Welcome!

Artificial Intelligence Authors: Mehdi Daoudi, Dana Gardner, JP Morgenthal, Jason Bloomberg, Kevin Jackson

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.

@ThingsExpo Stories
@ThingsExpo has been named the ‘Top WebRTC Influencer' by iTrend. iTrend processes millions of conversations, tweets, interactions, news articles, press releases, blog posts - and extract meaning form them and analyzes mobile and desktop software platforms used to communicate, various metadata (such as geo location), and automation tools. In overall placement, @ThingsExpo ranked as the number one ‘WebRTC Influencer' followed by @DevOpsSummit at 55th.
"There's a growing demand from users for things to be faster. When you think about all the transactions or interactions users will have with your product and everything that is between those transactions and interactions - what drives us at Catchpoint Systems is the idea to measure that and to analyze it," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York Ci...
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Linux Academy, the foremost online Linux and cloud training platform and community, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Linux Academy was founded on the belief that providing high-quality, in-depth training should be available at an affordable price. Industry leaders in quality training, provided services, and student certification passes, its goal is to c...
In the next five to ten years, millions, if not billions of things will become smarter. This smartness goes beyond connected things in our homes like the fridge, thermostat and fancy lighting, and into heavily regulated industries including aerospace, pharmaceutical/medical devices and energy. “Smartness” will embed itself within individual products that are part of our daily lives. We will engage with smart products - learning from them, informing them, and communicating with them. Smart produc...
"What is the next step in the evolution of IoT systems? The answer is data, information, which is a radical shift from assets, from things to input for decision making," stated Michael Minkevich, VP of Technology Services at Luxoft, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The emerging Internet of Everything creates tremendous new opportunities for customer engagement and business model innovation. However, enterprises must overcome a number of critical challenges to bring these new solutions to market. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Martin, CTO/CIO at nfrastructure, outlined these key challenges and recommended approaches for overcoming them to achieve speed and agility in the design, development and implementation of Internet of Everything solutions with...
WebRTC sits at the intersection between VoIP and the Web. As such, it poses some interesting challenges for those developing services on top of it, but also for those who need to test and monitor these services. In his session at WebRTC Summit, Tsahi Levent-Levi, co-founder of testRTC, reviewed the various challenges posed by WebRTC when it comes to testing and monitoring and on ways to overcome them.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
Every successful software product evolves from an idea to an enterprise system. Notably, the same way is passed by the product owner's company. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Oleg Lola, CEO of MobiDev, will provide a generalized overview of the evolution of a software product, the product owner, the needs that arise at various stages of this process, and the value brought by a software development partner to the product owner as a response to these needs.
Smart Cities are here to stay, but for their promise to be delivered, the data they produce must not be put in new siloes. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mathias Herberts, Co-founder and CTO of Cityzen Data, discussed the best practices that will ensure a successful smart city journey.
In 2014, Amazon announced a new form of compute called Lambda. We didn't know it at the time, but this represented a fundamental shift in what we expect from cloud computing. Now, all of the major cloud computing vendors want to take part in this disruptive technology. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, John Jelinek IV, a web developer at Linux Academy, will discuss why major players like AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM Bluemix, and Google Cloud Platform are all trying to sidestep VMs and containers...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex softw...
The cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, explored the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences between wh...
"Tintri was started in 2008 with the express purpose of building a storage appliance that is ideal for virtualized environments. We support a lot of different hypervisor platforms from VMware to OpenStack to Hyper-V," explained Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The security needs of IoT environments require a strong, proven approach to maintain security, trust and privacy in their ecosystem. Assurance and protection of device identity, secure data encryption and authentication are the key security challenges organizations are trying to address when integrating IoT devices. This holds true for IoT applications in a wide range of industries, for example, healthcare, consumer devices, and manufacturing. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lancen LaChance, vic...
Big Data, cloud, analytics, contextual information, wearable tech, sensors, mobility, and WebRTC: together, these advances have created a perfect storm of technologies that are disrupting and transforming classic communications models and ecosystems. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Erik Perotti, Senior Manager of New Ventures on Plantronics’ Innovation team, provided an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it m...
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...