The Perfect Host How Hosted Services can save you time and money

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1 The Perfect Host How can save you time and money An Introduction to Information Technology has become increasingly important within the legal market and firms and chambers are under increasing pressure to provide clients with a more reliable and efficient service. The effective use of technology is a key tool to helping firms achieve this. They need to be able to provide quick access to information for both fee-earners and secretaries, barristers and clerks as well as having excellent system reliability. As a result, a more efficient, solid network is required to underpin law firm management system as well as advanced hardware and software. More practices and chambers are realising that competitive advantage can be gained through the effective use of IT. With this in mind, a larger IT investment is frequently needed. But the question is how best to invest that money? The shift in importance of IT means having to spend more money in this area of the business. Historically, the standard way has been to invest in in-house staff and systems, requiring a large amount of budget to provide the hardware and human resources to run an effective network. IRIS now provides an alternative option in how they make that investment. have been designed to host core software applications on dedicated powerful servers in a highly secure, scalable data centre. This service provides a whole new way of working that gives access to a whole host of new technological advances and services, while saving time and money! are provided by IRIS as one of the IT solution options for law firms and chambers. We still offer our traditional networked solutions but, for some, can be a preferable option. If you are new to the concept of, then this document will highlight some comparisons between and traditional networked solutions and will allow you to draw your own conclusions as to whether can save you time and money.

2 How can save you time and money Costs network Large initial investment in hardware Like any other business, firms and chambers will always have to invest heavily in the infrastructure required to provide for their current and future IT needs. Once hardware is bought, there is no going back Purchasing the most suited and correct mix of server and networking hardware requires a significant knowledge of IT and mistakes in the initial purchase can be felt throughout the life of ownership. All computer hardware is a cost not an asset and deprecation is very high. A server or PC is typically worthless once it is about 36 months old. Many do not realise the importance of a homogeneous and streamlined approach to IT. Anti- Virus software is an example of a technology that requires the use of a single product across a network to ensure efficiency and seamless support. If technology such as this is not streamlined across the organisation, contrasting and conflicting products can result in compatibility and support issues for the entire network. Investment in IT skills both is a cost and a resource Qualified, reliable, honest, trustworthy and committed IT staff are a valuable, and hence expensive, commodity. Hiring as required, or maintaining onsite assistance has a constant cost both in staff retention and in training commitments for future IT knowhow as technologies develop. With, there are no large upfront costs. Users pay per month for each user licence and the level of access required, and this in turn determines the type of licence and the associated variable cost. So, the only cost you have to consider is a monthly rental fee. Our Account Managers will work with our technical team and you to tailor a solution that meets your current and future needs, by suggesting the right technology to suit. With an in-house solution, it is not only the initial set up costs, but the salaries of the IT staff responsible for the network that are a cost. If your firm or chambers does not have dedicated IT staff to support their in-house network, it means that, whoever helps to administer the network may not be properly trained, or they are taking time out of their day, which in turn prevents them from working productively in their normal role. Through, IRIS provides you with access to the latest server hardware and software as well as our technical expertise, so the risks and frustrations of buying and maintaining your network are eliminated. Saving time Network Time consumed with network administration Maintaining an in-house network is a timeconsuming process. The time taken in the administration and maintenance of a network will invariably cost money, whether this is in the form of an IT Manager tasked with its sole responsibility, an administrator, or a number of individuals. When it is the latter and numerous people are responsible, it can be a common misconception that costs are being reduced, as there is not a direct salary or dedicated job role involved. These responsibilities take up time and if handled by someone who is not trained, it can create more problems. If the time of a practice manager or clerk is dedicated to this type of work, it is time that could be better spent procuring business, handling enquiries or looking at marketing or business strategies.

