Founded in Bristol in 1748, today Osborne Clarke is an international legal practice with 25 offices & over 900 lawyers across Europe, Asia and the USA.
The IT Challenges of International Expansion
Following the opening of its first international office in Silicon Valley in 2000, Osborne Clarke has been expanding its global presence ever since. It now has over 25 offices with more plans in the pipeline. The global IT team, hubbed from Bristol, found that with this significant growth, there was increasing demand for IT support outside of standard UK working hours.
Osborne Clarke had been using another provider for out-of-hours IT support for a number of years. However, as its internal IT began to evolve and become more and more sophisticated to match the ambitions of the firm, they felt their out-of-hours service was remaining fairly static. They wanted a more responsive service and a provider that would be more proactive in suggesting and implementing service improvements and enhancements. Osborne Clarke decided to go to market for a new provider. After substantial due diligence, the firm selected Acora as their new out-of-hours IT support provider.
Seamless Service Day & Night
Acora was engaged to provide IT Support to Osborne Clarke employees from 7pm to 7am, 365 days a year from its UK Based Shared Service Desk. Both the requirement from Osborne Clarke and the proposed Acora solution was an out-of-hours service that would closely match the law firm’s in-house daytime global IT support operation.
In order to achieve this, Acora commenced a significant on-boarding programme, spending three months working in collaboration with the law firm’s IT Service Desk team and management to understand and document its systems and processes. The transitional period involved defining how Acora staff would be trained, performing the technical connectivity side of things, including arranging secure access to Osborne Clarke’s service desk tool, and agreeing the reporting and SLAs. This work established the partnership between the two firms which has assisted the development of the service before and after the service going live.
High Performance, Continuous Improvement, Collaboration & Availability
During the on-boarding process, Osborne Clarke and Acora agreed a set of weighted SLA’s that included metrics such as Service Desk Resolution, Ticket Quality and Speed of Response. Apart from the first month of live service, Acora has outperformed the agreed weighted target consistently for the past year.
A key part of the success is in the collaborative arrangement between the two parties. For example, Acora will ensure someone from its team spends a day every month working alongside the daytime in-house Service Desk team at Osborne Clarke. This allows them to stay up to date with processes, culture, developments and changes in the IT environment at the firm. In addition, the target Service Desk Resolution rate improved by 10% by collaborative working. The law firm arranged for Acora to gain increased access to its key systems in order to perform more fixes at 1st line. Acora also worked with the Osborne Clarke IT team on an induction test tailored to its specific environment and processes that all Acora staff supporting the firm must pass.
Acora provides IT support availability which covers a large proportion of daytime support demand from users in Asia and the US and the last few hours of the working day for some of the European offices. The service also picks up contact from those in the UK working past 7pm or before 7am. However, it is also proving to be a useful resource in the daytime, when there are UK bank holidays but other European offices are still open. Having this overflow facility improves the overall resilience and capacity of Osborne Clarke’s IT support model.
The Osborne Clarke IT team prides itself on high performance and continuous improvement; it regularly benchmarks against other law firms, it holds annual IT surveys to gain constant feedback from users, it is continually developing IT talent with apprenticeship schemes and promotion from within. The firm is also working towards complete flexible working, having invested in laptops for all fee earners and by making the Thames Valley office the first of its planned “connected working” hubs. Their own IT support SLAs are aggressive, guaranteeing contact within 30 minutes of an issue being raised, often with users receiving an email response within a few minutes.