Welcome!

IoT User Interface Authors: Elizabeth White, John Basso, Kevin Jackson, Richard Hale, Liz McMillan

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
Keeping pace with advancements in software delivery processes and tooling is taxing even for the most proficient organizations. Point tools, platforms, open source and the increasing adoption of private and public cloud services requires strong engineering rigor – all in the face of developer demands to use the tools of choice. As Agile has settled in as a mainstream practice, now DevOps has emerged as the next wave to improve software delivery speed and output. To make DevOps work, organization...
Predictive analytics tools monitor, report, and troubleshoot in order to make proactive decisions about the health, performance, and utilization of storage. Most enterprises combine cloud and on-premise storage, resulting in blended environments of physical, virtual, cloud, and other platforms, which justifies more sophisticated storage analytics. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Peter McCallum, Vice President of Datacenter Solutions at FalconStor, discussed using predictive analytics to mon...
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. He cited examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He also highlighted how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Isomorphic Software will exhibit at DevOps Summit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Isomorphic Software provides the SmartClient HTML5/AJAX platform, the most advanced technology for building rich, cutting-edge enterprise web applications for desktop and mobile. SmartClient combines the productivity and performance of traditional desktop software with the simp...
"When you think about the data center today, there's constant evolution, The evolution of the data center and the needs of the consumer of technology change, and they change constantly," stated Matt Kalmenson, VP of Sales, Service and Cloud Providers at Veeam Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
We all know the latest numbers: Gartner, Inc. forecasts that 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30 percent from last year, and will reach 20.8 billion by 2020. We're rapidly approaching a data production of 40 zettabytes a day – more than we can every physically store, and exabytes and yottabytes are just around the corner. For many that’s a good sign, as data has been proven to equal money – IF it’s ingested, integrated, and analyzed fast enough. Without real-ti...
Actian Corporation has announced the latest version of the Actian Vector in Hadoop (VectorH) database, generally available at the end of July. VectorH is based on the same query engine that powers Actian Vector, which recently doubled the TPC-H benchmark record for non-clustered systems at the 3000GB scale factor (see tpc.org/3323). The ability to easily ingest information from different data sources and rapidly develop queries to make better business decisions is becoming increasingly importan...
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
Cloud analytics is dramatically altering business intelligence. Some businesses will capitalize on these promising new technologies and gain key insights that’ll help them gain competitive advantage. And others won’t. Whether you’re a business leader, an IT manager, or an analyst, we want to help you and the people you need to influence with a free copy of “Cloud Analytics for Dummies,” the essential guide to this explosive new space for business intelligence.
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
Qosmos has announced new milestones in the detection of encrypted traffic and in protocol signature coverage. Qosmos latest software can accurately classify traffic encrypted with SSL/TLS (e.g., Google, Facebook, WhatsApp), P2P traffic (e.g., BitTorrent, MuTorrent, Vuze), and Skype, while preserving the privacy of communication content. These new classification techniques mean that traffic optimization, policy enforcement, and user experience are largely unaffected by encryption. In respect wit...
ReadyTalk has expanded the capabilities of the FoxDen collaboration platform announced late last year to include FoxDen Connect, an in-room video collaboration experience that launches with a single touch. With FoxDen Connect, users can now not only engage in HD video conferencing between iOS and Android mobile devices or Chrome browsers, but also set up in-person meeting rooms for video interactions. A host’s mobile device automatically recognizes the presence of a meeting room via beacon tech...
Manufacturers are embracing the Industrial Internet the same way consumers are leveraging Fitbits – to improve overall health and wellness. Both can provide consistent measurement, visibility, and suggest performance improvements customized to help reach goals. Fitbit users can view real-time data and make adjustments to increase their activity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mark Bernardo Professional Services Leader, Americas, at GE Digital, discussed how leveraging the Industrial Internet a...
On Dice.com, the number of job postings asking for skill in Amazon Web Services increased 76 percent between June 2015 and June 2016. Salesforce.com saw its own skill mentions increase 37 percent, while DevOps and Cloud rose 35 percent and 28 percent, respectively. Even as they expand their presence in the cloud, companies are also looking for tech professionals who can manage projects, crunch data, and figure out how to make systems run more autonomously. Mentions of ‘data science’ as a skill ...
In his session at Cloud Expo, Robert Cohen, an economist and senior fellow at the Economic Strategy Institute, will provide economic scenarios that describe how the rapid adoption of software-defined everything including cloud services, SDDC and open networking will change GDP, industry growth, productivity and jobs. This session will also include a drill down for several industries such as finance, social media, cloud service providers and pharmaceuticals.
IoT generates lots of temporal data. But how do you unlock its value? You need to discover patterns that are repeatable in vast quantities of data, understand their meaning, and implement scalable monitoring across multiple data streams in order to monetize the discoveries and insights. Motif discovery and deep learning platforms are emerging to visualize sensor data, to search for patterns and to build application that can monitor real time streams efficiently. In his session at @ThingsExpo, ...
Choosing the right cloud for your workloads is a balancing act that can cost your organization time, money and aggravation - unless you get it right the first time. Economics, speed, performance, accessibility, administrative needs and security all play a vital role in dictating your approach to the cloud. Without knowing the right questions to ask, you could wind up paying for capacity you'll never need or underestimating the resources required to run your applications.
Security, data privacy, reliability and regulatory compliance are critical factors when evaluating whether to move business applications from in-house client hosted environments to a cloud platform. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Vandana Viswanathan, Associate Director at Cognizant, In this session, will provide an orientation to the five stages required to implement a cloud hosted solution validation strategy.
"delaPlex is a software development company. We do team-based outsourcing development," explained Mark Rivers, COO and Co-founder of delaPlex Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.