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PriorityOne Bank featured in Microsoft Case Study

PriorityOne Bank customers know that they can depend on their bank to serve them wherever they are, and in a state where agriculture is the top employer, that often means at the farmhouse kitchen table. Based in Magee, Mississippi, the bank takes pride in its personal service. Until now, unreliable connectivity stalled those kitchen table transactions. PriorityOne Bank’s solution? Microsoft Surface Pro LTE enabled by eSIM. With Microsoft eSIM on Windows technology, PriorityOne Bank overcomes connection availability, and managing data subscriptions is now a breeze.

PriorityOne Bank, located in Mississippi, has 15 full-service branches and three mortgage offices scattered throughout the state. It’s a true regional institution—a place where customers feel valued and at home. And PriorityOne Bank, frontline workers have the same warm relationships with the bank’s senior management team as they do with their customers. Those frontline workers shrink the distance between Mississippi’s rolling green fields and PriorityOne offices with technology. But in many areas where the scenery impresses, Wi-Fi is less stellar. That’s why PriorityOne IT is adopting Long-Term Evolution or LTE-connected devices—such as Windows 10 devices like Microsoft Surface Pro with LTE—that use cellular networks to connect to the internet. By replacing physical subscriber identity module (SIM) cards with embedded SIM (eSIM) technology to easily enable LTE connectivity when they need it, PriorityOne Bank is accelerating productivity for its mobile workers and its IT department.

Helping customers wherever they are

The customer service ethos is tightly woven into everything PriorityOne Bank does. “It’s the personalized service that sets our bank apart,” says Justin Griffith, Technology Officer at PriorityOne Bank. “We’re a true community bank, and we work with a lot of Mississippi farmers to secure their commercial loans.” These customers might face long travel times to complete a transaction at a branch, losing valuable work time on the farm.

PriorityOne Bank wants to make life easier for all its customers. The bank has automated mortgage software, but the predominance of areas with poor internet connectivity can defeat the sincerest efforts to serve customers on their farms, to the frustration of PriorityOne Bank mortgage lenders. “Mortgage lenders are the most prevalent mobile users—they often travel to the customer’s home. LTE technology gives more flexibility to PriorityOne Bank customer offerings. Mortgage lenders can operate just as they would inside bank walls.”

That’s why Griffith was intrigued when local mobile network provider C Spire approached him about a new service offering that uses Surface Pro LTE devices with Windows 10 Pro with eSIM. The eSIM technology is a software-enabled device feature that replaces physical SIM cards and allows eSIM-capable devices to connect to the internet via a cellular data connection. Even without a physical SIM card installed on the device, users can access data from mobile operators offering the service. Organizations that use mobile device management (MDM) solutions, such as Microsoft Intune or MobileIron, can assign cellular subscriptions to their managed devices almost effortlessly.

With Surface Pro LTE devices that are eSIM-capable and C Spire's support for this technology, PriorityOne Bank is truly able to serve its customers wherever they are located. This has amplified the level of service PriorityOne Bank can provide to its customers. “Many rural areas where our customers live have limited internet connectivity. With LTE so easily enabled by eSIM, that is no longer a problem,” says Griffith.

Tapping into accelerated productivity

Easy and seamless provisioning is the productivity booster that small IT departments like PriorityOne Bank’s often need. With just three full-time employees and two part-time help desk technicians, PriorityOne Bank has a busy IT department. Griffith hopes to turn the department’s attention to more strategic purposes. He sees enormous potential for time savings in the streamlined management that is possible with eSIM on Windows devices and MDM providers. His team spends hours provisioning user devices—from tablet devices and laptops to mobile phones. “eSIM on Windows saves time because you don't have to order and activate a physical SIM card,” he explains. “After the employee signs into the device, it’s active—it deploys itself. We are saving an estimated 26 hours of time per device.”

PriorityOne Bank puts security first. The ability to manage not just devices but assets as well with MDM —notably eSIM—takes provisioning and deprovisioning to a new level. Griffith foresees automated provisioning that begins with a notification to the carrier to activate a group of eSIM devices, importing the information into eSIM, and having those devices connected and in users’ hands in record time. “When employees leave, it’s a simple matter to revoke eSIM access, rendering the devices useless until we redeploy them,” he says.

Griffith’s team is planning other productivity enhancements. Many of PriorityOne Bank’s IT operations happen after hours. The initiative to deploy LTE-enabled devices with eSIM originated from the mortgage department, “but it means just as much to our IT workers,” he says. When all his team is out of the office on remote calls and an employee at one of the branches has a technical problem, one of the team can fix it from any area where LTE service is available. “The flexibility we have with LTE service coupled with easily provisioned eSIM on Windows technology helps us to manage our employees’ technological needs,” says Griffith.

Innovating to solve everyday problems

With the promise of eSIM on Windows technology to reach customer service and IT productivity goals, PriorityOne Bank IT leadership is forging ahead, building on this experience to creatively address unexpected situations. Mississippi is occasionally at the mercy of extreme weather conditions, and PriorityOne Bank, like organizations everywhere, as Griffith wryly notes, encounters uncommonly bad luck. One bank branch uses a fiber-optic cable–based landline as its connection to a cloud-based backup solution. It recently lost its connection when not one but both lines used by the branch were severed. “With LTE enabled by eSIM on Windows, we’d have redundancy that would afford us an immediate alternative,” says Griffith.

PriorityOne Bank never forgets its root value: people come first. It’s using technology to breach the gaps between remote customers and dedicated PriorityOne Bank staff. “We see a lot of banks migrating to technology instead of person-to­-person service,” explains Griffith. “We understand that a lot of people would rather talk to real people. That’s why I’d like to see our loan officers be able to use loan origination software directly at a client’s home. We’re poised to do that with devices equipped with eSIM on Windows.”

Find out more about PriorityOne Bank on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Source: Carolyn Higgins

 PriorityOne Bank, based in Magee, Mississippi, operates fifteen offices in eleven Mississippi communities: Collins, Seminary, Hattiesburg, Magee, Mendenhall, Richland, Brandon, Ridgeland, Flowood, Pearl, Pelahatchie, and Morton. The bank has assets of approximately $650 million.