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A Bird's eye view of Global IT

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A Bird's eye view of Global IT

Bird & Bird LLP is an international law firm, with over 1200 lawyers in 28 offices across Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, helping clients based in over 120 countries across the globe. The firm aims to be the number one law firm in the world for organisations being changed by technology or the digital world. This global ambition requires a global IT approach. Therefore, Bird & Bird’s IT department has a specific way of working: as each office supports fee-earning lawyers, IT support must be present locally to ensure they can provide a swift and effective response to requests.  Experienced staff are required, as at each location, IT analysts must have significant insight and knowledge of local applications, server settings and communications.  Although local IT groups were highly effective at resolving issues, when the same issues impacted services in different countries, there was significant duplication of effort.

When Nard Van Breemen joined the firm as Global IT Support Manager, Bird & Bird was using different service management products in each country.  It was clear to Nard that Bird & Bird needed an integrated Service Management solution to provide insight into IT workload at each location, so that Central IT could spot trends sooner, respond faster and manage demand more effectively.  Therefore, the new tool had to enable the flow of information, communication and collaboration between local offices and Central IT.

Selecting the new tool was a team decision

Before starting his search, Nard and his teams compiled a list of requirements, using MoSCoW (Must have, Should have, Could have and Won’t have this time) to prioritise the functionality they needed.  Nard wanted to draw on the experiences of the teams in each country and get their feedback about their existing tools and impression of the different vendors bidding for the work.  Remote demonstrations were arranged with three vendors, attended by IT support leads from every country. Secondary sessions we arranged to provide even greater exposure and address questions that arose from the first round of demonstrations. Nard was aware that adoption of a new tool would be heavily dependent on the preferences of each team, so he decided not to influence the selection process and instead turned the decision over and asked his teams to reach consensus.

Nard explains that Hornbill Service Manager “ticked every single box, functionality-wise, but was not over-priced. There wasn’t a dramatic difference between any of the products in terms of licensing/subscription costs, but implementation was a different matter. We didn’t want to pay for months of consulting just to get the basic processes set up. Although price was one of the deciding parameters, the teams decided that Hornbill would be a better fit, both from a product and partner perspective.”

Bringing Hornbill Service Manager to life within the organisation

At the end of the selection process, you hope that you’ve selected the right tool, but you don’t know for sure until the tool has been implemented. Hornbill’s 30-day switch-on approach proved to be unique and insightful. Nard explains, “Typically, you incur subscription costs up-front, followed by implementation, and only when the tool is up and running, can you be certain that you’ve made the right choice. Hornbill’s 30-day switch-on was different.  Their Product Specialists did a fantastic job in understanding our complexity, especially around email and local support needs.  As we went through the switch-on process, we gained the first solid insights into the product, how it worked, and more importantly, how it worked in our environment, with our data and processes.  At the end of the process, not only did we have a working tool, we also had all the knowledge we needed to get more from the tool, and truly bring it alive within the organisation. Hornbill certainly delivered on its promise to enable us to make an informed decision at the end, and more importantly, delivered everything that they promised.”

Visual Management - a holistic view of IT Services

By the end of April 2017, the switch-on process was complete, but Nard and his team spent a further three weeks ‘polishing’ Hornbill Service Manager to ensure a successful go-live at their offices in The Hague, Netherlands. Over the last few months, Hornbill Service Manager has been rolled out to teams in other countries and Central IT now has a holistic view of Global IT Services.

Nard explains, “Our structure and the need for specialised local IT support, meant that there was significant duplication of effort. Getting a complete picture of the status of Global IT Services was a real challenge. Implementing Hornbill Service Manager has changed that.  I particularly like the visual management capabilities within the tool, especially the heads-up display, as it instantly communicates the status of requests, and keeps everyone informed, so progress is much easier. Hornbill Service Manager is an incredibly powerful tool and we’ve only scratched the surface. The collaborative features are particularly exciting, as they will enable information and communication to flow freely between teams in different offices and countries.  Collaboration will change the way we work, and take Global IT Services to the next level. The underlying ambition for me is to be in a better position to serve our lawyers who are serving our clients.”


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