March 24th, 2014
Mobile Phone Migration
Reynolds Porter Chamberlain LLP
RPC is a top 50 law firm operating in the insurance and commercial sectors with offices in London, Bristol, Singapore and Hong Kong. RPC is known for its forward-thinking approach to supporting their staff.
RPC called The Consultancy Company in to manage the migration of all their mobile phones. They had been using Blackberry devices for over 400 users globally, both lawyers and support staff. The contract was due for renewal and RPC took the opportunity to consider what the right device was for them in light of changes in technology, business needs and working practices. Besides making calls and managing email a major requirement was to meet the solicitors’ regulation authority guidelines on security and confidentiality and have the ability to wipe data from lost or stolen devices. Additionally there was a desire to be able to view and edit documents, browse the internet, use time recording software and submit dictation for transcription while away from the office.
The review identified the Nokia 735 device for the UK and the Nokia 830 for Asia both of which run Microsoft Windows software as the most appropriate replacement that balanced requirements and operating costs.
“Melanie became more involved with the decision making process than a typical project manager.”
Craig Hawthorne, Head of IT
RPC were aware that such a roll out was important to get right first time, and the IT team’s existing work level was such that they didn’t have the resource to focus on this sufficiently. The Consultancy Company was asked to run the project to provide the focus and drive it needed. This was based on The Consultancy Company’s experience of working with RPC previously on a number of projects (including opening offices in Bristol and Hong Kong), working with other lawyers and working with RPC’s culture. We provided not only project management expertise but also assisted in the decision making process.
The challenge was to manage the migration for all the existing Blackberry users in the UK across 2 sites, and to arrange training for all users, each with differing levels of IT/Smartphone familiarity, to ensure that everyone could use the new phone including the new functionality.
The overall requirement was to carry out the migration seamlessly to minimise the time anyone was without a mobile phone, particularly vital for those lawyers for whom communication with clients may be time-critical and sensitive.
How we Helped
A project plan and governance of the project was created including a risk register and clear reporting process. The rollout was split into several elements so that parts could be completed independently but all to strict timelines.
The first project plan highlighted a series of early decisions to be made. Key ones were who should undertake the configuration, the phone supplier or the internal IT team? What other projects were also running that could impact on the resources required and what times were impractical to undertake a rollout such as financial year-end? This was all considered as part of the planning of the project in order for it to be easy to understand external effects on the project and make good decisions based on facts.
A clear communication strategy to users was also created explaining why the change was taking place and what they needed to do to prepare in advance and on the day of the change.
Initially a pilot was conducted with a small number of lawyers and other staff. This supported the selection of the device with a wider pool of users and feedback from this pilot was used to validate and tailor the training materials used to explain the new phones. They also acted as champions for the devices highlighting the benefits to the whole firm.
Feedback from the Pilot users showed that although Microsoft provided documentation and on-line videos about the devices it was decided that an RPC Getting Started Guide would be produced to focus on the functions of the devices that would be needed to get everyone working quickly. Links were provided to the Microsoft material so users could explore more advanced functions if they wished.
RPC’s mobile phone service provider configured the handsets to RPC’s specification and ran quick start training sessions to get users up and running. They also handled porting the SIM from the existing Blackberry devices so they were ready for use on the day of the swap. Liaising with the provider to undertake this in a guaranteed timely manner was more challenging than anticipated but still achieved.
The logistics of the rollout days were also carefully considered, details like how much space do 400 phones take? (about half a filing cabinet!) to recycling the packaging, clearing data from the old phones and recycling them and their chargers as well as ensuring everyone was available on one of the rollout days.
“We particularly liked the organised structured approach, with risk register and weekly update report always up to date.”
Craig Hawthorne, Head of IT
The rollout was divided into three waves, the support staff in London, lawyers in London and then finally the team in Bristol. Individuals were asked to book a day for their swap when they would be in the office so able to manage without a mobile. The current Blackberries were handed in, final configuration of the devices completed which included setting up the user’s email account and downloading contacts and users attended a 30 minute quick start training session. They were given the Getting Started Guide and sent off to become familiar with their new device. For the main rollout for lawyers and Bristol staff, floorwalkers were available when they returned to their desks to help anyone having difficulties. Additional 1:1 training sessions could be arranged if required.
Over the weeks following the rollout a series of tips and hints were published on the intranet to re-enforce the training and Getting Started Guide.
Finally the procedure for issuing a phone to a new starter and a documentation pack was created for the service desk team to use for the future.
- The smooth introduction of new mobile phones in a timely fashion with minimal impact on working time.
- Functional improvements including reading and editing word and excel documents on the phone, emailing dictation (without the need for another device) and the plan to utilise the phone for time recording in future.
- A more cost effective solution for RPC, enabling all phones to roam when outside the UK so calls and emails could be received but with appropriate control on the amount of roaming data usage. Having one device for all users allowed stock holding levels to be reduced and training streamlined.
- The project was managed in a way that matched RPC’s culture and allowed the introduction to be undertaken in the timescale required without delaying other projects. It provided a single contact point for the project who could manage both internal and external elements of the delivery.