Mercer & Hole is a 200 employee strong, top 40 firm of chartered accountants with offices in London, St Albans, Rickmansworth and Milton Keynes.
Their aim is to ‘do things a little differently, excel technically and to give their clients options they hadn’t even thought of’.
Mercer & Hole’s existing MPLS set up was no longer providing them with the most up-to-date service across their multi-site organisation. Rather than simply connecting the individual sites, they wanted their geographically dispersed offices to share a core network infrastructure to give greater control and security.
As carriers of highly sensitive data and being heavily reliant on staying connected, Mercer & Hole wanted greater reassurance that their connectivity service was protected. Mercer & Hole wanted the security of an easy to execute plan in the event of any unplanned situation. Protecting client data is the highest priority to the accountancy firm.
Partners and additional key members of staff, including home workers needed greater call-handling flexibility and their Wi-Fi provision was inadequate in places, inconsistent across sites and difficult to manage.
MPLS to VPLS – Reconfiguring to the more dynamic ‘Virtual Private LAN Service’ would not only make connecting the 4 sites easier, the upgraded solution with centralised firewall and breakout for additional security, would provide a more cost-effective way of offering Layer 2 Ethernet over WAN.
Leased Line & Security - Installation of two diverse-carrier leased lines at each site, where 1Gbps primary circuit speeds could be achieved using a blend of service providers depending on location. By having a diverse range of carriers to select from, Boxx can deliver best in breed of connectivity across the estate. Where available, BT Ro2 options would provide absolute secure connectivity - A seamless fail-over in the event of any interruption to service, provided at network level, using intelligent control of IP addressing across the services.
Wi-Fi Hardware – Replacement of existing multi-system set-up (consisting of 4G connections using various routers across each site - including 1 x Google home hub) with a Ubiquiti solution on a separate VPLS for additional security. The centralised, cloud managed Ubiquiti offering would allow staff to connect to the Wi-Fi using the same login details no matter which site they were at, yet on a separate connection to their clients. These public and private connections paths would never cross, thus ensuring even greater security.
VoIP Migration – Mercer & Hole needed just short of 300 VoIP licences (we chose GAMMA Horizon) and are looking to migrate 20 mobiles at a later stage. We built a direct interconnect from the VPLS into GAMMA’s Core network to secure Voice traffic all the way from the customer end point to the GAMMA network, providing the highest level of security and priority to Voice traffic.
Video Conferencing – Previously Mercer & Hole were using an old lifesize system. The technology had become out-of-date and it was unable to connect to 3rd parties or share content. We recommended a Polycom solution incorporating their Trio Visual+ and Eagle Eye products. This integrates with Skype for Business and would therefore open up video conferencing opportunities externally.
Engineering – As well as re-cabling, we installed managed switches across all 4 sites and multiple ‘stacked’ switches which allowed greater control, that could be centrally managed.
With multiple products to roll-out, partner relationships to build and client trust to be developed all within finite timescales, our small but highly dedicated ‘Service Delivery Team’ demonstrated agility in managing the implementation.
A full product demo to all stakeholders was held in our office early on , where 12 participants, with varying levels of seniority from reception staff to senior partners and all were engaged from the outset. The demo suite was set up with stations for each type of user the client would experience. This exercise was invaluable and allowed us to understand in even greater detail how they would utilise the solution post implementation.
An unexpected site-move mid-way through the wider order meant that Mercer & Hole;s leased lines needed to be installed prior to this move. A two-month tech freeze was also imposed which resulted in extremely tight deadlines. Despite the strict time constraints and challenges, our team successfully delivered all aspects of the proposed solution on time and consistently exceeded expectations in levels of service.
The solutions deployed are flexible and scalable to accommodate future growth quickly and easily and the client has also reported a 10% increase in call quality.
The IT manager now has complete control of all 4 sites infrastructure remotely, meaning that changes can be made to suit business requirements in a pro-active way rather than as a reactive approach. The IT manager is also able to delegate certain elements of this to his department rather than being solely responsible.
Partners are reassured that the highest levels of security are in place to minimise risk to data and to business operations. In the event of a disaster at any of their sites, their phones can simply be diverted to another site so that no downtime will be suffered.
The on-site end-user training sessions delivered to each of the client’s 4 sites as well as additional 1:1 training to key individuals resulted in excellent feedback – rated first class.
Staff at all levels are confident that our customer service team are on-hand with improved response times compared to their previous supply and if necessary, engineers can be on-site the same day.
We are now working on the latest phase of Mercer & Hole’s telecommunications project...
Firstly, rolling out a new mobile service offering, to provide a complete remote working solution.
Secondly, analysing their disaster recovery plans in greater detail, so that they not only have backup connectivity in place and call switch over capability, but also a clear plan of exactly how / where calls are re-routed depending upon the various types & scale of impact that could potentially cause threat.
Award Recognised Solution
In mid 2019, we were thrilled to be recognised for the solutions deployed, project management of, and the support that continues to be offered to Mercer & Hole in two highly commended, independently judged, industry awards...
The Comms Dealer Sales and Marketing Awards (CDSMA 2019) shortlisted us as finalists in their Best Support Team award, crediting the dedicated attitude and flexible mindset demonstrated by our Service Delivery Team when dealing with the complex infrastructures and sophisticated requirements, to ensure no downtime and a seamless service through the changeover period, whilst continuing to provide exceptional service to our entire client base.
In June, the Comms Business Awards - who rewarded forward thinking and progressive channel businesses - announced us as the WINNER in their Mid Market ICT Solution in recognition of the bespoke solution delivered to Mercer & Hole, the exceptional training and ongoing support provided, as well as the project management expertise that enabled us to overcome challenges and exceed all expectations of service delivery.