Click here to close now.




















Welcome!

IoT User Interface Authors: Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Harry Trott, Gary Kaiser, Esmeralda Swartz

Blog Feed Post

Complete IT renewal as award-winning law firm Higgs & Sons invests in the future

When leading West Midlands law firm Higgs & Sons decided to renew its IT, working in partnership with Phoenix enabled the company to implement and benefit from the latest technology. "We were faced with end-of-life Microsoft technology, while servers and front-of-line applications were also ageing," says Stephen Brown, IT Director. "So we needed a change. We want to use the latest tools
and technologies to work as productively as we can and deliver the best client service possible." The decision followed a complete office move to its new Waterfront facility that saw the firm install a new telephony system, LAN and WAN. "It was a natural progression, we knew we'd have a more up- to-date physical infrastructure to build on." This was also an opportunity to consolidate and reduce the number of vendors.

Phoenix was already a technology supplier to the business. "We did look at other providers," Brown says. "The decision eventually came down to the relationship we'd forged with Phoenix and the mutual trust we'd built up. Phoenix knew our old infrastructure well, and provided support and maintenance, so it was known and trusted. Phoenix also has that important relationship with Microsoft, and we knew we could make use of that."

Complete software refresh
Brown says the project involved "completely ripping out the existing network", implementing a brand new network and terminals across the business, centralising the infrastructure and upgrading all server technologies. As a result, centralised desktop management became a key benefit. Following a detailed planning phase, rollout across the firm's 200-staff was completed in one week.

Phoenix deliverables included implementing Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2, Exchange 2012, Office 2010, Systems Centre essentials and Data Protection Manager. The firm's Active Directory was upgraded, while Microsoft's Hyper-V virtualisation and management solution, Remote Desktop Services with RemoteFX were also installed.

All physical servers and storage are HP: 20 physical servers were replaced with three hosts running 40 virtual servers. R-class terminals were installed across the board, along with an RDS Gateway remote access solution and web technology.

"It went very smoothly," Brown continues. "We are always conscious of continuity of service and the user experience. Although the firm understood the IT department was extremely busy they did not notice any difference immediately. The project team saw this as a positive as we completely changed all of the server architecture with zero disruption to the firm's operations. As with any major project there are always some technical issues that need to be resolved and, because of Phoenix, we had the right access into Microsoft to resolve them. We were able to use a Microsoft stack all the way through, and we clearly saw the benefits - not least in licensing agreements."

He says this activity formed part of a wider renewal programme that extended from the new back-end infrastructure, which had to be completed first, followed by all-new front-office applications, upgrading the phone system and providing mobility, then implementing a new Digital Dictation system to replace tapes and analogue devices. Brown continues, "This can be quite a conservative sector, and you can meet resistance in terms of new technologies. But the reality is that our clients are more and more demanding, and want access to a lawyer 24/7.

"So your people need the right tools to work as effectively and deliver as good a client service as possible - which puts the requirement back onto IT."

Benefits delivered
Brown says the firm saw productivity gains in various areas: for example, moving from Office 2003 to 2010: "We started to see really interesting and innovative usage of the Microsoft toolkit.

Our new phone software also improved the user experience, especially when people are working away from the office, and we've been able to push full mobility onto the iPads. From an IT perspective, we're looking at savings of around £20,000 a year through reduced power and cooling requirements, and lower maintenance costs. And we've reduced tape costs by around £10k per annum. Our experience of the Hyper-V virtual platform technology has been very positive, so we're seeing a number of gains."

A critical measure of success is how these changes will further improve how Higgs & Sons interact with clients to deliver an even better service. "That's what it's all about, everything we do must be focused on our clients' requirements and the client experience - and we're definitely seeing improvements in how we work. Our fee earners have the ability to more confidently administer their workload. They have the right tools at their disposal. We're already discussing our next project with Phoenix, looking at areas such as enhancing our business continuity and further opportunities in virtualization - online backup, hot standbys, replication. Looking further ahead, I think Cloud will also become far more commonplace in the legal sector in a few years' time."

Brown adds, "Phoenix does have a 'can do' attitude and is flexible.
A key attitude from the Phoenix people was 'we need to get this to work, and we're going to work closely with Microsoft to properly implement and fine-tune the technology.' There was trust on both sides, which is so important. Phoenix is big enough to deliver the services we want, and to have the right connections with vendors like Microsoft and all the technical ability behind the scenes, but it's not so big that it's lost the ability to treat you like a valued customer."

Overview

Client
Ranking highly in the Legal 500 and employing 200 staff at its purpose-designed offices near Birmingham, leading regional law firm Higgs & Sons provides an extensive range of legal services to individuals and businesses.

Challenge
Update and enhance IT hardware and software infrastructure to deliver new toolsets and capabilities, improving service levels to users and for demanding clients who want 24/7 access to focused, efficient and highly responsive lawyers.

Solution
Consultancy, design, planning and implementation: Phoenix was a key element in a complete IT refresh, ranging from new servers (including hosting and virtual platforms) and SAN to a complete Microsoft stack with powerful new features and functionality.

Benefits
Improved flexibility, enhanced IT service delivery; new functionality enabling higher productivity; significant cost reductions relating to IT operations: £20k per annum a year savings in reduced power/cooling and lower maintenance, tape costs reduced by £10k p.a.

About Phoenix
We are UK leaders in providing IT infrastructure services to help businesses innovate and grow while cutting costs and risk. We can host your services in the cloud or in the data centre, simplify desktop management, and build secure, reliable networks. Our business availability services can keep you working at all times. Whatever your needs, our professional experts can advise, plan and deploy, while our nationwide network of engineers are easily available for your support. For more information, please see: http://www.phoenix.co.uk/

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By RealWire News Distribution

RealWire is a global news release distribution service specialising in the online media. The RealWire approach focuses on delivering relevant content to the receivers of our client's news releases. As we know that it is only through delivering relevance, that influence can ever be achieved.

