Beyond business as usual

As a provider of managed IT services, much of our focus is on keeping our clients’ businesses running as they should; robust, well organised systems enabling people to do what they do best. But like icebergs, there is much more below the surface.

Our technical consultants, currently a team of 21 led by myself, Jason Whitaker, deliver the consultancy services included in our Qworks fully managed solution.

Clients are all at different stages of development, run different versions of Microsoft Office, on different operating systems with a mix of on-premise, Cloud and hybrid solutions, to say nothing of the third-party apps they rely on for their daily activities.

But all clients share the desire to be more productive, whilst enabling their people to collaborate more easily, work remotely and communicate better with their clients.

The team we deploy usually includes network, application and system engineers, with projects typically running over 3-5 months. Our work involves a huge amount of advance preparation, which limits disruption to our client’s operations when we implement changes.

Here is a flavour of the projects our experienced technical consultancy team is currently delivering.

On-premise but upgrading

A client with almost 250 users has decided to upgrade to Exchange 2013 from their current 2010 version. Unfortunately, a number of third-party apps make the jump straight to 2016 tricky and we’re working with these providers to develop an appropriate solution.

By keeping Exchange on-premise, the business is able to sweat the hardware assets a little more, using the existing licences and making the switch with minimal disruption.

Users will benefit from better connectivity and an improved experience on mobile devices and tablets as well as access to apps.

But a big difference for the business is that their servers are now backed up to Azure, using Online Backups and Site Recovery.

On hand for Big Hand

One of our many legal sector clients has just upgraded its case management system and upgraded the digital dictation software to Big Hand 5, which offers compatibility advantages when using Windows 10, a better mini-player and improved support.

Third-party management is an optional module of our full Qworks contracts, which means clients only have to deal with one point of contact, for all the updates and implementation of disparate apps and software.

Big Hand undertook the upgrade, but our training team was on site to better understand the system and ensure they could deliver future training on the system for the firm’s new starters.

Citrix upgrade benefits

We advised a law firm client considering a switch to Microsoft Office 2016 and a new case management system that an upgrade from Citrix 6.5 to 7.6 would be needed, offering the firm’s users a more flexible approach to working from anywhere, with any device.

This management of third-party apps and their providers is a key aspect of our fully managed solution – one point of contact offers our clients real peace of mind.

The upgrade offers a lot of benefits, with some old features from 6.5 re-appearing in 7.6, like Session Pre-launch, which starts sessions before being requested to help users access applications quicker and Session Linger, which keeps application sessions active after a user closes all applications to again help users access applications more quickly.

Our engineers and the constant support of our helpdesk team when making the move, ensures this will be another successful project when completed.

Azure frees up space

We are also helping a client remove the need for a large number of servers in their offices, transitioning their mail from on-premise Exchange to Microsoft Office 365.

We are also building a new Windows 10 image to address issues identified in the audit undertaken when we were appointed to support the firm’s growth and productivity ambitions.

Azure Site Recovery will take care of the back-ups and moving their mail to Exchange Online will free up lots of office space that can be occupied by new employees, without the need to move premises – one of the less obvious benefits of a Cloud Strategy.

More to follow

Many of you will recognise the issues we are addressing, but remember that organisations running a mongrel mix of hardware, software, operating systems, third-party applications, cloud, on-premise and hybrid solutions, remain productive, profitable and ultimately successful, with the right support.

Jason Whitaker, Head of Technical Services, Quiss Technology plc

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