Osborne Clarke: End user IT support

Osborne Clarke


Osborne Clarke


International law

Customer challenge:

  • Improve the service levels for out-of-hours IT support
  • Align out-of-hours service with in-house daytime support
  • Build scalable global IT service model to support international expansion

Plan-Net’s services & solutions

  • SLA-driven managed IT support available 7 to 7, 365 nights a year
  • Weekend and bank holiday daytime IT support


  • Improved customer service
  • A consistent user experience 24/7
  • An global IT support platform capable of scaling with growth

Assisting global growth with high performance end-user IT – SLA-driven out-of-hours IT support for leading international law firm

Osborne Clarke was founded in Bristol in 1748. Today, it is an international legal practice with 25 offices & over 900 lawyers across Europe, Asia and the USA.

The IT challenges of international expansion

Following its first international office opening in Silicon Valley in 2000, Osborne Clarke has been expanding its global presence ever since. It now has over 25 offices with more in the pipeline.

The global IT team, based in Bristol, found that with this significant growth came an increased demand for IT support outside of standard UK working hours.

Adrian Hiscock, Head of IT Services explains their decision to use an external provider to cover this demand, “Early on, we decided it would be more effective, logistically, to use an external provider to run our out-of-hours IT support. We could have done this in-house, but we would have had to employ and manage a minimum of four people and we wouldn’t have had enough demand to keep them fully occupied. We were also not yet at an international scale, where a follow-the-sun model would have been feasible”.

Osborne Clarke had been using another provider for out-of-hours IT support for a number of years. However, as its internal IT began to evolve and become more and more sophisticated to match the ambitions of the firm, they felt their out-of-hours service was remaining fairly static. They wanted a more responsive service and a provider that would be proactive in suggesting and implementing service improvements.

Osborne Clarke decided to go to market for a new provider. After substantial due diligence, the firm selected Plan-Net as their new out-of-hours IT support provider. Adrian explains their decision, “None of the other options had the legal IT experience Plan-Net has and we felt that might have been holding us back to an extent. For instance, when a partner calls the Plan-Net team about a legal application issue, they are familiar with the application and how to manage related issues, from their experience with other legal clients”.

“Plan-Net also works with a number of law firms with IT hubs in Bristol, so we were able to talk to our peers and gain insight and comfort from their feedback about the way Plan-Net engages with its clients and the team’s accountability and reliability”.

Seamless service day & night

Plan-Net was engaged to provide IT support to Osborne Clarke employees from 7pm to 7am, 365 days a year from its UK based shared service desk.

Additionally, it was contracted to provide weekend and bank holiday daytime cover. The shared IT desk specialises in supporting the legal sector and already supports lawyers and staff across 30 countries.

Both the requirement from Osborne Clarke and the proposed Plan-Net solution was an out-of-hours service that would closely match the law firm’s in-house daytime global IT support operation.

“We want our partners and staff across the globe to receive the same service, to ring the same number, use the same service desk tool and email addresses, regardless of when and where they make contact,” explains Adrian.

In order to achieve this, Plan-Net commenced a significant onboarding programme, spending three months working in collaboration with the law firm’s IT service desk team and management to understand and document its systems and processes. The transitional period involved defining how Plan-Net staff would be trained, performing the technical connectivity side of things, including secure access to Osborne Clarke’s service desk tool, and agreeing the reporting and SLAs. This work established the partnership between the two firms which has assisted the development of the service before and after the service live date.

“The on-boarding stage went really well. We had a review with only some small adjustments made and then the service went live.” observes Adrian.

High performance, continuous improvement, collaboration & availability

During the on-boarding process, Osborne Clarke and Plan-Net agreed a set of weighted SLA’s that included metrics such as service desk resolution, ticket quality and speed of response. Apart from the first month of live service, Plan-Net has outperformed the agreed weighted target consistently for the past year.

Key to the success is the collaborative arrangement between the two parties. For example, Plan-Net ensures someone from its team spends a day every month working alongside the daytime in-house service desk team at Osborne Clarke. This allows them to stay up to date with processes, culture, developments and changes in the IT environment at the firm. In addition, the target service desk resolution rate improved by 10% through collaborative working. The law firm arranged for Plan-Net to gain increased access to its key systems in order to perform more first time fixes. Plan-Net also worked with the Osborne Clarke IT team on an induction test tailored to its specific environment and processes that all supporting Plan-Net staff must pass.

Acora and Plan-Net join forces

In 2019 Acora announced the completion of our merger with Plan-Net. This created a group with over 300 employees, 4 offices and 300 customers, focused on delivering outstanding customer experience to businesses across the UK. The group is underpinned by great people, strong technical innovation and a combined desire to grow.

This Plan-Net case study is an example of the great work the team have delivered and the combined capabilities of the new group.

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