@CloudExpo Stories
With SaaS use rampant across organizations, how can IT departments track company data and maintain security? More and more departments are commissioning their own solutions and bypassing IT. A cloud environment is amorphous and powerful, allowing you to set up solutions for all of your user needs: document sharing and collaboration, mobile access, e-mail, even industry-specific applications. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Shawn Mills, President and a founder of Green House Data, discussed h...
One of the hottest areas in cloud right now is DRaaS and related offerings. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Dale Levesque, Disaster Recovery Product Manager with Windstream's Cloud and Data Center Marketing team, will discuss the benefits of the cloud model, which far outweigh the traditional approach, and how enterprises need to ensure that their needs are properly being met.
The speed of software changes in growing and large scale rapid-paced DevOps environments presents a challenge for continuous testing. Many organizations struggle to get this right. Practices that work for small scale continuous testing may not be sufficient as the requirements grow. In his session at DevOps Summit, Marc Hornbeek, Sr. Solutions Architect of DevOps continuous test solutions at Spirent Communications, explained the best practices of continuous testing at high scale, which is rele...
"We got started as search consultants. On the services side of the business we have help organizations save time and save money when they hit issues that everyone more or less hits when their data grows," noted Otis Gospodnetić, Founder of Sematext, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
"We have been in business for 21 years and have been building many enterprise solutions, all IT plumbing - server, storage, interconnects," stated Alex Gorbachev, President of Intelligent Systems Services, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 16th Cloud Expo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
"We specialize in testing. DevOps is all about continuous delivery and accelerating the delivery pipeline and there is no continuous delivery without testing," noted Marc Hornbeek, Sr. Solutions Architect at Spirent Communications, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
"Alert Logic is a managed security service provider that basically deploys technologies, but we support those technologies with the people and process behind it," stated Stephen Coty, Chief Security Evangelist at Alert Logic, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 16th Cloud Expo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
Digital Transformation is the ultimate goal of cloud computing and related initiatives. The phrase is certainly not a precise one, and as subject to hand-waving and distortion as any high-falutin' terminology in the world of information technology. Yet it is an excellent choice of words to describe what enterprise IT—and by extension, organizations in general—should be working to achieve. Digital Transformation means: handling all the data types being found and created in the organizat...
The Internet of Everything (IoE) brings together people, process, data and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before – transforming information into knowledge and knowledge into wisdom. IoE creates new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented opportunities to improve business and government operations, decision making and mission support capabilities.
The essence of cloud computing is that all consumable IT resources are delivered as services. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Yung Chou, Technology Evangelist at Microsoft, demonstrated the concepts and implementations of two important cloud computing deliveries: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). He discussed from business and technical viewpoints what exactly they are, why we care, how they are different and in what ways, and the strategies for IT to tran...
The Software Defined Data Center (SDDC), which enables organizations to seamlessly run in a hybrid cloud model (public + private cloud), is here to stay. IDC estimates that the software-defined networking market will be valued at $3.7 billion by 2016. Security is a key component and benefit of the SDDC, and offers an opportunity to build security 'from the ground up' and weave it into the environment from day one. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Reuven Harrison, CTO and Co-Founder of Tufin,...
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed this very serious issue of pro...
Container technology is sending shock waves through the world of cloud computing. Heralded as the 'next big thing,' containers provide software owners a consistent way to package their software and dependencies while infrastructure operators benefit from a standard way to deploy and run them. Containers present new challenges for tracking usage due to their dynamic nature. They can also be deployed to bare metal, virtual machines and various cloud platforms. How do software owners track the usag...
Discussions about cloud computing are evolving into discussions about enterprise IT in general. As enterprises increasingly migrate toward their own unique clouds, new issues such as the use of containers and microservices emerge to keep things interesting. In this Power Panel at 16th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the state of cloud computing today, and what enterprise IT professionals need to know about how the latest topics and trends affect t...
"Our biggest growth area has been the security services, the managed services - the things that differentiate us in the market that there is no client that's too small and there's no client that's too big," explained Paul Mazzucco, Chief Security Officer at TierPoint, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 16th Cloud Expo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Countless business models have spawned from the IaaS industry. Resell Web hosting, blogs, public cloud, and on and on. With the overwhelming amount of tools available to us, it's sometimes easy to overlook that many of them are just new skins of resources we've had for a long time. In his General Session at 16th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Lead Technology Evangelist at SoftLayer, broke down what we've got to work with and discuss the benefits and pitfalls to discover how we can best use them to d...
Containers are changing the security landscape for software development and deployment. As with any security solutions, security approaches that work for developers, operations personnel and security professionals is a requirement. In his session at DevOps Summit, Kevin Gilpin, CTO and Co-Founder of Conjur, will discuss various security considerations for container-based infrastructure and related DevOps workflows.
"We do data integration for B2B also application to application, and we do data management and enable Big Data," explained Pat Adamiak, Vice President, Product Marketing at Liaison Technologies, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 16th Cloud Expo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
The Cloud industry has moved from being more than just being able to provide infrastructure and management services on the Cloud. Enter a new era of Cloud computing where monetization’s services through the Cloud are an essential piece of strategy to feed your organizations bottom-line, your revenue and Profitability. In their session at 16th Cloud Expo, Ermanno Bonifazi, CEO & Founder of Solgenia, and Ian Khan, Global Strategic Positioning & Brand Manager at Solgenia, discussed how to easily o...