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One minute, loan officers from US-based mortgage lender Bay Equity Home Loans could be working on administration tasks at their desks. The next, they could be attending an unexpected meeting with a customer on the other side of town.

To ensure its loan officers could remain productive and provide a high quality, customer-centric service at all times, Bay Equity opted to move to the cloud in 2012. Executive vice president of technology Philip Mikolaj was also tasked with finding a device to replace the company’s various laptops and desktop PCs. Not only did it have to be lightweight, portable and durable, but the device also had to be fast, secure and have a long battery life.

If you’ve read the first blog in this series, you’ll already know that Mikolaj and his team managed to find such a device: the Microsoft Surface Pro.

pig savings bankStandardizing on Surface Pro has saved Bay Equity around US$1.37 million in hardware costs, minimized employee training, and reduced the time taken to deploy new devices from days to hours. Meanwhile, the IT team can use Microsoft Intune to monitor more than 1,200 Surface Pro devices, completing remote software and security updates throughout their lifecycle.

“I believe that the lifecycle of the devices has increased, so employees can use the same device for much longer than before,” says Mikolaj.

While in the office, loan officers can connect their Surface Pro to a docking station, two external monitors, a full keyboard, mouse and a digital pen to enjoy a full desktop experience. When meeting customers, employees simply detach the device and slip it into their bag. Wherever they are, employees can access the full suite of cloud-based Microsoft Office 365 applications, which interoperate with Bay Equity’s own Windows-based Ellie Mae Encompass loan origination system. They can also use Microsoft OneNote for making lists and annotations, and Skype for Business Online for real-time communication.

“When I realized that I could dock it on my desk, I got rid of my PC, my iPad, and my laptop and only carried a Surface Pro from that point forward,” says Mikolaj. “I cannot believe how it’s changing my efficiency as an individual employee.”

Keeping sensitive customer and financial data secure is also easier than ever before. Thanks to the Windows 10 operating system, the Surface Pro devices offer built-in security features, such as Windows Hello facial recognition technology and Windows BitLocker Drive Encryption. In addition, Microsoft OneDrive for Business automatically synchronizes files, ensuring that loan officers can access the information they need without having to remember a plethora of passwords.

Most importantly, moving to Surface Pro devices has helped Bay Equity to attract and retain some of the best loan officers in the business.

“We were the first lending company to adopt the Surface Pro and Microsoft cloud computing, and it drew people to us,” Mikolaj says. “A lot of companies offer an appealing vision, but if their technology is difficult to work with, loan officers hesitate to join them. They don’t want to struggle to use the tools. That isn’t a problem for us and rather than being a barrier to recruiting, our technology attracts excellent people.”

Next week, I’ll take a look at how the Surface Pro devices are making it easier for staff to work more efficiently and productively, both inside and outside of the office.

Head to our Bay Equity webpage to read the full interview with Philip Mikolaj.

Read more on the Microsoft Banking & Capital Markets and Insurance blogs.