Transformational IT for Financial Advisors
Two years ago, I met Julie on a business growth training programme, and she knew just what my growing business needed.
The Communications Solutions UK Team gave my 5-year-old business the technology we needed to thrive and are my ‘go-to’ for any changes or growth we need to make.
Solesmith.co.uk had grown from a spare bedroom, to a garden shed, to a 2000sqft office in 3 years which had been great, but we hadn’t had time to really think about our technology.
In 2018, things like offering flexible and remote working were higher on our agenda. We were attracting companies such as Next, and Notonthehighstreet.com as customers so we needed a more polished and professional way of communicating. To be honest all the options seemed overwhelming. Cue Julie, she asked a lot of insightful questions and offered us solutions that were really tailored to us.
Our client understood that their requirements were complex. Their primary concern was to identify a partner with the necessary technical expertise, whom they could trust to help them through the whole process and support them afterwards.
They had a list of requirements and challenges that included ‘how to’.
- Provide call recording to ensure Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) compliance;
- Extricate themselves from a punitive contract with their incumbent phone provider;
- Migrate their existing line of business applications away from Apple to a more stable
- Windows environment;
- Automate their manual data backups;
- Replace their incumbent IT support organisation without upheaval and upset;
- Implement a remote working solution so that key personnel could work from home;
- Make sure that the office move was as smooth as possible, without any loss of service or impact on clients or the business.
To meet our client’s challenges, we conducted a comprehensive systems audit and presented a plan for both a phone system and IT platform for their new offices. The plan covered all aspects of the move from the provision of broadband into their new building for the new phone system, to the setting up of their email client, file-sharing and remote working solutions.
The key headlines were:
- Faster broadband;
- A cloud-based phone system with integral call recording and archiving;
- PC soft-phones installed for all users;
- Wireless headsets for all PC users, some with additional mobile connectivity;
- A phone tariff based on ‘call bundles’ to give predictable monthly bills;
- File migration from an Apple ecosystem to a Windows SharePoint environment;
- Automated IT cloud backups;
- New laptops and Microsoft Surfaces to complete the transition to Microsoft Windows;
- Adoption of Office 365 licensing with enhanced security to safeguard personal data;
- User training on the new systems;
- Telephone ‘help desk’ support so that expert help is always on hand;
- IT support with remote log-in to speed up fault resolution.
Six months after the move our client explained that as they have become more familiar with the new technology, they have realised they can do so much more than they had ever envisaged.
From an IT perspective the business is more efficient and access to information is easier. We’re ahead of where I thought we would be. We’re still learning what is possible, but everyone has adapted much better than expected. – Company Director
Key benefits that the Company has derived include:
- FCA compliance, phone calls are recorded, archived and can be retrieved when required.
- All line rentals, phone charges and licensing are invoiced on one bill. Charges are transparent, predictable and easy to budget.
- Both the phone system and SharePoint data file structure mean that ‘distance’ is no longer an issue. Staff can collaborate and consult with each other irrespective of location. Remote working is the norm for Advisers who need to travel.
- Incoming phone calls are transferred between staff wherever they are, unbeknown to the caller.
- Access to company information, including staff diaries is available on mobiles and Surfaces. This has made it possible for Advisers to schedule follow-on client meetings whilst still with a client. In the past, this required greater co-ordination and took time to organise.
- The company’s communications and IT systems are maintained, monitored, managed, backed up and automatically kept up to date.
It is important to highlight that no change is without its teething problems. Issues often arise as they did in this case, but by working closely ‘with the client’ those issues were resolved fully and in a timely manner.
Company Directors now have the peace of mind that their systems are compliant, secure and could be restored quickly and easily should the need ever arise. An office move always creates uncertainty, upheaval and change but as this Company Director explained,
As we gain familiarity with the new systems, they are providing benefits above and beyond that which we had initially anticipated.
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