"It used to take three or four hours to retrieve a file from our archives; now it's three to four minutes." That simple statement from BancFirst Senior Vice President Scott Copeland speaks volumes to the value of the bank's new electronic document management and storage system.
In fact, data access speed was a threshold issue for the organization, which ranks as the largest financial institution both in the state of Oklahoma and the Federal Reserve's Tenth District. BancFirst's check processing system encompasses 60 BancFirst locations across the state, handling upwards of 325,000 check images per day - about eight gigabytes of information. The imaging system itself had proved a success, but getting consistently fast retrieval times continued to elude the organization. According to Copeland, this posed a significant problem.
"Our 'total customer care' philosophy is built on the idea that we can compete with larger institutions by providing a higher level of responsiveness and customer service," says Copeland. "Our imaging system was a big step in that direction, letting us pull up a customer's check from as long as five years ago and display it on an ordinary workstation screen. But customers looking for this information usually want it now, and we weren't able to meet that need."
Relief came in the form of Oklahoma City-based integrator Advanced Financial Solutions (AFS). After assessing the situation, AFS recommended a two-pronged approach that would improve both the system's speed and its capacity. "We've had considerable experience with OTG's software, running the spectrum from standalone, single-drive PCs to 20-terabyte Storagetek libraries," said Mitchell Votah, AFS Network/Hardware Engineer, "and the response times are invariably good. We recommended OTG to BancFirst for its stability and reliability."
Within a matter of weeks, AFS had installed ApplicationXtender™ for document imaging and management and DiskXtender™ for online data storage management, ensuring a solution that Votah says "would make a large amount of data transparently available to users with no downtime."
Restoring Files in 40 Minutes — Not 36 Hours
BancFirst's storage strategy now calls for check images to be stored on a RAID system for 60 to 90 days, then migrated to optical disk for about six months before archiving in a Storagetek 9714 tape library, a device for which OTG custom-wrote software.
BancFirst Senior Systems Integration specialist Mark Masters is quick to praise the new configuration, citing tests that show DiskXtender using 89 to 90 percent of the DLT drive's capacity during transfer, versus other applications running at only 5 to 10 percent. "We're getting transfer rates of about 250 megs per minute," Masters says. "Right now, for instance, I'm restoring about 7.5 gigs and it takes about 40 minutes — versus the 36 hours it took us previously. That, in my opinion, is the highest benefit."
Masters also contrasts OTG's technical support favorably with otherexperiences he's had: "I'd have to say that not only is OTG one of the easiest vendors to get through to, OTG's staff is extremely knowledgeable. The response to a question is invariably 'Here's the
problem. Here's what you need to do to fix it.'," Masters says.