With a history stretching back to 1885, RMB Lawyers has become one of Australia’s largest regional law practices. The firm offers a diverse range of services including criminal defence, business and commercial transactions, family law, and worker’s compensation.
With staff now spread across 17 different offices, keeping everything operating efficiently had become a challenging exercise.
Managing Partner Craig Osborne says the firm had been working with a technology partner for some time, but the increasing geographic spread of the firm had put pressure on the relationship.
“Some things were working well, but others were not,” he says. “During 2019, it became clear we would have to find an alternative partner who was better able to meet our growing support requirements.”
Osborne says the firm had a desire to operate as a single virtual office with a consistent infrastructure and services available to all staff. “This was important as it would help us to maintain our current operations as well as supporting our ongoing growth.”
With this goal in mind, the RMB Lawyers IT team set out to identify prospective new technology partners. After carefully reviewing a range of alternatives, a decision was taken in early 2020 to engage Rodin.
“Rodin impressed us with their deep technical knowledge and many years of market experience,” says Osborne. “They took the time to fully understand our requirements and put in place a strategy that would help us reach our business goals.”
The strategy comprised a range of components each designed to strengthen and standardise the firm’s IT infrastructure. These components include:
A ‘Virtual CIO’
A foundation for the new IT strategy was provided in the form of an industry leading virtual CIO (vCIO) service. The vCIO provides the firm with access to an experienced industry professional who has the knowledge and guidance to direct the entire IT strategy.
The service began with the vCIO spending time with senior management to gain a clear understanding of the business challenges being faced and the most appropriate technology solutions that needed to be deployed.
The result was a documented, 12-month strategy covering all aspects of the firm’s technology infrastructure containing detailed plans for all technology acquisitions and deployments. The strategy ensures existing systems can be successfully transformed to better suit the needs of staff.
The vCIO will continue to meet regularly with management and staff to ensure the strategy is followed and to overcome any challenges as they arise. Additional support in the form of ongoing advice and training is provided as required.
“The vCIO service has been a game changer for us,” says Osborne. “It has allowed us to receive advice and guidance that matches our particular requirements. The only other way to receive this would have been to hire a dedicated, full-time CIO which was just not possible.”
New cloud-based telephony system
The Rodin team deployed a hosted unified communications solution based on the 3CX platform. The new solution replaces the firm’s existing Telstra-based system and significantly increases functionality and flexibility.
Staff are now able to make and receive calls from virtually any location using their personal computer or smartphone. Calls can be transferred between offices and reports can be produced that show traffic levels and response times for answering calls.
Once all Telstra services have been terminated, it is estimated the firm will save approximately $4,250 per month.
“The new phone system can be readily expanded as our business grows,” says Osbourne. “This was particularly important during the recent acquisition of another firm where we were quickly able to equip staff with new phone numbers.”
IT infrastructure redesign
A core part of the overall IT strategy for the firm is a migration from Microsoft’s Azure cloud to a private cloud provider. This will significantly reduce ongoing costs and ensure all core systems are more flexible.
The shift will also improve security, especially for the increasing volume of data being stored with the firm’s Microsoft 356 environment.
Improved WAN connectivity
To streamline and standardise connections between offices, the Rodin team has been working on deploying a new wide-area network (WAN) across all locations. The result is better data speeds and a more reliable service.
The new WAN infrastructure is flexible enough to allow individual offices to choose the most appropriate internet service provider in their area. Each can be readily linked together to form a cohesive whole.
IT security has also been improved using Sophos synchronised security. Endpoints and firewalls constantly communicate with each other, and devices can be quickly terminated if suspicious or malicious traffic is detected.
“The new WAN infrastructure means all staff have a much more consistent experience when online,” says Osborne. “This is important as a growing proportion of our daily activity is being conducted digitally.”
He estimates the WAN will deliver savings of approximately $7000 per month across the firm.
The Ronin team has also taken over responsibility for the management of the firm’s fleet of printers and photo copiers. The fleet is integrated with the practice management application which allows activity to be billed to clients as required. Users log in to the devices using a swipe card.
Osborne says Rodin has already added significant value to the firm, and work is currently underway on a new strategic plan for the year ahead.
“We have a fantastic working relationship and Rodin clearly understands our business objectives and plans,” he says. “I am confident we now have a technology partner who can support us for many years to come.”