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American River Bankshares Branches Out with Help from SOS
[April 12, 2007]

American River Bankshares Branches Out with Help from SOS


American River Bankshares Branches Out with Help from SOS
By Gia McNutt, CEO of SOS, Inc. (www.team-sos.com)

Overview
American River Bankshares (AMRB) is the parent company of 3 banks, American River Bank, North Coast Bank and Bank of Amador, and has 11 branch locations.

Challenge
"Because of AMRB’s growth, we were in the process of having a telcom audit performed when I came in, and got a recommendation to use an in-house system," says Kevin Bender, CIO at American River Bankshares, the parent company of American River Bank, which has offices in Sacramento and Placer Counties. "AMRB had a prior relationship with SOS, Inc. (suppliers of voice, data, and telephony management services) and, based on good earlier experiences, we wanted to expand their role."

Through consultation with Bender and other stakeholders, SOS created a detailed picture of the company’s resources and long-term business needs. AMRB needed to ensure its experienced staff was accessible, working efficiently, and able to provide the high level of advice and service to its Clients that is its hallmark. AMRB needed a robust, reliable, integrated business communications environment that would pay for itself after implementation. The challenge would be to control upfront costs and maximize uptime while migrating to the new system.

Solution
To start, SOS assessed and upgraded the AMRB network by implementing Citrix Server-Based computing technology, which centralized data and reduced network traffic over the LAN and WAN. AMRB’s network has redundancies built in, to ensure continuous uptime and peace of mind for AMRB management. Instead of replacing desktops across the enterprise, SOS engineers improved existing desktops’ performance in order to extend their lives. As a result of phase one changes, AMRB saw increased desktop and network functionality and reduced support and administration costs.
Over time, users at AMRB shifted to working on thin client terminals instead of PCs. These terminals are significantly cheaper than PCs, and easy to install. "We’ve saved in desktop expenditures, reduced downtime associated with desktop issues, and created a reliable and cost-effective WAN utilizing Citrix and Microsoft’s Server-based technology."

SOS also installed a NEC (News - Alert) business phone system several years ago with unified messaging, and launched a program of comprehensive support services for AMRB. As new technology became available, SOS stayed close to AMRB and expanded on the initial solution by implementing a Call Manager site.
"American River Bankshares has realized annual savings, and has improved its client service through solutions implemented by Special Order Systems," added Bender. "Solutions and support received through SOS include Citrix, a VPN, service/support contract and a centralized communications system. Since implementing Server-based computing, productivity has been enhanced, support costs minimized, and client workstations will have a longer life cycle."

Ongoing Relationship
SOS currently manages AMRB’s telephone system. In all, SOS has worked with AMRB continuously since 1999. "Back in the beginning, I brought SOS in to handle specifically telecom, but SOS kept stepping up and handling everything so well, that we decided to pull them in on our overall IT planning, implementation, and support," says Bender. "They were a lot more attentive than a competitor we were working with."
"In addition to getting good advice over the long term from SOS, I enjoy working them. We have a great bond. Rob Thornton [manager of professional services at SOS] is outstanding. They are also a great fit for us because we need a hybrid sort of outsourced support – that is, we have some internal personnel who can handle basics but need to outsource the higher level stuff. In my mind, SOS is best of class on telecom implementation and support – as well as network systems support. They have been our go-to resource when we can't resolve a technology problem on our own."


About American River Bankshares
American River Bankshares is the parent company of American River Bank, a community bank with offices in Sacramento and Placer Counties, that operates a family of financial service providers, including North Coast Bank in Sonoma County and Bank of Amador in Amador County. The Banks accept checking and savings deposits, offer money market deposit accounts and certificates of deposit, make secured and unsecured commercial and residential loans, and other installment and term loans, and offer other customary banking services, including Online Banking, Online Bill Pay Service and Visa Check Card Services.

About SOS
SOS, the leading provider of integrated advanced communications solutions for midsize and small businesses, supplies voice, data, and telephony management services that enable organizations to simplify communications, enhance productivity, and leverage real-time business intelligence. Often deployed over a single Internet Protocol platform, SOS’s solutions bridge the gap between legacy phone/data services and sophisticated telephony systems.
SOS’s ability to execute flexible and dynamic solutions around a common management process and to address the complete communications business challenge, which enable organizations to positively impact the bottom line of each of their business units, reduce costs, and deliver improved service to their end users.
SOS is headquartered in Rocklin, California with sales offices in the northwest. For more information, visit the Company’s website at www.team-sos.com or call 1.888-336-7671.


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