Plan-Net and Davenport Lyons: Increasing competitive advantage with an IT outsourcing partnership

West End law firm Davenport Lyons has been providing services to a wide range of clients from large corporations to high net worth individuals for the last 75 years. It advises in areas of corporate, tax, litigation and property law and also provides specialist media and intellectual property expertise. The firm has 1 office split over two sites and approximately 200 staff including 48 partners and over 100 fee earners.
The Challenge
The law firm had become aware that improvements to the performance of its IT function needed to take place. Like any other law firm and most businesses, IT underpins the stability and effectiveness of day to day operations at Davenport Lyons and the firm was aware that its IT function did not sufficiently align with its business needs.
The firm decided to consider outsourcing the IT function and having become aware of Plan-Net’s credentials as a specialist in the legal sector, approached the IT service provider for assistance.
Prior to any commercial arrangement, Plan-Net engaged with Senior Partners and the Governing and Operations Boards at Davenport Lyons through scoping sessions and structured workshops on areas of business systems, process, governance and technology. From this Plan-Net were able to articulate a number of specific issues impeding the law firm’s IT function including:
• The structure and processes of the IT function could be significantly improved to achieve higher efficiency and performance levels and a much better alignment with the business;
• The business continuity and information security could be improved to reduce risk for the law firm and to better comply with Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) standards;
• The firm was suffering from an ageing and inflexible IT infrastructure which was beginning to impact on staff productivity;
• There was an over reliance of internally written IT systems and therefore on individuals, presenting a significant amount of risk.
Plan-Net proposed a vision for the future state at Davenport Lyons, how this could be reached and a detailed analysis as to the return Davenport Lyons could expect from working with Plan-Net.
With a level of confidence in Plan-Net’s capabilities already established at this stage, the two parties collaboratively formulated a full Outsourcing agreement. This included initial project work that would deliver the transformative element Davenport Lyons needed, the cost of which Plan-Net were able to spread across the period of the contract enabling Davenport Lyons to benefit from rapid and significant IT improvement without facing excessive upfront investment.
Transformation phase
The first task for Plan-Net was to define a leadership model, formal project processes and a support structure aligned to the needs of the business. This work provided the mechanisms to enable proper communication and accountability and therefore ensure delivery within the IT function and to its internal customers.
This involved a phase of audit and documentation of all current IT and security processes to both compare with best practice and reduce business risk. Incorporated in this was documenting custom built systems to allow for wider support and maintenance. Plan-Net’s professional services team used this audit information to design and implement a much improved business continuity plan which included additional security and disaster recovery measures.
To upgrade the law firm’s infrastructure, Plan-Net moved systems on to a virtualised platform with shared storage which increased efficiency and agility. This technology project also enabled a much improved disaster recovery strategy to be defined and made remote application monitoring possible as well as maintaining and upgrading technology much easier.
Plan-Net embedded an ITIL aligned Best Practice service management system including processes for incident, problem and change management. As part of this, Plan-Net assessed existing technology and defined migration paths from custom built in-house systems to standard third party systems, evaluating the various options of these for best fit.
The Outcome of Outsourcing
Davenport Lyons now have a robust Outsourcing agreement with contractual service level agreements and service credits if Plan-Net fall short of the jointly agreed SLAs. The agreement is designed so that Davenport Lyons maintain full control over the Outsourced service.
The on-going strategic level partnership between the two parties has been key to enabling Davenport Lyons secure competitive advantage possible with IT capability through constant review of business requirements applicable today and in the future.
In addition, Davenport Lyons is now operating in a more secure environment that is compliant with SRA standards, with future-proof infrastructure and a robust business continuity plan in place that is regularly reviewed.
The Outsourced model delivers higher levels of first time fix rates in IT support and also provides a single point of contact for all faults, queries and requests.
Aligning IT to the needs of the business, Plan-Net provides support on a 24/7/365 basis by combining onsite support during extended business hours with an out of hours service provided from Plan-Net’s London based, legal dedicated 24/7/365 shared Service Desk. This allows the support team to be much more responsive to the business and specifically in assisting fee earning partners with long working hours and tight deadlines.
The on-going engagement with Plan-Net provides the law firm with a much higher level of service and Davenport Lyons can demonstrate measurable return, as Dawn McEwen, Governing Board member and Operations Director highlights: “Our IT service and capabilities have been significantly improved. I’m 100% convinced we made the right decision.”
Customer Challenge
•    Align IT function with business
•    Improve business continuity plans
•    Improve IT support & project delivery
•    Reduce dependency on internal, bespoke systems
•    Update Infrastructure
Plan-Net Solutions & Services
•    Full outsourcing agreement with contractual
•    SLAs & service credits
•    IT Strategy
•    Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery
•    Project Management & Technical Consulting
•    Best Practice processes
•    1st, 2nd & 3rd line support with extended hours
•    Service Management tool
•    Infrastructure upgrade & virtualisation
•    Alignment of IT with business
•    Greater efficiency and delivery
•    Clear measurement and accountability
•    Guaranteed compliance & robust IT security
•    Clearly defined support model and processes
•    Future-proof IT Infrastructure
“Outsourcing IT to Plan-Net has been a really positive move for us and we look forward to building upon and developing our relationship with Plan-Net.” …Dawn McEwen, Operations Director, Davenport Lyons
“Everyone, from the board down, has been impressed with what you’ve delivered.” …Pinakeen Patel, Finance Director, Davenport Lyons
“Our IT service and capabilities have been significantly improved. I’m 100% convinced we made the right decision.” …Dawn McEwen, Operations Director, Davenport Lyons

Plan-Net is a leading IT service provider with a reputation built on the professionalism, flexibility and cost effectiveness of our skills solutions.
Whether you need more effective and flexible on-site support, specific technical knowledge or project assistance, or your business is considering IT outsourcing, Plan-Net is the company you should turn to. Our approach is to truly get to know the way your business works and understand your challenges. Only then can we recommend the right skills-based solution to you. To find out more contact us on 020 7353 4313, or visit our web site at
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