As we offer all LawNet members two hours of free IT consultancy, we undertook the initial project scoping, review of IT processes & procedures under that arrangement. This enabled us to focus the main review around areas of concern identified in this initial stage.
Particular concerns identified were the vulnerability and reliability of the onsite server infrastructure, challenges around governance and processes, the lack of support for the internal team, and finally but not least the focus and engagement of the IT team.
To undertake the deeper review, we held detailed interviews with all members of the IT team, interviews with representatives from all fee earning and operations and reviewed all of the IT team (processes, project plans etc).
The deeper report considered the firm’s IT maturity against our assessment framework which highlights areas of good practice as well as areas for improvement across the following areas:
- Technology Strategy
- Sub or Linked Strategies
- Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
Based in the heart of Nottingham city centre, Actons is a law firm with a vibrant, friendly culture and a client base that is the envy of many of our competitors.
Their teams of down-to-earth lawyers provide helpful and expert legal advice to individuals, SMEs, family managed businesses, charities through to large national organisations.
The report gave Actons a clear picture as to the IT team’s performance against expected service delivery and the subsequent recommendations made pragmatic suggestions for how to address the challenges the report raised.
Of particular interest to the Actons management team were the risks which existed due to the onsite hosting of the infrastructure and the pressures that keeping this running had on the IT team in terms of workload, skill sets and general approach.
Over time the team had become overly focused on the infrastructure – “keeping things running” rather than considering IT from an end-user or business perspective and the report found the firm did not have enough resources to manage and maintain a complex server environment.
The review also highlighted several widespread infrastructure issues such as remote desktop performance, stability and reliability which prior to the report had been dealt with as one-off incidents rather than as impactful firmwide issues. Equally the firm’s telephone system was identified as being problematic for most users who attempted to use the remote working aspects.
As a direct result of the initial report Actons engaged us to help them identify and employ a Managed Service Provider (MSP). This is a large step for Actons who have previously hosted infrastructure onsite and employed all of its IT team directly.
The recommendation to move to an MSP arrangement was to enhance rather than replace the internal IT team function. It was essentially a partner who would work with the internal team to provide hosting and support services but not in the commoditised way which MSPs tend to like to operate.
To support this selection, we developed a clear selection process and created a requirements document setting out the technical and service requirements in our vision.
Four MSP providers were invited to tender and it soon became apparent there was one supplier whose solution was the closest match to the requirement document and who displayed the right cultural attributes to be a very good long-term partner for Actons.
We then worked with the Actons team to undertake due diligence on the preferred MSP including undertaking reference site calls and the initial contract review.
“The input and sound advice from David and the team at Baskerville Drummond has been invaluable. The initial review was extremely thorough and provided us with a solid base on which to build our future IT strategy.
The first and by far biggest project was the identification and selection of an MSP. David agreed with our view on having an in-house IT team that, in once a move the cloud had been successfully implemented, would focus on improving our technology platforms and work to deliver value to the business and our clients.
David has done a brilliant job of guiding us through the project and we’re looking forward to that progressing and the real benefits that will bring to our business. His experience of the legal and MSP markets has been invaluable.”