Finance and media firms learning to thrive on distributed IT

Finance and media firms learning to thrive on distributed IT

But processes, applications and networks must be adapted to change

The finance and media sectors are embracing distributed IT architecture more than other industries, but all businesses will need to make more and better use of remote, branch office and mobile working practices in the future, according to research by analyst Quocirca.

The finance and telecoms/media sectors topped the list for their use of remote and mobile working, including branch offices that connect into a centralised head office using the internet, email, videoconferencing and remote applications. Healthcare and the public sector came bottom of the table, with utility, retail and industrial sectors mid-table

Quocirca analyst Bob Tarzey said all organisations will need to adapt as working practices change, particularly when it comes to using electronic communications between suppliers, customers and other parties involved in making business processes work.

“It is fundamental that distributed organisations embed technology into key business processes, rather than just allow senior managers to read email on the beach or something like that,” he said.

Global law firm Simmons & Simmons is an example of how distributed IT has been integrated into the firm’s business processes, with most of its legal staff now accessing email and legal documents remotely.

In January this year, the company consolidated 20 different local area networks (LANs) and 30 different email servers into three regional data centres, and implemented a centralised email and document management system to serve the virtual legal practice groups dotted around the globe.

“The key drivers were to deliver email and get documents quickly and easily to our users all over the world, as well as deliver time recording and contact management applications over the web,” said James Mackay, network and security manager at Simmons & Simmons.

With so much data being accessed remotely, the firm was understandably nervous that WAN latency would slow down application response times and affect user productivity, so it also deployed Riverbed’s WDS WAN optimisation solution to accelerate the delivery of its data.

The Quocirca research was based on 315 interviews with business and technology managers at organisations employing 1,000 people or more across the UK, Germany and France. The average number of locations each company used was 33, though the figure was 27 for the UK.