Law

Published: July 27, 2020 | Updated: July 27, 2020

Sky’s the limit as law firm moves to cloud and now work-life balance ‘has never been better’

By Andrew Diprose, editor

A Dorset law firm has completed an entire overhaul of its IT systems with a switch from on-site server hardware to a secure cloud-based environment.

Christchurch-based Frettens Solicitors says it provides its team with greater flexibility and clients with a faster, more efficient service.

The firm worked closely with new provider, etiCloud, as the move was completed during the strictest phase of the coronavirus lockdown.

All computing and telephone hardware was also replaced.

Jane Newman, IT Manager, pictured left, said: “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 and work from wherever they choose, whenever they need to, in exactly the same way as they would do if in the office.

Clare Hallett, Partner in charge of IT and Head of the Residential Property Team, pictured right, said: “The way we work is changing unrecognisably, for good.

“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.

“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.”

The move to the cloud has allowed the law firm’s team to fit their work around necessary family responsibilities at a challenging time.

Lewis Barr, Marketing Manager, pictured left, said: “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 three or four 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.

Jane said: “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.

“It was almost seamless, and we are already reaping the benefits of the changeover.”

Mike Hague, etiCloud‘s Customer Excellence Director, pictured right, said: “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.”