Cloud/MSP Project of the Year
Some projects demonstrate that outstanding collaboration can play just as important a role as innovative technology in achieving results. Pulsant’s Cloud/MSP undertaking for London law firm Teacher Stern is the epitome of this. The project highlights the latest high-performance cloud solutions, but its ‘people-focused’ facet is what makes it shine brighter than others.
In 2019 Teacher Stern engaged Pulsant to overhaul its aging and inflexible IT infrastructure to boost staff productivity and effectiveness. The firm’s vision was to create a lasting partnership that would enable it to achieve its business goals and growth plans and continue to deliver a reliable and excellent service to clients.
Pulsant worked hand-in-hand with Teacher Stern to create a bespoke IT architecture, including a fully-managed Cloud Desktop solution delivered on Pulsant Enterprise Cloud (PEC), as well as hosting for email, practice management and back office systems within two Pulsant data centres. Pulsant’s solution provides private resilient telecommunications from Teacher Stern’s head office into Pulsant data centres in Milton Keynes and Edinburgh and a virtual desktop delivery system using Citrix, secured for remote access with two-step authentication. This solution was a step change from the traditional multi-tenant shared session desktops of the past.
Pulsant tailored their project delivery using Prince 2 / Prince 2 Agile methodologies, adapted for the engagement with Teacher Stern. The Pulsant PM SaaS tool was a key enabler of the level of collaboration required to deliver in the timescale and provide the necessary transparency between the organisations.
The initiation phase included the creation of a PID, with both organisations signing off on deliverables, roles and responsibilities. Pulsant’s substantial customer migrations experience enabled early identification of risks and issues within the PID. Early-stage deliverables included a due diligence exercise by Pulsant which enabled the creation of key artefacts such as Low-Level Designs and Migration approach documents.
Controlling the various stages with tracking and updates of the RAID logs provided valuable input into the directing stage and Pulsant presented jointly with the Teacher Stern programme management team in regular steering meetings to the senior business stakeholders.
MSP projects are often technology led – conventionally delivering a technological solution to an inflexible playbook. The Pulsant/Teacher Stern project breaks convention with the outstanding level of collaboration involved and uncommon amount of time both companies devoted, which delivered the kind of results that would usually be associated with an enterprise project.
A process of comprehensive user testing saw a level of teamwork unique in Pulsant’s history, driven by dedicated transition managers who became an integral part of Teacher Stern’s IT team. This included enhanced post go-live support from Pulsant to ensure a seamless transition into BAU support. This people-focused approach proved vital in ensuring the project got the right result first time.
In the face of an unmovable tight four-month deadline - with no scope for error or delay - the project was completed seamlessly a month ahead of schedule. This enabled Teacher Stern to achieve a high level of mobility and to transition smoothly to home working at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, a situation the previous system could not have coped with.
Teacher Stern now benefits from reliable IT with better connectivity and more robust security, providing its fee earners with quick and uninterrupted access to systems and applications from any location or device. Improved reliability also means that Teacher Stern can install legal application features that were not previously possible, while the close working relationship with Pulsant means the company has the flexibility to implement additional services quickly if and when required.
Teacher Stern IT Programme Manager Andy Cecil said: “The project provided a big leap forward in terms of our capability and now IT has become an enabler, rather than a constraint. This meant we could quickly adapt and pivot our IT services away from constant firefighting, instead delivering to the business something more akin to the textbook proactive IT service management approach that we aspire to.
“Pulsant delivered a systemic solution, transforming the fundamental way our system worked. By changing the structure of its key elements, we have released efficiencies which were previously being strangled by issues inherent in the overall system. Even if we were counting modestly, we’ve seen a five-fold reduction in Priority 1 incidents in the eight months the system has been live.”