AAnn cants part of a major project to enable its staff to become more agile, Travers Smith is trialling arrangements to move its desktop into the cloud and has already struck a deal to move its primary servers to a data centre run by Sungard AS.

The UK top 40 firm, led by IT director Ann Cant, is in the middle of a virtual desktop pilot that came about after the firm took soundings from its employees over what frustrates them.

Long hours came up across the board and Cant said: “The days of being stuck to your desk for 24 hours are long gone.”

The move towards agile working is not about hot desking or office space but the ability to work anywhere, and Cant added: “We’re giving people something that works better in a mobile environment, so the desktop in the office is exactly the same as when they’re working at home. There will be a consistency of look and feel that we haven’t got at the moment.”

The 317-lawyer firm has yet to confirm which supplier it will select and will also be reviewing what hardware it uses as part of the agility drive, including trialling Surface Pros.

Travers has already signed up with Sungard and Cant told Legal IT Insider: “We’re going to put our servers into our own data centre with Sungard so the server is not in the office. The live server will be with Sungard and we will replicate it back in the office. When everyone is comfortable, we’ll move the data room off premises so there is no server here. We know we’re making the right decision but it can’t be too big a bang.”

A major part of the agility programme will be automating as many paper-based manual processes as possible and Cant has helped to oversee a deal with new cloud-based contract automation entrant Clarilis.

Cant said: “Automation tools take forever to get out and I knew if we just bought a bit of software it wouldn’t go anywhere; it’s no good just leaving automation to a developer. We looked at all the automation tools on the market and they are all very good but Clarilis employ lawyers and IT is not involved because it’s all cloud based.

“We’re not going to automate all our precedents straight away. Given the type of law we do, we don’t have lots of high volume, low value work. But there are a couple of documents where we could do something. This is our way of dipping our toe in the water.”

As part of a wider move to improve its processes, Travers has signed up to Intapp Flow to help it build a better work flow across the firm.

This article first appeared in Legal IT Insider’s July/August newsletter.