Sterling Bank reduces operating costs and speeds product delivery

The IBM PureFlex System offering’s built-in expertise transforms a bank’s core technology

Published on 08-Nov-2013

"PureFlex was an investment in our future. By choosing a converged infrastructure, we have created a new way of doing business. Instead of working to build an infrastructure, we are working to leverage and deliver on it." - Karl Kurrle, IT executive and senior vice president, Sterling Bank

Customer:
Sterling Bank

Industry:
Banking

Deployment country:
United States

Solution:
PureFlex, PureSystems, Enterprise Resource Planning, Systems & Network Management, Transforming Business

Overview

Sterling Bank is a commercial bank that serves Washington, Idaho, Oregon and California. With approximately 250 total locations, including 170 bank branches and commercial offices that provide residential loan, multifamily lending, wealth management and leasing services, the bank is Washington State’s largest commercial bank. Headquartered in Spokane, Washington, Sterling Bank employs nearly 2,700 people.

Business need:
As continued expansion threatened to be hindered by Sterling Bank’s difficult-to-maintain infrastructure, the bank sought an enterprise-class solution that would keep up, offering both depth and breadth.

Solution:
Sterling Bank implemented an IBM® PureFlex™ System offering because it is future- ready and delivers business value.

Benefits:
The bank expects the solution’s built-in expertise and standard processes to reduce its total cost of ownership (TCO).

Case Study

Sterling Bank is a commercial bank that serves Washington, Idaho, Oregon and California. With approximately 250 total locations, including 170 bank branches and commercial offices that provide residential loan, multifamily lending, wealth management and leasing services, the bank is Washington State’s largest commercial bank. Headquartered in Spokane, Washington, Sterling Bank employs nearly 2,700 people.

Upgrading from small-business to enterprise-class technology

While Sterling Bank grew from a small Washington State bank into a nearly USD10 billion bank spanning four states, its small-business technology did not change. The IT staff engineered a patchwork of different brands’ solutions to work together. The bank served as the point of integration, responsible for making sure all of the components worked appropriately and connections were in place between the various systems. Bank employees wanted to update applications, streamline processes and standardize systems; however, such demands would require upgraded support, servers and storage. In turn, the bank wanted to enhance the customer experience with updated processes and systems.

Sterling Bank’s aging IT environment was becoming costly and difficult to maintain. As expansion and acquisitions continued, the bank needed an enterprise-class solution that would keep up, offering both depth and breadth, to help speed processes and promote growth.

Future-ready IBM PureFlex System delivers business value

Sterling Bank implemented an IBM PureFlex System Enterprise edition, an offering from the IBM PureSystems™ family. The bank chose this offering largely because it is future-ready and delivers business value, not just technical expertise. Karl Kurrle, Sterling Bank’s IT executive and senior vice president, said: “PureFlex was an investment in our future. It would have been far more expensive to buy separate parts and engineer them ourselves. By choosing a converged infrastructure, we have created a new way of doing business. Instead of working to build an infrastructure, we are working to leverage and deliver on it. That is a very big shift.”

The PureFlex System provides an integrated computing, storage and switch network, and it offers the elasticity to tackle virtually any business process, whether cloud computing, mobile banking or internal applications. With embedded IBM SmartCloud® Entry software, the bank has the flexibility to make business decisions about its future in the cloud and capitalize on opportunities it would like to pursue. Using the IBM Flex System Manager™ node, Sterling Bank can manage all of its assets through a single console, greatly simplifying IT administration and maintenance.

Sterling Bank is also impressed with the offering’s resilience. With backup and recovery capabilities, the bank now feels confident in its ability to deal with a disaster. In fact, Sterling Bank has bought another PureFlex System and placed it in a secondary data center so that it can replicate its infrastructure.

Lower total cost of ownership and faster time to market

By implementing the PureFlex System, Sterling Bank gains a competitive advantage. It can better serve customers by providing banking applications with fuller function and by being more responsive to the line of business requirements that result in new opportunities to drive revenue. In addition, the bank expects the solution’s built-in expertise and standard processes to reduce its total cost of ownership (TCO). The offering’s single-box integration and embedded storage help the bank quickly and cost-effectively handle more data within a smaller footprint and more efficiently provision resources and business applications to meet new requirements. Prior to the PureFlex System, many of the bank’s machines operated at 80 percent capacity, but with the offering’s upgraded performance, the machines have ample available capacity.

Sterling Bank expects to simplify business processes because it can take advantage of the new infrastructure’s integrated design to teach multiple employees one standard workflow, which reduces risk as the bank grows and staff members change. Sterling Bank feels confident because as the PureFlex System transforms, the bank can simply adopt the changes without having to engineer updates and reconverge its infrastructure. Because the consolidated components work together, the bank can offload some of its engineering and take advantage of a long-term, consistent, reliable product. Engineers have a lighter workload, so they can spend more time focusing on performance, innovation and business value, ultimately creating a more robust workforce. Employees can not only complete a task, but also optimize it, which reduces costs and helps the bank better respond to business demands.

With the PureFlex System offering’s scalability and open architecture, Sterling Bank can continue expanding its business and acquiring other financial institutions. The bank can easily scale its infrastructure and incorporate an acquired bank’s systems into the PureFlex System offering’s receptive environment. Kurrle adds: “The most exciting part of this project is the transformation of our core technology. PureFlex takes us from a small shop to an enterprise-class environment that truly delivers business value.”

For more information

To learn more about IBM PureSystems offerings, please contact your IBM marketing representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/puresystems

To learn more about Sterling Bank, please visit www.bankwithsterling.com
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Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Hardware:
PureFlex Enterprise, PureFlex

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2013 IBM Corporation IBM PureSystems Route 100 Somers, NY 10589 Produced in the United States of America November 2013 IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, IBM Flex System Manager, IBM SmartCloud, PureFlex, and PureSystems are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at “Copyright and trademark information” at ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml This document is current as of the initial date of publication and may be changed by IBM at any time. Not all offerings are available in every country in which IBM operates. The performance data discussed herein is presented as derived under specific operating conditions. Actual results may vary. THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND ANY WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF NON-INFRINGEMENT. IBM products are warranted according to the terms and conditions of the agreements under which they are provided.