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Transatlantic Real-time Collaboration Proves Less Taxing for Top Accountancy Firm

by Charlie Trumpess

 23rd October 2014 12:24 pm

Frank Hirth is a premier UK-US tax and accounting firm that looks after the complex tax affairs of international businesses and high net-worth individuals and families with US, UK and European connections.

In the past six years Frank Hirth has experienced sustained and fast-paced growth. An expanding workforce means Frank Hirth needs to ensure it can accommodate new hires with ease – providing reliable technology that allows employees to concentrate on doing their very best for clients.

Frank Hirth needs to respond quickly and with rigour to meet the needs of its client base. It’s why the firm adopted a highly agile transatlantic virtual desktop environment that provides workers with secure access to their systems– wherever they are and whatever the situation.

Operating at the forefront of its field, Frank Hirth now wanted to capitalise on its existing Citrix virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and Cisco IP telephony investments, and take workplace communication and collaboration to the next level.

“We wanted to bridge the gap between our London and New York offices, so personnel could communicate and collaborate more productively – exactly as if they were face-to-face in the same room,” says Mike Jackson, Head of IT and Associate Director at Frank Hirth.

Finding a way to introduce Microsoft Lync into the firm’s existing VDI platform was crucial. But Frank Hirth had encountered a stumbling block, as Mike Jackson explains.

“Everyone we approached told us the way we wanted to structure our IT environment wasn’t possible – offering costly alternatives that represented a significant capital expenditure. We were faced with implementing a solution approach we didn’t want, at a price that would have made it expensive to accommodate additional personnel joining the firm.”

“We explained our Cisco/Lync/Citrix connectivity vision to Modern Networks and they got it. We knew we’d found a partner we could work with. Modern Networks understood what we wanted to do, why we wanted to do it – and they had the expertise to make it happen,” continues Jackson.

Alongside a dedicated SAN to support high speed access to email servers, databases and high usage file servers for the UK and US operations, Modern Networks completed the complex integration of Microsoft Lync with the firm’s pre-existing VDI and Cisco communications platform. This ensured Frank Hirth was able to maximise its existing technology and communication investments while future-proofing its infrastructure for growth and evolution.

Modern Networks also implemented a Lync client for smart devices, ensuring that workers have full connectivity and functionality when using their mobile phones and tablets. “We gave Modern Networks an extremely tight timeframe to complete the implementation and they responded,” confirms Jackson. “They showed a real willingness to tackle issues and deliver the most efficient implementation approach possible.”

Today Frank Hirth’s staff are taking advantage of powerful new collaboration and ‘work anywhere’ capabilities that include a new connected user experience direct from their virtual desktop.

Increased flexibility means the workforce is now able to seamlessly work remotely – from home or on the road – utilising their own devices.

“We now have a 21st century working environment that enables our people to work faster and smarter, regardless of the physical distance between them or their location,” states Jackson. “It’s not only changed the way we respond and support our clients, it’s delivered on our vision of technology – which is key when it comes to attracting new talent and responding to the expectations of today’s tech savvy workforce.”

“In the coming months I want to initiate even greater agility and productivity for our people, testing docking stations that allow users to simply plug in their tablet and display their virtual desktop – and Lync services – on dual 24’ screens so they can be up and running in just seconds.”

Read the full Frank Hirth case study.