Grudi’s Telecom & Network Upgrade Saves 1st Summit Bank Over $100,000 to Date and Counting

1st Summit Bank is a 100-year-old financial institution serving Western Pennsylvania with 19 community offices. 1st Summit Bank puts a strong emphasis on being a true community bank with close relationships with the individuals, businesses, organizations and communities it serves. A key to maintaining this position is a deep dedication to providing exceptional service and leading products that are continuously enhanced and upgraded for its customers’ benefit. Efficient, robust network, Telecom and Mobility capabilities are essential to delivering the level of services 1st Summit is committed to, which is why the leadership came to Grudi for its expertise, capabilities and resources.

The Challenge

While 1st Summit Bank enjoys an excellent reputation for delivering top-quality financial services, it recognized that it needed to upgrade its network, Telecom and Mobility technologies to further enhance its services and capabilities, while reducing associated expenses. It initially approached Grudi for assistance with its network with a particular interest in how it could implement an SD-WAN (Software Defined Wide Area Network) solution. SD-WAN’s approach to managing a wide area network offers extensive flexibility and significant cost savings in most cases.

During initial consultations it became apparent that 1st Summit Bank could also gain an array of benefits from Grudi’s Managed Telecom, IT and Mobility Services. A key concern was its broadband connections. 1st Summit Bank had been paying higher than necessary rates for very small bandwidth connections through a banking services provider. Additionally, these connections were not from diverse providers, which exposed the bank to a much higher risk of downtime if failures occurred.

The Solution

Grudi’s Managed Services and network team worked closely with 1st Summit Bank’s in-house staff to clearly define existing capabilities, current and future needs, key concerns and other issues. A solution was then developed that included the following:

  • Migration from the bank’s legacy MPLS network to an advanced SD-WAN system.
  • Diversify internet providers and connections to provide redundancy and multiple connections sources.
  • Identify the sources of the best bandwidth connections at the lowest costs.
  • Installation of a cutting-edge hosted PBX (internet-based) phone system to replace its traditional system. 
  • Implement a robust, cloud-based disaster recovery system to greatly improve contingency actions.
  • Saved significant Mobility costs by putting a newer plan structure in place that is better aligned with the bank’s current needs, upgrading devices to newer models and technology, identifying and canceling unused lines and relieved the bank’s inhouse IT team of time-consuming tasks. In addition, helped create a new account with a separate carrier to supply internet connections for ATM locations, providing added security and redundancy.
  • Implementation of Grudi’s Managed Mobility solution to provide comprehensive outsourced mobility services that optimizes capabilities, minimizes costs and free up internal staff for other priorities.

The Results

As a result of the solution Grudi put into place, 1st Summit Bank is enjoying an array of benefits that enhance its capabilities, lower its costs, reduce stress on its staff and help the bank deliver enhanced services and customer care. Included are:

  • Moved from MPLS to fiber primary and coax secondary connections in an SD-WAN solution, saving cost and gaining flexibility.
  • Implemented an advanced cloud-based disaster recovery solution using Bigleaf devices that will dramatically cut down the complexity and time required to recover the DR systems in the event of a disaster. This system is superior because it allows banks to maintain the same IP addresses in both the primary and DR site, saving significant time and effort.
  • Installed a cloud-based hosted phone system that replaced its legacy on-premise solution. This greatly benefits the bank by increasing capabilities and functionality, improving diversity and redundancy for better DR and reducing the risk of an aging legacy phone system failure.
  • Identified primary and secondary internet connections that in most cases increased bandwidth by 5-10X while substantially reducing overall monthly costs.
  • Delivered a high-capability, upgraded phone system with a modern platform, fuller features and richer functionality.
  • Reduced the threat of on-premise system outages, lack of replacement parts and costly down time with a fully implementation cloud-based system, including disaster recovery.
  • Moved all legacy fax connections to cloud-based fax and ensured that old fax lines were disconnected. This reduced costs and avoids rushed, last-minute transitions when physical copper POTS lines are discontinued in the future.
  • Obtained significant credits as a result of dispute resolution, canceled accounts, contract promotions and other activities.
  • Recovered money by helping the bank sell its old phone system to a refurbishing/recycling company.
  • Gained significant savings, enhanced functionality and heightened security related to Mobility services and devices.

Financial benefits include:

  • 1st Summit Bank has saved more than $125,000 to date (February 2024) from the Grudi solution. These savings will also continue to grow.
  • Significant expected savings and efficiencies from migrating to cloud-based fax.
  • Mobility savings alone in 2023 were nearly $10,800. Average monthly Mobility savings are approximately $700.

“The Grudi team brought the expertise and resources we needed to enhance our network, Mobility and other capabilities. They have an excellent understanding of telecommunications in the banking and financial services industry. That is especially important because of security, compliance and other issues that are unique to banking. In addition to upgrading our technologies and capabilities, Grudi is saving us a significant amount of money. Their team is also performing time-consuming tasks through managed services that saves our in-house IT staff time. We look forward to working with Grudi into the future.”

Timothy W. Smith
SVP & Chief Information Officer, 1st Summit Bank 

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