VMware Mirage

Getting a Pulse on Your Smart ATM: Remote Management Is Critical

Increased branch automation requires new concepts and strategies for branch services, including the management of ATMs.

On September 2, 1969, America’s first automatic teller machine (ATM) made its public debut, dispensing cash to customers at Chemical Bank in Rockville Center, New York. ATMs went on to smarter ATM management for financial services and bankingrevolutionize the banking industry, creating an important touchpoint between banks and their customers. ATMs provide the convenience of 24/7 self-service transactions and, in some cases, even eliminate the need to visit a bank to conduct basic financial transactions. Economist Paul Volcker, former chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, even considered it the only useful innovation in banking.”

Per the Global ATM Market and Forecasts to 2020, published by the U.K. research and consulting firm RBR, the worldwide ATM installed base is expected to reach four million by 2020. In spite of its ubiquity, widespread use, global footprint and the key role in retail branch transformation, ATMs recede into the noise of everyday memory. Few stop to reflect on how ATMs—and the computer infrastructure that supports them—became the backbone of contemporary retail banking.

In a recent survey, Forrester asked financial institutions to rate the top five business requirements needed to drive branch transformation initiatives. Unsurprisingly, three of those requirements called for significant opportunities for improvement at the ATM, especially from a management perspective.

  • 44% of respondents stated the need for increased operational efficiency
  • 39% wanted increased channel integration
  • 34% noted the importance of managing costs

The ATM landscape is rapidly evolving, and here are some of the major trends that we see changing ATM management.

Newer, More Complex Technology

According to reports, an estimated 95% of American bank ATMs are running Windows XP.  After support for the Windows XP operating system (OS) ceased in 2014, Windows XP users were told not to consider ATMs protected and were urged to upgrade to a newer version of the OS. In fact, the ATM Industry Association (ATMIA) issued a position paper in 2015 recommending Windows 10 for the next major migration to a Windows ATM operating system.

[Related: 10 Things IT Pros Should Know about Windows 10]

Switching ATM hardware and software to a new OS is both challenging and expensive. The OS migration cost model could cost anywhere between $1,000 and $3,500 apiece.

Today, we’re working with more and more sophisticated systems, requiring updates, patches and support in real time to mitigate the risks of fraud. Additionally, software and hardware must operate nimbly in an agnostic ecosystem. And as more and more transactions are migrated to self-service terminals, the devices have advanced in complexity, too.

Click here to find out how you can accelerate OS migrations and securely deploy large-scale OS and application-level patches.

AlwaysOn Availability

Read the free whitepaper.
Read the free whitepaper.

Stable and uninterrupted availability of all ATM services is key to maintaining customer

satisfaction. With banks expanding ATM networks—especially in Asia and Latin America—remote management of ATMs is especially important for financial institutions with a large distributed network of ATMs.

Being able to remotely perform routine maintenance and upgrades to ATMs without having to send field technicians to physically reach every single ATM:

  • Saves time;
  • Improves terminal availability;
  • Prevents lost revenue; and
  • Increases customer satisfaction.

Dive into the AlwaysOn Design Guide for Financial Services here.

Management & Overhead

A decade ago, banks had dedicated ATM operations groups to manage and maintain efficient ATM operational processes. As roles have evolved, IT groups traditionally focused on PCs, firewalls, routers and the like are now tasked with managing a vast network of ATM terminals that includes hardware, software, security and services such as repair, back-up and recovery. For many teams, it is simply outside the scope of their core competencies.

Moreover, with ATM portfolios spanning 3-5 different manufacturer types and those same devices reaching back three, ­ five or even 10 years, the management of even a small ATM portfolio can be complex. In the increasingly self-service world in which we now live, implementing a state-of-the-art automated remote device management system is quickly becoming a “must have” operational tool.

Find out more about how you can automate the repair, backup and recovery of your device without the high cost of sending an ATM technician for intervention.


ATMs will play a key role in facilitating financial institutions’ branch transformation banking initiatives. By providing services such as check cashing, envelope-free deposits, and live video links to remote representatives, the new generation of smart ATMs can drive customers from traditional teller lines to the self-service channel and free bankers to spend more time building relationships and advising customers.

Please share your thoughts and personal insights in the comments or on Twitter @vmwarehorizon.

  1. Will ATMs become kiosks, perhaps hybrid in nature, even as they retain traditional ATM properties?
  2. Will ATMs become yet another hotspot for communications?
  3. Will ATMs simply be regarded as the final embodiment of an otherwise dominant branch office network now in decline?
  4. Will this ghost-branch scenario prompt financial institutions to adopt a new, self-service model where there is no teller behind a window— because there is no teller window? Instead, a free-roaming “universal banker” helps clients complete the transaction at an ATM.

Whatever transpires, the role of ATMs is changing. VMware End-User Computing (EUC) solutions for banking provide powerful tools to help banks remotely manage ATMs, improve ATM operational performance, reduce costs, minimize downtime and create a seamless and uninterrupted experience for their members.

Learn More About VMware Computing Solutions for Banking