Transatlantic Real-time Collaboration Proves Less Taxing for Top Accountancy Firm. Case Study: Frank Hirth

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1 Transatlantic Real-time Collaboration Proves Less Taxing for Top Accountancy Firm

2 Integrating its virtual desktop and Cisco IP phone infrastructures with Microsoft Lync 2013 enabled Frank Hirth to securely connect its people between London and New York offices using voice, IM, video conferencing and more. Today staff can access their systems on the device of their choosing and share content, programmes or their entire desktop, while tapping into a rich variety of communication options - regardless of whether they re working in the office, at home, or on the go.

3 The challenge: Frank Hirth wanted to enable truly agile work anywhere scenarios, giving its US and UK workforces access to transformative communications. Achieving this goal depended on partnering with an IT company that had the technical expertise to take on the complex integration of Microsoft Lync with the firm s pre-existing VDI and Cisco communications platform. The technology solution: Integration of Cisco Business Unified Communications Manager, Microsoft Lync 2013 and Citrix XenApp virtual desktop technology. 1st line support for all Cisco networking, IP infrastructure and connectivity. The business benefits: Staff can connect, collaborate and work virtually on any network, at any location and on any device, confident they can always access their desktop. Powerful harmonised communications mean virtual teams can work dynamically and in concert, engaging with one another as naturally as if they were in the same room. Harmonising multiple technology platforms has simplified the end user experience. A centrally managed and fully scalable platform securely delivers voice, video, person-to-person and point-to-point conferencing, instant messaging, presence and mobility - plus a virtual desktop environment.

4 The customer Frank Hirth is a premier UK-US tax and accounting firm that looks after the complex tax affairs of international businesses and high net-worth individuals and families with US, UK and European connections. Headquartered in London, the firm s team of advisors in London and New York provide specialised advice to clients on both sides of the Atlantic, relying on seamless support from an array of over 100 different software applications. In the past six years Frank Hirth has experienced sustained and fast-paced growth. An expanding workforce means Frank Hirth needs to ensure it can accommodate new hires with ease providing reliable technology that allows employees to concentrate on doing their very best for clients. The challenge Frank Hirth needs to respond quickly and with rigour to meet the needs of its client base. It s why the firm adopted a highly agile transatlantic virtual desktop environment that provides workers with secure access to their systems wherever they are and whatever the situation. Operating at the forefront of its field, Frank Hirth now wanted to capitalise on its existing Citrix virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and Cisco IP telephony investments, and take workplace communication and collaboration to the next level. We wanted to bridge the gap between our London and New York offices, so personnel could communicate and collaborate more productively exactly as if they were face-to-face in the same room, says Mike Jackson, Head of IT and Associate Director at Frank Hirth. Finding a way to introduce Microsoft Lync into the firm s existing VDI platform was crucial. But Frank Hirth had encountered a stumbling block, as Mike Jackson explains. Everyone we approached told us the way we wanted to structure our IT environment wasn t possible offering costly alternatives that represented a significant capital expenditure. We were faced with implementing a solution approach we didn t want, at a price that would have made it expensive to accommodate additional personnel joining the firm.

5 The solution We explained our Cisco/Lync/Citrix connectivity vision to Modern Networks and they got it. We knew we d found a partner we could work with. Modern Networks understood what we wanted to do, why we wanted to do it and they had the expertise to make it happen, continues Jackson. Alongside a dedicated SAN to support high speed access to servers, databases and high usage file servers for the UK and US operations, Modern Networks completed the complex integration of Microsoft Lync with the firm s pre-existing VDI and Cisco communications platform. This ensured Frank Hirth was able to maximise its existing technology and communication investments while futureproofing its infrastructure for growth and evolution. Modern Networks was tasked with structuring the integrated solution to support a possible migration to the cloud, the modular addition of new services in the future and the fast and easy provisioning of new users says Jackson. Modern Networks also implemented a Lync client for smart devices, ensuring that workers have full connectivity and functionality when using their mobile phones and tablets. Since the security of sensitive data is a business critical requirement, Frank Hirth undertook penetration testing to ensure the mobile implementation was 100 percent protected. We gave Modern Networks an extremely tight timeframe to complete the implementation and they responded, confirms Jackson. They showed a real willingness to tackle issues and deliver the most efficient implementation approach possible.

6 The benefits Today Frank Hirth s staff are taking advantage of powerful new collaboration and work anywhere capabilities that include a new connected user experience direct from their virtual desktop. Users can initiate and receive calls, retrieve voic , access their office lines from anywhere, click to join video conferences and join virtual group meetings. They can share documents or desktops while they speak making it easy to collaborate and share knowledge over complex tax projects or brainstorm at the drop of a hat. Employees can switch between different forms of communication including IM and high quality video utilising presence to keep colleagues updated on their current availability and communication preferences. This increased flexibility means the workforce is now able to seamlessly work remotely from home or on the road utilising their own devices. The newly integrated infrastructure means that Frank Hirth has begun testing dedicated point-to- point high definition video conferencing rooms, utilising high definition screens, microphones and Lyncenabled cabinet PCs. Users simple log in to initiate or join a conference and share content all of which is enabling enhanced team building and powerful face-to-face interactions. All this can be achieved at a fraction of the cost of traditional video conferencing solutions. We now have a 21st century working environment that enables our people to work faster and smarter, regardless of the physical distance between them or their location, states Jackson. It s not only changed the way we respond and support our clients, it s delivered on our vision of technology which is key when it comes to attracting new talent and responding to the expectations of today s tech savvy workforce. Into the future As the teams complete their Microsoft Lync training, expectations are that working methods are set to evolve further as Frank Hirth s people push the boundaries of their newfound collaborative and unified communication capabilities. In the coming months I want to initiate even greater agility and productivity for our people, testing docking stations that allow users to simply plug in their tablet and display their virtual desktop and Lync services on dual 24 screens so they can be up and running in just seconds.

7 Modern Networks Head Office: 1-3 Dufferin Street London EC1Y 8NA Call: Modern Networks Hitchin Office: 18 Knowl Piece Wilbury Way Hitchin, Herts SG4 OTY Call: Visit: The communication and collaboration experts

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