Welcome!

AJAX & REA Authors: Gary Kaiser, Bryan O'Rourke, Kevin Benedict, Matthew Lobas, RealWire News Distribution

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.

Cloud Expo Breaking News
After a couple of false starts, cloud-based desktop solutions are picking up steam, driven by trends such as BYOD and pervasive high-speed connectivity. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Seth Bostock, CEO of IndependenceIT, cuts through the hype and the acronyms, and discusses the emergence of full-featured cloud workspaces that do for the desktop what cloud infrastructure did for the server. He’ll discuss VDI vs DaaS, implementation strategies and evaluation criteria.
Cloud computing started a technology revolution; now DevOps is driving that revolution forward. By enabling new approaches to service delivery, cloud and DevOps together are delivering even greater speed, agility, and efficiency. No wonder leading innovators are adopting DevOps and cloud together! In his session at DevOps Summit, Andi Mann, Vice President of Strategic Solutions at CA Technologies, will explore the synergies in these two approaches, with practical tips, techniques, research data, war stories, case studies, and recommendations.
Cloud Computing is evolving into a Big Three of Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. Cloud 360: Multi-Cloud Bootcamp, being held Nov 4–5, 2014, in conjunction with 15th Cloud Expo in Santa Clara, CA, delivers a real-world demonstration of how to deploy and configure a scalable and available web application on all three platforms. The Cloud 360 Bootcamp, led by Janakiram MSV, an analyst with Gigaom Research, is the first bootcamp that introduces the core concepts of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) based on the workings of the Big Three platforms – Amazon EC2, Google Compute Engine, and Azure VMs. Bootcamp attendees will get to see the big picture and also receive the knowledge needed to make the best cloud decisions for their business applications and entire enterprise IT organization.
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
The Internet of Things is a natural complement to the cloud and related technologies such as Big Data, analytics, and mobility. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Joe Weinman will lay out four generic strategies – digital disciplines – to exploit emerging digital technologies for strategic advantage. Joe Weinman has held executive leadership positions at Bell Labs, AT&T, Hewlett-Packard, and Telx, in areas such as corporate strategy, business development, product management, operations, and R&D.
SYS-CON Events announced today that DevOps.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's “DevOps Summit at Cloud Expo,” which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. DevOps.com is where the world meets DevOps. It is the largest collection of original content relating to DevOps on the web today Featuring up-to-the-minute news, feature stories, blogs, bylined articles and more, DevOps.com is where the thought leaders of the DevOps movement make their ideas known.
There are 182 billion emails sent every day, generating a lot of data about how recipients and ISPs respond. Many marketers take a more-is-better approach to stats, preferring to have the ability to slice and dice their email lists based numerous arbitrary stats. However, fundamentally what really matters is whether or not sending an email to a particular recipient will generate value. Data Scientists can design high-level insights such as engagement prediction models and content clusters that allow marketers to cut through the noise and design their campaigns around strong, predictive signals, rather than arbitrary statistics. SendGrid sends up to half a billion emails a day for customers such as Pinterest and GitHub. All this email adds up to more text than produced in the entire twitterverse. We track events like clicks, opens and deliveries to help improve deliverability for our customers – adding up to over 50 billion useful events every month. While SendGrid data covers only abo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that the Web Host Industry Review has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Since 2000, The Web Host Industry Review has made a name for itself as the foremost authority of the Web hosting industry providing reliable, insightful and comprehensive news, reviews and resources to the hosting community. TheWHIR Blogs provides a community of expert industry perspectives. The Web Host Industry Review Magazine also offers a business-minded, issue-driven perspective of interest to executives and decision-makers. WHIR TV offers on demand web hosting video interviews and web hosting video features of the key persons and events of the web hosting industry. WHIR Events brings together like-minded hosting industry professionals and decision-makers in local communities. TheWHIR is an iNET Interactive property.
SYS-CON Events announced today that O'Reilly Media has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Verizon has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Verizon Enterprise Solutions creates global connections that generate growth, drive business innovation and move society forward. With industry-specific solutions and a full range of global wholesale offerings provided over the company's secure mobility, cloud, strategic networking and advanced communications platforms, Verizon Enterprise Solutions helps open new opportunities around the world for innovation, investment and business transformation. Visit verizonenterprise.com to learn more.
SYS-CON Events announced today that TMCnet has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Technology Marketing Corporation (TMC) is the world's leading business to business and integrated marketing media company, servicing niche markets within the communications and technology industries.
"In my session I spoke about enterprise cloud analytics and how we can leverage analytics as a service," explained Ajay Budhraja, CTO at the Department of Justice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 14th International Cloud Expo®, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Cloud Expo® 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading Cloud industry players in the world.
“We are starting to see people move beyond the commodity cloud and enterprises need to start focusing on additional value added services in order to really drive their adoption," explained Jason Mondanaro, Director of Product Management at MetraTech, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 14th International Cloud Expo®, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Cloud Expo® 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading Cloud industry players in the world.
"We are automated capacity control software, which basically looks at all the supply and demand and running a virtual cloud environment and does a deep analysis of that and says where should things go," explained Andrew Hillier, Co-founder & CTO of CiRBA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 14th International Cloud Expo®, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Cloud Expo® 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading Cloud industry players in the world.
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mac Devine, Distinguished Engineer at IBM, will discuss bringing these three elements together via Systems of Discover.