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New IT system enables flexible working
Frettens have completed a complete overhaul of their IT systems, in order to provide their team with greater flexibility and their clients with a faster, more efficient service.
The firm worked very closely with the new provider, etiCloud, as the move was completed in April during the strictest phase of the coronavirus lockdown.
It involved a switch from on-site server hardware to a secure cloud-based environment, as well as replacement of all computing and telephony hardware, explains IT Manager Jane Newman:
Switching It suppliers during lockdown
“Lockdown could be seen as either the best or the worst possible time to carry out such a huge project.
On the one hand, we had fewer of our team on-site during the switch, but on the other, we were presented with some tricky logistical challenges as a result of social distancing measures.
It was a move that was not undertaken lightly and had been a long time in planning. We were really keen to push ahead regardless, as the benefits of moving to the cloud were only going to be more significant with the changing workplace environment.”
The move to the cloud means that the team can log in securely and work from wherever they choose, whenever they need to, in exactly the same way as they would do if in the office.
Remote working and enhanced client service
“The way we work is changing unrecognisably, for good”, says Clare Hallett, Partner in charge of IT and Head of the firm’s busy Residential Property Team. “Offering our team the flexibility to work from home and have more control over their work/life balance was a key factor in deciding to move to the cloud.
“The coronavirus outbreak has pushed a lot of businesses to seriously reconsider these points. This switch has allowed us to bring more of our team back from furlough, quickly, without causing the logistical problems involved with having them all on site at the same time." adds Clare.
“I now have my whole team back working full-time, which would have been a real challenge if they were all on-site. As a result, we are able to offer our clients a seamless service, when many other businesses have been struggling with the changes.”
Aiding work/life balance
It has also allowed the team to fit their work around necessary family responsibilities at a challenging time. Many of the team are already thrilled with the outcome. Lewis Barr, Marketing Manager, for one:
“I have to use a lot of quite powerful software in my role, so was worried about the speed a remote connection would operate at, but it’s been great. If anything, it’s actually faster than when I was in the office.
I am now able to work from home 3 or 4 days a week. I save over an hour a day on the commute and get to spend extra time with my young family. My work-life balance has never been better.”
The changeover, which involved 80 users spread over the firm’s two sites, was completed quickly and with minimal fuss. Jane Newman and Jo Harvey worked closely with etiCloud to ensure minimal disruption for the firm’s clients.
“It was certainly a long weekend, and a busy few days either side, but etiCloud were fantastic. They were on the end of the phone the whole time, extremely supportive, talking us through everything as they couldn’t be on-site." Outlines Jane.
“It was almost seamless, and we are already reaping the benefits of the changeover.”
etiCloud on their cloud partnership with Frettens
Mike Hague, Customer Excellence Director with etiCloud commented
“Lockdown brought with it many challenges, one of which was delivering the switch to Cloud for Frettens over the phone rather than the usual on-site implementation we’re used to – Dorset this is Sheffield calling!
The entire team was so patient, professional and accommodating and the project went extremely smoothly with multiple benefits being seen immediately. Hearing positive feedback such as those comments from Lewis about work/life balance make it all worthwhile and demonstrate the increasing importance of digital agility for law firms.
Frettens is a forward-thinking business and it is a pleasure to count them as one of our clients. We shall continue to work as an extension of their team to ensure the firm grows from strength to strength with the support of our unrivalled Cloud services platform.”
Kevin Bishop, Senior Business Development Consultant with etiCloud
“This project was subject to particularly tight timescales due to the situation with Frettens’ incumbent IT infrastructure. One of the key elements that enabled us to bring the project in rapidly is the fantastic working relationship that our technical team has forged with the technical teams at both SOS and LexisNexis Visualfiles.
They are both proactive and responsive organisations and we look forward to working with them on many more projects of this type in future.”