After working with Ricoh in the review and evaluation process, we could see they would be a great fit for our firm. They understood the challenges we were facing and what we were trying to achieve.
Streamlining IT infrastructure management
Established in 1975, Ryan Carlisle Thomas has grown to become one of Victoria’s largest personal injury law firms. With 24 offices across Melbourne and regional Victoria and more than 150 staff, the firm offers a range of services designed to cater for the legal needs of individual clients throughout the state.
Areas of expertise include industrial and employment law, personal injury compensation claims, family and relationship law and wills and probate.
Having undergone a period of expansion, Ryan Carlisle Thomas is heavily reliant on its IT infrastructure. Everything from the document management system and core applications to networking and printing resources must operate efficiently and reliably at all times.
As staff numbers and workloads have increased, monitoring and managing this infrastructure became an increasing challenge. This was magnified by the fact that the firm had staff spread across 24 offices, with many regularly working remotely.
“With a small internal IT team of just two people, we were finding it difficult to meet growing demands,” says Leanne Willis, ICT Administrator, Ryan Carlisle Thomas.
“As well as maintaining the infrastructure, we were also providing help desk support to all staff. We were quickly approaching the point where we wouldn’t be able to keep up.”
In addition, the firm was looking to deploy a secure network across its office locations which would enable employees to seamlessly work in any office in any location safe in the knowledge that network connectivity access was robust and would mitigate the potential risk of a security breach when transferring data across different offices.
Ryan Carlisle Thomas needed to replace its multi-vendor and disparate Wi-Fi network which lacked visibility into operations.
A new managed services approach to security and wireless infrastructure was required which would enable Ryan Carlisle Thomas to incorporate new technologies for smarter and more collaborative working as well as support overall company initiatives for improved work-life balance.
When Ryan Carlisle Thomas was in the process of refreshing its printer fleet after taking the decision to standardise on Ricoh hardware, their IT team learnt of Ricoh’s capabilities in the managed IT services space and its strong capability in Cisco network and security solutions.
“We issued a tender for a managed services partner with strong expertise in network and security and, when we discovered what Ricoh offered, we added them to the list,” says Ms Willis.
After careful review of the four short-listed contenders, a contract was signed with Ricoh to supply a fully end-to-end managed network, including Cisco core switching and Cisco Meraki cloud controlled Wi-Fi, routing and security. The scope of responsibility covered everything from the firm’s five physical servers housed in a Melbourne data centre to its fleet of 170 desktops, network infrastructure and printers.
“After working with Ricoh in the review and evaluation process, we could see they would be a great fit for our firm,” says Ms Willis. “They understood the challenges we were facing and what we were trying to achieve.”
Just six weeks after the contract was signed, Ricoh successfully implemented Ricoh’s Managed Service solution, including an end-to-end Cisco network and end-to-end WiFI cloud managed wireless network solution across several locations. When implemented, Ricoh took over management responsibility for the firm’s IT infrastructure. For both the IT team and users, the benefits quickly became evident.
“Ricoh now provides help desk facilities from 7am until 8pm each business day,” says Ms Willis. “This has been welcomed by staff and also taken a considerable load off our shoulders.”
Being able to run the business on a more secured and stabilised network with increased employee efficiency, the IT team are freed from day-to-day infrastructure management and support. The IT team of Ryan Carlisle Thomas is now able to focus time on other value-adding activities within the firm. Initially, this has included expansion of the training and induction programs for new and existing staff.
“We also quickly came to understand the benefit of having a single point of contact for our entire IT infrastructure should any issues arise,” says Ms Willis. “Rather than needing to contact multiple vendors, we can simply phone one number at Ricoh and have any problems swiftly resolved.”
To support print and document management, Ricoh has also deployed “follow me” capabilities. This allows staff to send sensitive documents to a particular printer and then have them produced on demand.
“Having the same model of printer in each office makes it a lot easier for staff who travel between locations,” she says. “They also have the option of using the devices to scan documents directly into our Affinity document management system.”
Ricoh’s managed services offering also provides Ryan Carlisle Thomas with deep insight into visibility of network utilisation, branch network connectivity and application usage. The service also provides secure remote access in the field from any mobile device and facilitates ease of managing the IT fleet in terms of mobile device security and upgrades as required.
Other key benefits realised include:
- more stable end-to-end WAN connections between the firm’s office locations to allow employees communicate more efficiently and effectively
- increased work life balance by providing network access to remote workforce through Cisco VPN solution
- improved employee mobility through Cisco wireless technology
- improved infrastructure security through Cisco firewall and Ricoh managed services
- better support for remote and mobile workers
- access to IT expertise as and when required.
With the Ricoh managed services partnership now in place, the Ryan Carlisle Thomas IT team has a number of other projects on its radar screen.
“Now we have a higher capacity and more reliable WAN in place, we are looking at deploying a hosted voice and video communication system,” says Ms Willis. “This will help our staff communicate more efficiently and improve overall productivity.”
She says other items include greater use of cloud-based platforms and the introduction of Microsoft Office 365 across the firm.
“We will continue to look for other ways to streamline our IT infrastructure and ensure that it continues to support our firm. Working with a strong partner such as Ricoh and its provision for managed services means we have the resources and ability to achieve our goals”.