Case Study
6 min

Bank Comes Out Ahead by Putting Its IT Infrastructure in CDW’s Hands

With CDW monitoring the company’s network and other aspects of its IT stack, technology leaders at North American Savings Bank can focus on innovation.

NORTH AMERICAN SAVINGS BANK, headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., has long relied on outsourcing to maintain and manage certain aspects of the organization’s IT infrastructure. Until recently, however, NASB procured this labor on an ad hoc basis, and typically only when something went wrong. 

“There was no continuity of service,” explains Jay Duthler, vice president of technology infrastructure for NASB. “We were getting skills by the hour, with no service-level agreements, from people who may or may not have had any familiarity with our environment. When we had a problem, we would either have to wait for those contractors to finish up with other customers or we would have to pay double. We wanted to transition to a committed managed services provider that knew our challenges and could solve problems as part of our team.” 

This pressure came to a head during the COVID-19 pandemic, when a booming demand for home loans spurred rapid growth at the bank. NASB increased its headcount from 400 to 700 employees over 18 months. To ensure reliability and availability of IT resources, the organization turned to CDW for managed services. 

“In CDW, we have a partner,” Duthler says. “I treat CDW’s managed services team as an extension of our organization. They know our environment, and they propose solutions that are aligned with our existing services. Our previous vendors didn’t have any skin in the game when it came to our success. CDW does.” 

Len Goebel, a client executive at CDW, says a close working relationship is key to improving IT outcomes for managed services customers. “It’s a proactive engagement, with a really strong, collaborative relationship,” he says. “We want to know that something is broken — and go in and fix it — before they even hear from their users that something is wrong. Our goal is to know their environment as well as they do so that there’s no learning curve when we come in to address an issue.”

computer screen

“In CDW, we have a partner. I treat CDW’s managed services team as an extension of our organization.”
— Jay Duthler, Vice President of Technology Infrastructure, North American Savings Bank


The increase in employee count at North American Savings Bank over a period of 18 months during the COVID-19 pandemic

Source: North American Savings Bank

Around-the-Clock Network Monitoring

NASB relied on CDW to upgrade its network and then provide support over time through enterprise network monitoring services. “Networking is the glue that holds the company and all of our business processes together,” Duthler says. “We didn’t really have a network team in place before. We had an on-call rotating staff. People would take one week a month, and if the phone went off in the middle of the night, they would get up and work to fix the problem. But we wanted to change from that reactive state to a more proactive posture.”

CDW’s solution architects devised an approach that included upgrading some core and branch networking equipment while also incorporating existing gear from Cisco Meraki. To provide monitoring, CDW uses best-in-class platforms from vendors such as NetBrain, Snow Software and ScienceLogic.

“Our network monitoring customers not only get the benefit of our solution architects’ expertise, but they also benefit from our robust monitoring systems,” Goebel says. “With around-the-clock monitoring, we can prevent problems from even getting onto their radar.”

Proactive problem-solving is crucial to the success of the network monitoring partnership, Duthler says. Rather than learning about overnight outages when employees arrive to work, NASB officials often learn about them after they’ve already been resolved. “You don’t need to be a hero who comes in and saves the day to be a good service provider,” he says. “The measure of success is that you’re able to leave your cape on the hook, because there aren’t any emergencies.” 

Justin Haase, director of managed services for CDW, says the ongoing nature of managed services partnerships enables CDW and its customers to build trust over time, leading to better outcomes. “There’s a difference between IT contractors who just process tickets and managed services partners who actually get involved with their customers,” he says. “That relationship building is critical. Over the course of 10 or 15 years of working together, there are going to be problems that pop up from time to time, and that trust and relationship are critical to keeping things on track.” 

Top Drivers of Managed Services

In a 2022 survey by Deloitte, business leaders were most likely to cite factors such as access to new capabilities and digital transformation when asked why they are turning to managed services:


Increasing pace of technology and digital transformation


Access to new capabilities


Increasing and more complex cybersecurity threats


Business strategy and operating model shifts


Overall need to cut costs


Lack of employee skills or training skills

Source: Deloitte, "Deloitte Global Outsourcing Survey 2022," October 2022

Support for Mission-Critical Applications

CDW managed services also tackled challenges to NASB’s Citrix environment, which served as the front end to an important loan origination system. “That’s a business-critical application for home loan processing,” Duthler says. “When that system wasn't working, we could see significant lost revenue.”

At the time, NASB was using a version of Citrix that was no longer covered by vendor support, meaning that the bank could not go to Citrix for help when problems arose. Instead, NASB relied on ad hoc contractors to get the system back up and running when it was down — a scenario that Duthler likens to holding the application together with “bubble gum and baling wire.”

The bank couldn’t simply upgrade to a newer version of Citrix because NASB lacked a staging environment to test the change. Duthler worried that a sudden shift could crash the system for an extended period, leading to unacceptable losses.

“The first thing CDW was able to do for me is build a test environment,” Duthler says. “It’s critical that you have an environment where you can test releases before you roll them to production, and we didn’t have that. So, that was step one.” 

Goebel says that CDW’s solution architects found several single points of failure within the existing environment. “It was important for us to build in redundancy,” he says. “Not only was the loan origination system critical to their everyday business, but it also worked really well for supporting remote work, which of course was key during the pandemic.”

Duthler says he was immediately impressed by the vendor-specific expertise of CDW’s solution architects. “The people CDW has in its stable for Citrix are top of class,” he says. “They are the best in the industry.”


Since CDW was engaged to take over the monitoring of NASB’s network, which is housed in this underground data center, “they run it like it’s their own,” says Jay Duthler.

Management of Unified Communications

Duthler points out that communication and collaboration technologies are central to NASB’s success. “As you can imagine, as a bank with an internet loan business, we use our phones quite a bit,” he says. NASB now relies on CDW to manage its Cisco unified communications environment. The bank also uses MessageOps, a CDW service that provides support for its Microsoft 365 environment.

Goebel explains: “MessageOps is a dedicated, custom-built solution to help customers handle Microsoft licensing, onboarding and offboarding.”

Duthler says that NASB’s phone system had become needlessly complicated over the years, with many internal and external IT workers having made changes that didn’t necessarily align with an overarching strategy. As a result, the organization experienced frequent outages that significantly affected customer service. “We had an outage one weekend where we lost a circuit into one of our facilities,” Duthler recalls. “We had redundancy built into the system, but our secondary site wasn’t configured correctly due to an error, and customers were unable to reach some of our critical numbers.”

To fix the problem, Duthler says, he had to “take his cape off the hook” and work over the weekend. “I was out on a bike ride on a trail with my wife, and we had to turn around, go back and load up the bikes,” he says. “But now, CDW has taken over ownership of the system, and they run it like it’s their own. With CDW, we get quality and timeliness, with a lower overall cost than hiring people to manage the system ourselves. Why would we not want to do that?”

Story by Calvin Hennick, a freelance journalist who specializes in business and technology writing. He is a contributor to the CDW family of technology magazines.

Photography by Dan Videtich


Calvin  Hennick

Calvin Hennick

Freelance Journalist
Business and technology journalist