Accountancy firms have a reputation for being traditional, conservative and not often at the bleeding-edge of technology. Not so Accounting Direct Plus (ADP) in Palmers Green, North London. Head of Business Advisory at ADP, Tugrul Yigitoglu, has a passion for technology that is equal to his keen eye on, not only his, but also his customer’s financial bottom line. Always open to new ways to bring efficiencies and improve his staff’s productivity, Tugrul, contracted ITbuilder to deploy a new hosted desktop and telephone solution into his business.

The Brief

The company needed to refresh its servers in 2013 due to the imminent expiration of server hardware warranty and to ensure continuous operation of its systems. ITbuilder had migrated the business’ mail system into the cloud the previous year and the management were keen to explore how other aspects of their IT could be delivered in the same way.

The business was also expanding quickly into South London and was soon to be opening an office in Central London, so any new servers ADP Logohad to be accessible to these sites and provide staff with access to their Sage and Iris accounting software. The company also needed to expand its telephone network into these sites and wanted an integrated system that could link the sites for internal calls and allow inbound calls from customers to ‘find’ users at whichever site they were at as a number of users would be working between the three offices. ADP also needed to expand their system to better support working from home and allow staff easier access to data when at customer sites, preferably from tablet devices that had recently been purchased.

The Solution

To provide the flexibility of home, remote branch and customer office working, across desktop, laptop and tablet devices, a ‘Remote Desktop’ approach was the obvious solution. ITbuilder provided ADP with a cost analysis between purchasing and depreciating hardware and software assets for an ‘on-premise’ Remote Desktop solution for comparison with a managed, hosted rental solution provided from ITbuilder’s managed datacentre for a fixed monthly fee. From a technical perspective, the two options were practically the same and offered identical features and functionality. From an accounting standpoint, the first option represented a significant, up-front capital expenditure (CapEx) that would sit on the business’s balance sheet. The second option represented a simple operating expense (OpEx) with desktop rented per user with a three year minimum term.

The management took the view, as it did with the previous e-mail migration, that the rented consumption model was preferable to making a large up-front investment. This option was further re-enforced by the fact that a hosted solution would be managed from a professional datacentre facility with redundant network and power services as well as security of the kind that most small business do not have budget to invest in.

To meet the needs of the business’ telephone communications requirements, the same cloud approach was evaluated. ITbuilder put a proposal for a hosted telephone service, Horizon, on the table. Horizon delivers the same benefits as the hosted Remote Desktop such as a basic fixed per user monthly fee with a small initial setup cost. For this a feature-rich communication service is delivered with all of the features you normally associate with a big-business telephone switch, such as Voicemail-to-email, Call Groups, Interactive Menus, Single Number Ring, User-manageable Calls Diverts to name a few. Being cloud-based, it is easily deployed to ADP’s head office and new branch sites as they come online. Home users' were immediately catered for with senior staff taking desk phones home to connect to their home broadband service and mobile users having access to control their inbound DDI number via the web portal. The Horizon system would also provide cheaper rates than their existing BT tariff meaning that they could expand their telephone system from head office to branch sites for just a small increase in their current monthly spend on communications.

“We have already seen the benefit of using IT Builder services and support in the last few years, which helped us achieve our goals.

Also having implemented new cloud base server and Cisco telephone system, we have seen the benefits in very short space of time. This has given motivation to staff, confidence to our clients and have increased our efficiency rate from average 80% to 90%.

We always look at IT as the back bone of our business and having professional team members in IT would always make our life easier.

James Naylor makes an effort to understand the business needs and always comes up with most efficient and effective ways in solving the problems, which is supported by a very professional hands on approach team. “

Tugrul Yigitoglu, Head of Business Advisory, Accounting Direct Plus

The Result

Over the course of two-weeks, ITbuilder carefully migrated all of ADP’s data and accounting applications over to its datacentre and made it accessible by way of a secure Windows Remote Desktop for each individual user, accessible from any device anywhere on the Internet. Following a short, successful test-period, all users were cut over to the new Hosted Desktop and were now working completely in the cloud. The same desktop computers and peripherals were still used at ADP’s HQ, however the processing and data was happening 40 miles away in North Hertfordshire at ITbuilder’s managed datacentre. ADP staff can now logon to the same desktop whether at the office, at home or on the road and have instant access to their customer data. They no longer have to worry about buying expensive new desktops for their office and can access the desktop from even a very old Windows XP computer. Equally, they have access to the desktop from their Android and iPad tablets when visiting clients.

As for the telephony, each staff member now has a direct dial landline number (DDI) that routes to their smart, new Cisco desktop phone. They can easily set this number to simultaneously ring their mobile so they don’t have to give their mobile number out and can divert to colleagues or voicemail if they are busy at clients. The same number can ‘follow’ them to either of the new branch offices or to phone at home if they require. They also never miss a message now because their voicemail is integrated into their email and they can listed to customer voicemails on the move as audio attachments in their inbox.

By migrating to new cloud technology, ADP has achieved a double-digit increase in productivity from staff and an immeasurable improvement in the service levels to its customers.  All this from systems that were delivered from order to sign off in under four weeks. Also, it was all achieved with a setup fee of just a couple of thousand pounds and increase in IT monthly spend of less than 35%. We think that those figures would make sense to even the most traditional accountant.