While many law firms are still exploring the  potential of outsourcing their IT facilities, the South West-based national law firm Clarke Willmott is not only convinced of the benefits but has also embarked on its fourth phase of outsourcing since 1999. In its latest move, Clarke Willmott has now changed suppliers and awarded the Tikit Group a three year contract to manage the firm’s IT services.

Commenting on the deal, Clarke Willmott’s IT Director Iain Hepburn explained it was the firm’s established  best practice to look at the outsourcing market every three to four years and review the options available in terms of cost and enhanced  service offerings. It was as a result of the most recent review that the firm decided to switch from its incumbent outsourcing services supplier and award Tikit the contract. “The major advantage Tikit had over our existing supplier was their extensive track record in the legal and professional services sector. They understand our business and the specialised legal software applications we use. Combined with their sector expertise they can also offer us access to their knowledge of the market and emerging technology trends.”

Tikit is providing Clarke Willmott with a range of IT outsourcing services, including Microsoft Active Directory, Exchange and SQL Server platform support, along with 1st line helpdesk and 2nd and 3rd level support services to ITIL standard. Although the deal means Clarke Willmott has now become Tikit’s biggest law firm outsourcing client to-date, Iain Hepburn says Tikit’s professionalism ensured the transfer ran smoothly. “Even during the first month, you couldn’t tell there was a change. Thanks to Tikit, the transition between outsourcing service providers was seamless.”

But why is Clarke Willmott such an enthusiastic adopter of outsourcing?

Hepburn explains that although the firm still retains its own small team of developers and analysts, “The business advantage of outsourcing is it lets the in-house IT team focus purely on projects that will deliver benefits to the firm’s lawyers and clients, whilst the job of keeping the lights on is outsourced.”

“In a competitive market, my team can wholly focus on business issues, which in recent years has seen the firm develop a wide range of bespoke case management and business automation workflows, without the distraction of dealing with the plain vanilla infrastructure problems associated with mergers, acquisitions and growth.”

Turning to the future, Tikit has also been awarded a technology refresh contract by Clarke Willmott. This will see Tikit implementing an upgraded platform comprising Microsoft 64-bit architecture running Server 2008, Exchange 2010, SQL Server 2008 and SharePoint 2010 by the spring of next year. The project also includes virtualisation and desktop delivery, primarily via a Citrix thin client, to create a Windows 7-style desktop supporting Microsoft Office 2010 and the latest versions of the firm’s line of business applications, which include the Elite financial management and iManage document management systems.

Simon Elven, Head of Division, states “Outsourcing is a core component of Tikit’s proposition to law firms. Our unparalleled knowledge and experience of legal IT applications makes us well placed to deliver benefits to firms over and above simple cost reduction. Enabling our first and second line engineers to leverage the skills of our 3rd line support desk and consulting resources place Tikit in a unique position to deliver an enhanced outsourced service.”