80 users & 12 partners
Our client is a Law Firm based in London with around 80 users and 12 partners.
The firm had three areas they had identified as needing attention:
- The firm wanted to move their infrastructure to the cloud, primarily to provide a more stable and reliable remote access platform to enable more home working.
- They wanted to remodel their internal structure, both to allow their IT manager to change role to focus on training, and to move to an outsourced support model.
- To meet these objectives the firm wanted to engage a new Managed Service Provider (MSP), specifically one that was more progressive and proactive than their current provider.
This was a collection of activities that added up to a quite considerable change for the firm, a level of change they would only occasionally consider and one which stretch their internal resources in terms of capacity and experience. The firm recognised the need for some external advisors to identify and evaluate suitable providers, assist with procurement, and then oversee implementation and migration.
JHA was referred by an existing client who are part of the same professional network as the firm.
We started by “taking stock” of the situation, understanding what was good and bad in the current systems, processes and staffing. The firm had prepared a skeleton requirement for tender. We followed the lead of the firm with the areas they had set out. We validated these, checked other areas as well and produced a comprehensive tender document to send out to possible vendors.
It became apparent that there had been some previous decisions relating to system selection and procurement that were not doing the firm any favours; for example, their matter management system did not integrate with their accounts package which caused extra work for everyone. In fact, the matter management system – whilst offering potential – had not been fully configured or trained-out, and so adoption across the firm was poor. The influence of supplier dominated the provision of the matter management system, and the firm did not have anyone with sufficient experience “on their side” at the time to contribute to a better delivery and fully hold the supplier to account.
Investment in systems had been more reactive than proactive for some time, as IT was viewed more as a necessary evil than a driver of profit and growth. Consequently, when migrating them to a cloud infrastructure, neither their accounts system nor their matter management system were recent enough versions to be compatible with a more modern, cloud infrastructure. This meant having to spend a significant sum upgrading their systems in order to enable that migration to go ahead. With our help, they will now be able to manage procurement and budgeting to be more levelled-out over time in future.
Throughout our engagement we have produced documentation suited to different audiences: technical, commercial and managerial; and alongside assisting with major projects such as migration to the new cloud infrastructure, we have advised on operational matters such as security awareness training in response to heightened security risks occasioned by COVID home working.
As part of the structural remodelling, we have mentored internal staff, and helped them provide more value to the partnership whilst achieving greater job satisfaction.
IT strategy has become an ongoing, fluid process rather than an exercise in unexpected, expensive, disruptive refreshes on an as-needed basis. The firm are now confident that their systems are future proofed and are the best fit for all of their staff. IT has become less burdensome and worrying, and over time is becoming seen more as a driver for progress.
There are several ways in which we will help the firm in the future.We will ensure that they optimise the utilisation of the new version of their matter management system to ensure full adoption and maximum value for money. And, we will define the structure and policy for document management divided between the matter management system, Teams and SharePoint to ensure good governance.
Combined with our input into training and adoption, we are fulfilling our remit to assist the firm in applying technology to allow them to be progressive, to win more business and to boost efficiency.
The firm is delighted with the way we have been able to help them. They have found us ‘tuned in’ to the psyche of lawyers. Able to balance the need for strict data security without restricting access and billable hours.They felt we had a real understanding of the operations of a professional service industry and particularly the way a law firm works. Additionally, our unbiased insight into the vendor offerings coupled with our sector specific knowledge gleaned from helping other firms they found invaluable.