Case study title
Better communication and collaboration for a multi-site international law firm
Fieldfisher is a European law firm with additional offices in China and Silicon Valley. They are top ranked amongst legal practices that employ more than 800 people. They work with a range of clients in many of the world’s most dynamic sectors including; technology, media, life sciences, energy and natural sciences, financial institutions and the public sector.
The legal landscape is consistently changing explained Fieldfisher’s IT Director, Mabel Evans, “We work hard to play to our strengths and build our ability to help our clients. A big part of this is keeping up to date with the changing technology landscape. We strive to be efficient and effective in all aspects of our work. Building strong relationships with our clients is critical to this success.”
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Fieldfisher aims to embrace technology to enhance their business processes and the way they collaborate with clients and partners. The ability to communicate quickly, efficiently and securely across their multi-site organisation is of paramount importance. They also operate within a regulated industry and so the need to protect, retain, backup and transact data securely; is hugely important.
As part of their flexible approach to business, they have also introduced agile working; enabling their staff to work from home. Another challenge has been to introduce the ability via a unified communications solution to work and collaborate remotely, securely and efficiently – be that working from home, whilst travelling or from one of the firm’s various offices.
GCI worked with Fieldfisher to provide four fundamentals of MPLS, LAN, VOIP and a proven UC capability with Microsoft Lync (now Skype for Business).
A network ring links the firms UK and European offices and provides a secure, resilient 24/7 monitored private network. The Managed Service Provider also supported Fieldfisher by providing everything from cabling, routers and switches through to wireless access points. For VOIP, GCI provides SIP trunk solutions to enable the voice integration for Microsoft’s Lync / Skype for Business Solution.
The introduction of unified communications was a major roll out covering seven UK and European sites from May 2014 to November 2015. This involved enabling 800 Lync seats, which was no small undertaking. The hosted UC solution replaced a legacy, on premise Nortel PBX. Fieldfisher have now enabled; presence, instant messaging, voice and video conferencing, and also federated the business with some key partners and clients.
This was not only a UK project connecting offices in London and Manchester but also linked the UK to mainland European bases in Paris, Brussels, Hamburg, Dusseldorf and Munich. This required an extended private network and the ability to roll out the critical Microsoft Lync solution across borders. During this time GCI’s project managers worked alongside the client’s in house IT team and other partners.
Mabel Evan’s added, “GCI was effectively an extension to our own team, consistently providing best advice and worrying about the detail. Collectively we achieved everything we set out to do at this stage of our technology transformation programme. GCI was committed to the engagement which was evident in the sharing of values and culture.”
GCI’s services have now been in place for some time. From the users perspective the biggest change was in the use of Microsoft Lync / Skype for Business which has been fully operational across their seven offices since November 2015.
Mabel Evans, reflecting on the lessons learnt said, “So what did we learn? Well to a degree it reaffirmed what we already knew would happen with a transformational change. We knew that such a major deployment, particularly affecting voice and data communications, would be an emotive thing. It takes a little time for people to adjust and get on board. Handsets were replaced with headsets, user interfaces changed, new features were added and working processes changed.”
All of this was whilst the firm consolidated its two London offices into a brand new flagship HQ. A lot changed over a short period of time, not just the end-user equipment but the business’s working processes as well.
Mabel continued, “The technology end-user experience growing pains were a necessary and unavoidable part of our evolution as a business and GCI fully supported us through this. If you just look at how we are collaborating now, the ease with which we can pull people into a call, the immediacy and simplicity of IM and nice touches like federation; have all helped support agility and improved productivity.”
“The managed service gives us comfort, knowing the solution is monitored 24 /7 by GCI. We look forward to working with GCI in the future.”
“GCI was effectively an extension to our own team, consistently providing best advice and worrying about the detail. Collectively we achieved everything we set out to do at this stage of our technology transformation programme. GCI was committed to the engagement which was evident in the sharing of values and culture.”Mabel Evans IT Director, Fieldfisher
“The technology end-user experience growing pains were a necessary and unavoidable part of our evolution as a business and GCI fully supported us through this.”Mabel Evans IT Director, Fieldfisher