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Case Foot Anstey: Improving End-user IT Experience

Executive Summary

Foot Anstey, a rapidly growing UK-based law firm, faced common technology challenges despite maintaining a modern device setup with a 3-year laptop replacement program. Shaun Friend, the Head of Technology Services, sought solutions and discovered Applixure Analytics, a tool that brought a proactive and user-focused approach to their technology solutions.

 

 

Common technology challenges affected user experience 

UK-based law firm Foot Anstey is a rapidly growing business with aspirations to expand even further over the next few years. Shaun Friend, Head of Technology Services, oversees the company’s day-to-day technology service operation across 800 laptops, 700 employees, and 6 service desk teams spread across their sites including Bristol, Manchester and Southampton.
 
Over the past years, Foot Anstey has dedicated significant effort to ensure a modern set-up where no laptop in the business is more than three years old. Despite this, the company faced common technology challenges and needed to collect and understand more data to enhance user experience. Shaun discovered Applixure Analytics: a tool that allowed Foot Anstey to take a proactive and user-focused approach to their technology processes.

 

Applixure Analytics helps IT to target support

Despite the very modern state of devices, Shaun started to have growing concerns with user experience as he explains:

“People were telling us that they were having problems, however, a lot of those problems were transient. Anyone who works in IT will know that it's not unusual to be told about a problem but by the time you take a look the problem has gone away.”

“These problems are frustrating: they're intermittent, and they're not necessarily easy to track down. The end result is that the person using that device feels like it's not working as well as it should and that it's impacting their experience and work efficiency.”

 

In addition to device problems, Foot Anstey needed a tool to easily see and track what was happening with the business. Applixure Analytics enabled Shaun to track down problems on specific devices, allowing IT to target their support in the best way. Shaun describes the change:

“Applixure Analytics gives us in-depth detail that allows us to confirm exactly what and how widespread the problem is. This is great because it's very easy for small problems to become quite noisy within a business.”

 

Foot Anstey logo

“A lot of the data that Applixure surfaces is available in other places. If you’ve got the time to spend going into various portals, exporting huge amounts of data, and running lots of queries..."

A unique dashboard gathers all the data

Shaun tried various options when exploring solutions to Foot Anstey’s challenges. Applixure stood out due to its unique dashboard, which effectively presents large amounts of data. Shaun explains:

“A lot of the data that Applixure surfaces is available in other places. If you’ve got the time to spend going into various portals, exporting huge amounts of data, and running lots of queries, then absolutely the data is mostly there. Applixure inserts it into a handy dashboard that allows us to very clearly know where the biggest issues are and where you can have the biggest impact by solving particular problems.”

 
The clear dashboard saves a lot of time from gathering data from various end-points. It’s crucial for identifying the issues that have the biggest impact across different parts of the business, as this may not always be evident when looking at interim data.

 

Applixure’s silent install ensures no disruptions to employees’ work

Shaun and his team only did a short, four-week trial with Applixure before rolling it out to the whole company. They used their normal SCCM deployment mechanisms to get the Applixure agent out to all the computers silently. Shaun explains:

“It was a silent installation. People didn't even know Applixure Analytics was there, which really helps when you're trying something which you know will add value.”

“You don't want to cause disruption in your business when you're trying to find the causes of disruption. So, you don't want the tool to be disruptive in its own right. The fact that Applixure Analytics was a totally silent install and very lightweight in terms of its deployment size was a really good thing for us.”
Within a few hours, 10% of the company’s devices were reporting back into the Analytics platform. For Shaun, a crucial factor was seeing the data immediately:
 
“We didn't have to wait long for Analytics to build us a picture of what was going on in our computer environment. It was immediately useful. The final deployment was just as seamless. I think everybody had it within 5 hours.”
 
“Even with software that promises simple deployment, you often find yourself having to do things that you weren’t expecting to or creating work-arounds to get things in place. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Applixure really was simple to deploy - probably one of the simplest things we’ve ever deployed here.”

 

 

Applixure shows its value immediately

After a successful deployment of Applixure Analytics, Shaun and his team spent some time learning and understanding the data it was showing, and what it meant in their business. The immediate feedback was positive:

“From day one we could see that Analytics was going to help us solve our problems. It gives us some really good, credible insights into what is actually happening - it's not very often that you install a product and instantly see its value. It's been very easy to sell into the business. Its value is in its ability to give us data in a meaningful way that we can act on quickly.”

 

 

Applixure reveals best practices

Foot Anstey operates with a three-year replacement program on all the company’s laptop devices. While less frequent upgrades would save money, their current system means a better experience for their people. And, just before the three-year point, Applixure has been able to expose some significant battery wear as Shaun explains:

“We saw our device score rise significantly during the period that we were replacing laptops. We replaced about 180 laptops this summer and saw our score go up by 0.5 - just by removing those older devices and that battery wear problem. That's a concrete example to our business which proves that we should continue to replace our laptops every three years because we can see that we improve the experience that people have and their ability to work remotely because their batteries last longer.”

 

 

Service Score trends track user experience

Applixure Analytics' Service Score feature allows users to measure and compare their device performance levels. For Shaun, this was essential in producing monthly reporting for the board and showing the state of user experience. Shaun explains:

“Analytics’ Service Score allows us to set goals. It’s great if our score is ‘average’ but we want to be above average, we want to be very good. Analytics allows us to track our score and its trends, which we couldn’t do before.”

