would look like, how they would access it, what information it would provide and how much it should cost,Â he said. ÂThe result is a brand new business model Â what we call strategic technology support Â primarily embodied in our key product, ClickSupportÂ (http://www.aboundresources.com/products-services_ClickSupport.htm). ÂIt is so unique that it has a patent pending!
ÂOur goal is to provide affordable, unbiased strategic technology support to community banks across the country. Our product can help increase the optimization of existing technology by up to 50%; save up to 30% in hardware, software, outsourcing and data communications costs; help manage the regulatory burden, and save the IT folks time and money,Â Smith emphasized.
Response to New Business Model
Among initial clients for the pioneering business model are Arundel Federal Savings Bank in Baltimore, MD; Brenham National Bank in Brenham, TX, and Redstone Bank in Houston, TX.
ÂAbound Resources has developed the best IT support solution for our industry,Â says Doug Borchardt, CFO of Brenham National Bank. ÂTheir product is helping us make technology decisions, better, faster and cheaper than we ever have in the past. For CFOÂs who want nothing but the best, Abound Resources is a simple choice. It provides strategic direction on IT in a non-intrusive manner, and, most of all, it is affordable!Â
Stats & Studies Reveal Needs
A recent study of members of the Independent Bankers Association of Texas (IBAT) Â conducted by Abound Resources and to be released in the May issue of Alliance of Independent Bankers Â revealed that 91% wanted greater optimization of their technology resources.
ÂThis is the biggest technology challenge we hear from community financial institutions across the country, whether they are metro or rural, in-house or outsourced, large or small. These bank executives are frustrated with the idea of continuing to buy more and more technology products before they get better optimization of their existing resources,Â Smith said.
In many community financial institutions, the number of technology vendors and products has tripled or even quadrupled in the past decade. And yet, only 27% of community financial institutions have an executive with full-time IT responsibilities. Many community banks manage the IT function on a part-time basis with the CFO, COO or cashier overseeing a network manager or data processing operator.
ÂThe intrinsic strength of our company is our knowledgebase repository of collective community financial institution experience, both good and bad, with technologies, vendors, regulators, customer acceptance of new technologies and bank boardsÂ challenges and questions with regard to new technologies,Â Smith observed.
Sharon Sokol, VP-Product Development at Abound Resources, says the web-based application provides reviews on which technologies work, counsel on software decisions and strategies on how to manage the regulatory burden. It has sample documents on policies and procedures that can be customized and implemented to meet both management and bank examinersÂ expectations. Sokol is the former COO of Southwest Bank of Texas and was Director of Product Management for Bisys.
Abound Resources already has nearly 80 specific white papers on the hottest technology topics in the community financial services industry. How-to topics range from increasing penetration of Internet banking and bill payment to simplifying network management; from implementing proven technology purchasing practices to building a risk management culture.
In addition to the web-based application, the firm provides telephone and email support on customersÂ technology questions. It also is available to provide support on a bankÂs technology projects Â from the smallest to the largest.
ÂMany banks are telling us that our IT Optimization WizardÂ, included in ClickSupportÂ, is the most valuable component in our product,Â Smith said. ÂIt measures a bankÂs unique IT optimization and makes specific recommendations to improve optimization, save money and better align IT with the institutionÂs business strategy. The tool then creates an action plan that they can manage. Our objective is to see bottom line improvement as their optimization scores rise.
ÂOptimization is about more than just buying and using the right systemsÂ, he contends. ÂIt also requires using proven IT management practices to ensure that all of your technology resources are working together to support your institutionÂs strategy. Community financial institutions donÂt have unlimited budgets. ThatÂs why optimization is their best framework for managing the cost and complexity of technology in todayÂs competitive environment.
ÂOur technology support solutions will help banks optimize those technology resources and improve the bottom line. That will be appreciated by the bankÂs management and investors, employees, regulators and customers,Â Smith stated.
For More Information or Interviews:
Brad Smith, President, Abound Resources, Inc., Austin TX, 512-231-1750, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jacque Chrisman, The Chrisman Group, Austin TX, 512-345-8969, Jacque@ChrismanGroup.com
# # #