3 How can save you time and money Frustration in dealing with multiple companies Firms and chambers with an in-house solution will often employ several different IT organisations to provide solutions. The lack of ability and willingness of these third parties to engage with each other is a frequent cause of frustration. Even if these companies do work together, there can be an avoidance of responsibility or lack of drive to resolve problems or issues. This can cause delays and disruption, resulting in a lot of frustration and nonproductive time. Lack of time to plan IT strategy Many firms do not employ dedicated IT staff and those in an IT role are usually very busy. To keep abreast of the latest technology and utilise it in a successful business strategy, time is needed to constantly research, seek and find new and better products. With, IRIS can provide for all your IT needs. You are not even required to look after the data back-ups! You will never have to worry about keeping copies of licence keys or updating software. You will not have to worry about security issues, setting up new users, or maintaining space on the system. Once we take responsibility for all these areas of your network, you will be able to focus on your job. Because IRIS is responsible for all major parts of the system, you will not have to deal with multiple companies. Our support team will be on call to help deal with any problem you may have. This way, your time is not wasted chasing companies on technical issues, but instead, it can be spent focussing on your core business. By moving to, you are renting IRIS s technical expertise. We are constantly looking at researching and incorporating new technology into our solutions. Our R&D and Technical departments have years of experience in the legal industry. This is not only an immediate benefit that is hard to quantify, but also a unique resource that, to develop in-house, would incur massive costs for individual firms and chambers. By delegating our IT responsibilities to IRIS, we re free to concentrate on our service delivery and everyone has seen improvements in this area, most notably our clients, which helps us to maintain a competitive edge in the current climate. Godolphin Chambers Advanced Technology Large upfront costs for advanced products and services Advanced technology in the form of powerful servers and advanced mail systems such as Microsoft Exchange, real time data protection and the latest software upgrades are all very expensive and require significant investment. If an IT budget is limited, this technology will not be a viable option, even when the benefits are really needed. Large support costs for multiple services With the advanced communications solutions that allow direct web access to practice management software and push technology that facilitates personal information being sent to mobile devices, an individual support charge per user is normally incurred for each of these services. When a number of users subscribe to these services, support charges can become substantial very quickly. These advanced technologies are immediately available. Microsoft Exchange is made available at a fraction of the normal cost. The advance messaging features in Microsoft Exchange allow any users, with the correct Windows based mobile device, to have instant access to the Hosted Services and other essential software. They can amend their diary, access and contact information, all on the move! Flexibility Static fixed desk assignments The vast majority of law firms and chambers networks are set up so that each user is fixed to a specific PC. The ability to provide hot desking, which allows users to log onto any PC, requires a complex software infrastructure to ensure that everyone gets the same level of functionality from each machine they use. Mobile access to the system costly and complex Providing the ability to access all personal and corporate data when mobile, is a facility that comes with a high cost due to the infrastructure required.

4 How can save you time and money The Hosted system is brilliant. It s easy to learn and to use and we have made huge savings as a result. MH Legal The configuration of this technology is also complex and requires an in depth understanding of network administration and the technology involved to ensure the safety of data. With the rising cost of facilities management such as buildings and heating, there is a growing desire by many firms and chambers to replace the model of one person/one desk with a hot desk environment. With, this is possible as any machine can be used to log on to the Hosted Services network. allow you to utilise communal PCs in a common location so that these resources can be used as required, rather than having desks standing empty. It can, therefore, facilitate a newer, much more cost-effective way of working for legal firms. provide the same access to users data irrespective of the location they access the system from. An internet café, public wi-fi hotspot or hotel can provide full access to our Hosted Services systems. Windows Mobile hand-held devices offer full synchronisation of data between our systems and any Windows Mobile 5 device. This means that users can have access to their information while on the move, anywhere in the world. This can provide untold benefits, allowing you to be in full contact with the office 24 hours a day, 7 days a week should you need to be. Security, Resilience & Continuity Downtime costs money Any business that relies on constant, real time access to their business information will suffer greatly from any downtime or failure of their network. This potential downtime problem extends further than just access to data at the server. It includes internet connections, systems and mobile access to the organisation. Any breakdown of these technologies can cause great disruption. This downtime, specifically with a file server or system, can have a direct impact on the business, with most staff being unproductive during the downtime. Major data loss can be the end of a business If the server does suffer from a major hardware failure, backups have to be utilised to retrieve the most recent copy of the data. This is where problems can occur. If untrained staff have been responsible for the backups, or there has been a failure in the management of the backup process, the amount of data lost can be massive sometimes months or years. The impact of such a significant data loss can be terminal for a business and, as a direct consequence, it may not be possible to regain the trust of existing clients or attract new business. Recovery from a disaster can be a lengthy process To ensure immediate continuity of business in the event of a disaster, a complete backup system is required in another physical location, with a separate power source. This is immensely expensive. Without this technology, immediate downtime will be experienced. The system will be unavailable until another server can be sourced and data transferred, as well as a workspace being found for members of the organisation to connect to the system. Normally with a standard network, when a server becomes unavailable, the programmes and documents it stores are unavailable until the problem is resolved. With, users will always have access, as it is a highly available system. It uses a server structure that is not compromised by a single server failure; so, for example, if an server fails, the system will still allow users to continue to send and receive and even access existing messages. This means that it is very unlikely that there will ever be a time when you will be unable to access the system due to a server failure. Staff will be able to work without experiencing downtime. The servers are state-of-the-art with fully encrypted connections for better security and data integrity including in-built anti-virus and anti-spam filters. Howells Solicitors In our experience of serving the legal industry, far too many businesses do not place enough importance on data protection. A number of our customers had previously suffered heavy data losses and have paid a heavy price for their lack

