Independent pension group 3173 Limited (3173) has deployed Citrix technology to adopt a cloud-first strategy that ensures IT can scale up and down quickly to meet business demands.
The group includes consulting actuaries Spence & Partners and Dalriada Trustees, the UK’s second largest firm of professional trustees, with 160 staff including consultants, trustees and actuaries spanning seven offices across the UK. Having last procured an on-premise IT infrastructure in 2014, the group planned to end any dependence on legacy infrastructure.
As the equipment neared the end of its scheduled life cycle, 3173 worked with Gold Citrix Solution Advisor HTG to develop and deploy a cloud-first strategy built on Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops and Microsoft Azure. With this technology, the group has both accelerated staff productivity and built the capability to scale and dynamically adjust to the volume of incoming work.
Ability to scale
3173’s work sometimes includes pension scheme wind-ups following the insolvency of an employer – an example of a situation that requires the company to quickly ramp-up resources at short notice for periods of intense activity, as the firm takes on decades of records.With a cloud-first infrastructure, 3173 can now instantly scale up and down to meet business demands.
The previous on-premises footprint meant capital expenditure – either procuring new hardware very quickly or trying to guess in advance. Instead of being a high, fixed cost, IT costs are now in-line with business activity.
Improving performance and productivity
User experience was an important consideration throughout the design and deployment. Previously, employees were held back by slow sign-in times, often switching on their PCs and then making a coffee while the machine booted up and signed in. Citrix technology has provided a streamlined user experience where the average login time is now just 23 seconds.
The new desktop solution also protects income as the majority of staff are fee-earners and need to be able to work productively from the moment they sit down at their device. Additionally, new or temporary staff can be provided with a virtual desktop within minutes, delivered to a company MacBook, iPad, phone or Microsoft Surface notebook depending on the preference and needs of the user. Comprehensive security policies and controls are in place to protect business data, no matter the device.
Leveraging the Citrix-Microsoft partnership
The collaboration between Citrix and Microsoft has made it simpler to provide staff with single sign-on across the network as Citrix Gateway integrates with Azure Identity and multi-factor authentication to streamline the user experience. 3173 now uses Citrix Content Collaboration for all external sharing. The solution’s tight integration with Office 365, SharePoint Online, and OneDrive for Business has made it a natural fit for the group. Staff across the various offices operate as a single team, relying on the agile solution to securely share very large quantities of documents within the team and externally with both clients and other service providers.
Employees have already felt the benefits of the new system – resulting in both a massive reduction in help-desk tickets and a quicker, more responsive user experience that fosters collaboration and increased productivity.
Alan McBurney, Chief Technical Architect, 3173 Limited:
“Moving to Citrix cloud services, Microsoft Office 365, and Azure gives us an evergreen service where we consume, we don’t maintain. Refreshing our data centre kit would have been a million-pound investment. That just doesn’t make sense in today’s world. If you own the infrastructure, you’re responsible for the hardware, servers, storage, networking and so on. We are happy to entrust this to Microsoft and Citrix now. With Citrix on Azure, we just consume what we need.
“Our group has some of the best people in the pensions industry and they need to be able to direct their expertise to client work with the least possible distraction. Every minute of productivity counts. With the Citrix/Microsoft desktop, we’ve fast-forwarded from where we were previously. People just want to come in and do their work and they’ve found the new system hugely beneficial. We’ve got to a point where IT works the way it should, enabling productivity and promoting collaboration.”