 

 

Service Desk uses Rewind-to-History to pinpoint problems

At Foot Anstey’s service desk team, one of the most frequently used Applixure features is Rewind-to-History. It allows IT to look at a particular point in time or at a timeline view of changes on that device from installed software to significant crash events. The timeline also reveals which particular updates have resulted in device crashes, thereby pinpointing where the problem is. Shaun expands:

“Rewind-to-History allows the service desk team to get into the details very quickly when someone is having a problem. It also allows them to validate how widespread that problem is, rather than having to guess at how big the problem is.”

 

 

Analytics ties together software versions and user experience

 

Shaun and his team use Applixure Analytics on a daily basis. Whenever they deploy a new product into the business, Applixure helps to monitor the software and identify possible problems with that particular version. Shaun explains:

“It's really interesting to be able to see which versions are really reliable and which ones aren't. And it does mirror the user experience, so it's really useful to be able to tie the two together.”

 

 

Applixure is a permanent solution to improve user experience

Since implementing Applixure, there have been significant improvements in user experience at Foot Anstey. Shaun sees Applixure as a permanent solution as he explains:

“I don't see Applixure as a tool that we can install, fix our problems, and then take it away again. This is something that we will need to maintain in our toolkit for as long as we are managing devices within our business because software, situations, and connectivity changes. Applixure brings the data together to build a bigger picture of your estate.”

Applixure Analytics has immediately shown its value in several areas, allowing Shaun and his team to pinpoint particular software that needs replacing or upgrading. Additionally, the tool has contributed to their cyber security developments:

“Applixure helped us on our cyber security journey as well. When you consider the requirements of Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus within the UK and the need to ensure that you have only the most updated versions of the product installed, and it's all supported.”

“It very quickly allows you to find some of the shadow IT that might be happening out in your business and allows you to correct that. Applixure brings the data into a brilliant dashboard so you don't need to keep digging around to try and find that information.”

“Rewind-to-History allows the service desk team to get into the details very quickly when someone is having a problem. It also allows them to validate how widespread that problem is, rather than having to guess at how big the problem is.”

Applixure values user input

Applixure provides online customer support. Shaun praises Applixure’s support as a time saver to raise your questions and answer further questions to get to the desired outcome. Shaun shares an example:

“One time we weren’t totally convinced that the data that Applixure was showing us was correct. We raised a request through Applixure’s support team and within half an hour, we had the answers. We understood exactly what it was showing, and really understood some other things that we need to do that would improve things even further.”

 

In addition to accessible support, users can propose improvements directly to Applixure’s product team:

“We felt our input was valued. The ability to make recommendations for changes to the product is really important as I want to be able to influence a product roadmap to ensure that we can get the most out of it.”

“We definitely get a valued feeling with Applixure. I feel like they're listening to the people who use their product.”

 

 

Shaun’s advice for others

From day one Applixure has surfaced significant amounts of data. To new users of Analytics, Shaun recommends prioritizing tasks:

“Make the time to really understand what Analytics is telling you and to assess all of the different observations and prioritize them. Don't try and tackle everything in one go. Don't think that you've got to immediately solve all of these problems. You should spend some time to understand what Analytics is telling you, and then fix things in a logical order that makes sense for your business.”

 

Additionally, Shaun recommends utilizing Applixure’s data to keep the IT teams informed on the business’ technology state:

“Make sure that your teams are going into Analytics regularly and looking at the dashboard because it's really graphical and user-friendly. It will keep people in your team well connected with what the business is experiencing from technology.”

Foot Anstey_Shaun Friend

Shaun Friend

Head of Technology Services, Foot Anstey

Foot Anstey is one of the UK's fastest growing law firms. They've grown from a high-street firm to a significant regional and national player working with leading brands and individuals predominantly across six key sectors: Developer, Energy & Infrastructure, Islamic Finance, Private Equity, Private Wealth, Retail & Consumer. They operate from eight bases: Bristol, Exeter, London, Manchester, Plymouth, Southampton, Taunton and Truro. Their business and legal advisors work with their clients to understand their business and/or personal goals, and partner with them to deliver the solutions needed.

 

Applixure is a B2B SaaS solution that provides IT with always up-to-date visibility of how computers and software are serving employees. It pulls the relevant data into intuitive dashboards and clearly indicates high-impact yet easy-to-fix issues - enabling your IT to be more proactive. Set-up is quick, so you can start reaping the benefits almost overnight. Founded in 2013 and headquartered in Finland, Applixure is trusted by over 1000 companies and managed service providers (MSPs). Give your IT the visibility it needs to improve your digital employee experience with Applixure.

 

Schedule a complimentary DEX Assessment

See what Applixure Analytics reveals about the state of your computer & software environment. Schedule a free DEX Assessment with one of our DEX Improvement Masters. 

The Assessment requires about 3 hours of your time spread out over 3 weeks: 

  1. Kick-off meeting (45 mins): deploy Applixure agents - data collection begins immediately
  2. Review preliminary results (1hr): 1-2 weeks after kick-off, share & discuss preliminary findings
  3. Final results (1hr): 1-2 weeks after preliminary review, go through the final results & recommendations. 

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What IT leaders have said about their DEX Assessments:

"After it had been running a few days, we could already see useful data: 'Look Otto, your computer is out of memory' and 'look Antti, your warranty ran out two years ago.'"

- Tommi Saarela, Senior IT Manager, Moonhill

"It's been an eye-opener. Applixure provides more information on our devices than we've ever really had before.'"

- Lee Walker, Head of Technology & Security, JTL.