5 How can save you time and money of investment in protecting their information. provides instant, real time data protection so that, not only will you never have to be involved in the backup process, but all your data will be protected. If you were to source this data protection in-house, it would mean a very large investment but, with, it is incorporated into the monthly rental charge. Being able to access the system from anywhere in the world, provides benefits not only in terms of flexibility for the individual, but it also provides an alternative option in the event of a major disaster such as a fire or flood. Although access to computer systems is often a secondary concern after such an event, disaster protection should be put in place to ensure the effects are limited. Usually this protection is limited to the backup tape being taken off-site overnight to guarantee its physical separation from the live data. This level of protection, when successful, can limit the maximum potential loss (often limited to 24 hours), but it does not provide for business continuity. With, the system will continue to be available and you only need to access the system from an alternative location. Support Business hours support With standard in-house systems, support is normally limited to business hours. This can be restrictive when users wish to work outside normal business hours. This is especially applicable to firms who want to be able to complete paperwork or work on the system out of standard office hours. Providing cover out of business hours can require a significant investment. This is particularly acute when the level of support required includes detailed knowledge of an individual system. Support for the Hosted Service is governed by tight Service Level Agreements that deliver both system performance and helpdesk availability. (Hosted) enables us to provide clients with a comprehensive service and an unparalleled choice of first-rate counsel across a range of subject areas and at all levels of experience. Park Lane Plowden Chambers About With over 5,000 law firms, more than 270 barristers chambers and 100 coroners offices, Solutions is the largest provider of software and services to partnerships in the UK and Ireland. Our aim is to help our customers, from sole practitioners to large regional firms, improve overall partnership performance, specifically cashflow and profitability by providing modern and easy to use tools to improve efficiency through better workflow, to increase income through better use of data and enhance client service through an integrated approach to practice management. Designed exclusively for the Legal sector, our software portfolio includes practice and case management (including workflow), electronic forms, customer relationship management (CRM), business intelligence, skills and resource management, document imaging, HR & payroll all underpinned by superior managed and hosted service offerings. With 30 years of experience and 300 specialist staff dedicated to servicing the needs of our legal customers, we pride ourselves on a tailored approach to customer service, evidenced by 95% annual customer retention, amongst the highest in our industry. Solutions is part of IRIS, one of the fastest-growing and now the largest privately owned software and services business in the UK. It has revenues of c 120m p.a. and c1,200 employees servicing over 60,000 UK businesses from a national network of offices. As an organisation, the IRIS values are: customer focus, honesty & integrity, innovation, passion and service excellence. For further information, please call: or visit:

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