Case study - BTO Solicitors LLP
About the firm
BTO Solicitors LLP is an independent Scottish Law firm which caters for the Scots law needs of organisations in the private and public sectors and for individuals. Clients range from major insurers to medical defence organisations, commercial businesses, housebuilders, property investors, established manufacturers, well-known retailers, financial institutions and public sector organisations.
263 employees (including partners)
Glasgow & Edinburgh
Elite 3E Financial Management, 3E Matter Management (MatterSphere), 3E Business Development (Business Development Premier)
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), 24/7 Support, Fully Managed MPLS, Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)
When BTO Solicitors LLP chose to replace their Practice Management software, moving from Envision (Pilgrim Lawsoft) to the Elite 3E suite (Financial Management, Matter Management & Business Development), they knew they would need to drastically scale up their IT resource.
Rather than expand their ageing infrastructure, BTO took the opportunity to modernise their IT and move to a ‘cloud first’ strategy to better achieve their aims. By utilising cloud technology, the firm could become more agile in their approach, whilst benefitting from increased data security.
“The workload to implement a new Practice Management solution is significant, and the timeline is typically a minimum of two years. This, along with our decision to move to the cloud, meant that we required the support and technical skillset of a specialist IT infrastructure provider” said Douglas Cowie, Chief Executive of BTO.
“Thomson Reuters introduced us to Converge TS who, as a supplier to the legal sector, have the technical knowledge and experience of working with firms such as ours to ensure projects run smoothly. By outsourcing the IT infrastructure element, we would be able to free up time for our in-house IT team to deliver the project more quickly.”
BTO completed thorough due diligence checks, meeting with the Converge TS Management Team and Senior Technical Consultants who would be involved in the project. BTO were also invited to visit the data centres to inspect security measures and the quality of the facilities where the data will be stored. Following a competitive tender process, BTO appointed Converge TS to design, deliver and manage a completely new environment for their applications, along with a robust Disaster Recovery solution to ensure uptime of mission critical IT systems.
Converge TS built and delivered a non-production environment, providing server infrastructure, Microsoft licensing, and virtualisation services optimised for the new Elite 3E software. The firm’s live production environment was also upgraded, increasing the level of resource and adding more Microsoft licenses.
To ensure performance and high availability of the application, Converge TS also delivered a fully managed MPLS, providing new primary and secondary data connections at all key locations. This ensures a direct connection between both of BTO’s Glasgow and Edinburgh offices and the data centres, between the old and new infrastructure environments, and maximises speed for all users. This removes single points of failure from the connectivity landscape and provides a secure, stable connection, allowing automatic failover in the event of a service interruption.
A comprehensive backup and Disaster Recovery (DR) plan was also put in place which allows the firm to recover data and quickly failover to a new environment in the event of an infrastructure failure. Data is backed up to provide Disaster Recovery within the primary data centre environment and this is replicated to a second data centre. BTO also chose to add a further layer of protection, replicating again to private infrastructure within a third data centre location. This is a truly hybrid model and is designed for very high availability, exceeding the firm’s RTOs (Recovery Time Objectives).
The DRaaS (Disaster Recovery as a Service) is fully managed and the technology behind the solution facilitates quick and easy system migration, granular file recovery, as well as full system failover, and regular incremental backups to meet BTO’s RPOs (Recovery Point Objectives).
“The service level provided by Converge TS has exceeded our expectations and their specialist knowledge of the software and technical expertise has been invaluable in creating the right platform for our new software” said Alan Fisher, IT Manager for BTO.
“For example, even though the application has a single database architecture, Converge TS were able to create bespoke capabilities beyond that of the application. They designed a solution to send information from the primary database to a second server, replicating it for Disaster Recovery purposes and reducing the risk of data loss. Their expertise and their willingness to engage directly with Thomson Reuters to resolve issues has given us confidence in their abilities and allowed us to spend time implementing the new software rather than building and managing the infrastructure it sits on.”
For BTO, moving to the cloud gave them the flexibility to change or reallocate resource on demand, which provided advantages when it came to avoiding delays in their software migration project. With Converge TS managing the infrastructure, BTO could easily request changes or increases to storage or compute power when required. Had they been managing their own infrastructure, they may have needed to purchase hardware, licenses and complete time-consuming set up before being able to continue.
The services provided by Converge TS are supported by a UK-based 24/7 team who continuously monitor and manage BTO’s estate to ensure uptime and performance is maintained. The firm benefits from access to a technical team with expertise in many different technologies, and consultants who can provide guidance on the firm’s IT strategy.
“Our experience of working with Converge TS has been excellent and their relationship with Thomson Reuters has been invaluable for keeping the project on track. Their technical consultants liaised directly with the Thomson Reuters team to help overcome issues and provide us with the resource we required at each stage” said Douglas.
“My recommendation for firms looking to complete this type of project would be to choose your partners carefully. An IT provider with experience of your specific applications who demonstrates a willingness to collaborate with your software vendor will reduce the pressure on your in-house team and ultimately lead to a better result for your firm.”