Frank Hirth VDI & UC solution

When Frank Hirth, one of the UK’s biggest accountancy firms, wanted to integrate unified communications with their Citrix virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) Modern Networks had the answer.

About Frank Hirth

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. Frank Hirth PLC is currently listed as the 32nd largest Accountancy firm in the UK (2017 Accountancy Age Top 50+50 survey of the UK’s biggest accountancy firms) with a workforce of 220 dedicated people.

The challenge

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 staff 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. That is why the firm adopted a highly agile transatlantic virtual desktop environment, designed to provide secure access to their systems, anytime, anywhere.

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 in the same room,” says Mike Jackson, Head of IT and Associate Director at Frank Hirth.

Finding a way to introduce Microsoft Skype for Business 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 expense. 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.”

The solution

“We explained our Cisco/Microsoft/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 Skype for Business 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 Skype for Business client for smart devices, ensuring that workers have full connectivity and functionality when using their smartphones 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.”

The benefits

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 firm’s staff can 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 Skype for Business services – on dual 24inch screens so they can be up and running in just seconds.”

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