About Pett Franklin

Pett Franklin & Co. LLP are a multidisciplinary niche law firm, based in the heart of Birmingham’s prestigious business district which has 7 members of staff.

The firm specialises primarily in providing comprehensive and authoritative advice on all aspects of executive and employee share schemes. As a multidisciplinary organisation they provide a uniquely integrated legal, tax and accounting service for their clients, many of whom are large London-based corporations.

Number of Employees: 7

Partnered with OGL since: 2013

Company Location: Birmingham

Company Website: www.pettfranklin.com

Prestigious law firm selects OGL to take its infrastructure into the cloud

Following the installation of our hosted desktops products also known as ‘Desktop-as-a-Service’ (DaaS) at Birmingham-based law firm, Pett Franklin, we met up with William Franklin, Partner and Chartered Accountant, to find out what motivated the change. We were keen to find out if the switch from onsite servers to the cloud has delivered the proposed benefits…

What is your past experience of working with IT suppliers?

“Pett Franklin was formed in 2009 by breaking away from a much larger organisation, which had an in-house IT department, to become a very specialist multidisciplinary law firm. There was much complexity to contend with at the time, with IT being just one element of a very big undertaking, and, in hindsight, there was some understandable naivety about IT.

“The IT partner we selected to install the infrastructure for the new company gave us poor advice and recommended we installed hardware and software that we now know were not right for Pett Franklin and the way we work. We swapped suppliers as soon as we could and the second supplier helped us to deal with a legacy of problems created by the first supplier.

“We have certainly learnt a lot about IT in the past five years which wasn’t necessarily what we wanted as we had a vision that IT wouldn’t be seen or heard at Pett Franklin but would quietly enable Pett Franklin to deliver our services to clients in the way we wanted. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case and we have needed to be very hands-on with IT over the last 5 years.”

How did you get involved with OGL Computer?

“OGL initially got in touch with us back in 2012, but at the time we were reasonably satisfied as our second IT supplier was managing to rectify our issues.

“The following year I researched different types of IT infrastructure myself and was interested in cloud services and the possibility that a hosted infrastructure might finally resolve the ongoing problems we had with our system once and for all. It also helped that I drive past the impressive OGL offices most days as I live in Wyre Forest.

“Our incumbent IT supplier was recommending that we invested in new onsite servers. They worked hard to give us best advice, based on their strengths and experience, but they had not invested in the cloud in the same way that OGL had and we felt they could not deal completely with all the issues we raised. So we decided to contact OGL to ask about their cloud services. They were only too happy to offer advice and, explain their credentials as a cloud services provider and the solution they could offer us.”

What was the solution that OGL presented?

“Your IT Consultant presented an offsite solution whereby OGL would host our entire infrastructure in their data centre. This appealed enormously as the responsibility of physical servers had not been a pleasant experience and was taking up a lot of time that could have been spent on further development of the new firm.”

The recommended solution utilised OGL’s hosted desktops product which hosts users’ desktops in a data centre with excellent security features and eliminates the hassle of patch management, user administration and application updates.

“For a law firm there are some special regulatory and legal issues that need to be carefully considered and it was helpful that OGL had already addressed many of these points.”

“The idea that staff at our firm could access their desktop from any internet-connected device was a revolution. OGL showed us how IT could work for us, instead of against us.”

What was it about the cloud-based solution that appealed to you?

“The solution offered by OGL really did tick an awful lot of boxes for Pett Franklin. Firstly, it’s given me back time; I can now focus on my profession rather than having to manage a set of servers that, honestly, I have no interest in doing. The maintenance of the infrastructure has been handed over completely to OGL and I am delighted it is all now handled centrally in the data centre. I don’t miss the responsibility of having physical servers in our office.

“Secondly, my colleagues and I now have full access to our desktops and all our applications on the move. The nature of the services provided by Pett Franklin means that the large majority of our clients are based in London. Previously, our staff would need to plan ahead to ensure they were taking the correct documentation, often using data sticks. Alternatively, they would call our office secretary from a client’s premises and request documents were emailed over. It added to life’s difficulties to constantly be negotiating the limitations of our system.

“Hosted desktops enable us to securely access everything we need onsite with a client, from home, on public transport or at coffee shops between appointments in London, and know it is the most up-to-date version.

“Thirdly, it has increased the security of our data. Our offices are in the heart of the Birmingham business district, and, although we ourselves were not affected, there has recently been two break-ins to our building which is shared with others. Sophisticated criminals had charmed their way into the shared building, hidden overnight, stolen IT equipment and then exited the building the following morning. Knowing our data is safe is crucial to our firm. I am very happy that our data is in a facility with 24 hour security and I would recommend others consider it.

“Finally, although the decision to switch to hosted services was not primarily cost-orientated, it was a considerable advantage that the service is paid for on a monthly basis rather than as one large investment which would probably have been the case had we opted for another onsite infrastructure.”

What did you think of the data centre when you visited?

“I was very pleased to be offered the chance to visit OGL’s data centre and see for myself exactly where our infrastructure would be hosted. It was exactly as OGL described; very high-tech, very secure and very well protected from threats such as fire and flood. As an accountant, I like the quality of a product or service I am purchasing to be evidenced and the visit certainly helped with that. It’s great that small businesses can use high-grade facilities such as these, which one may have previously presumed were unattainable for a business such as ours.”

Would you recommend OGL’s hosted desktops service?

“Yes I would. I believe hosted services will begin to become more and more prevalent as businesses come to understand them and I would certainly recommend that businesses speak to OGL about the hosted solutions they offer.”

"I believe hosted services will begin to become more and more prevalent as businesses come to understand them and I would certainly recommend that businesses speak to OGL about the hosted solutions they offer." (William Franklin, Partner and Chartered Accountant)

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