The Supreme Court
End-of-life PBX telephony with no support, short timescales and an eye on the future.
IPVPN and hosted Skype for Business cloud solution.
Complete replacement deployed in rapid timescales, enhanced collaboration, reduced mobile and travel costs, future-proofing of the organisation.
All Rise. It's the court of the future
Rising from the shadows of convention: The Supreme Court, challenging the norm with its own digital transformation story.
Bringing traditional into the digital age
No organisation is immune to the transformational impact of technology. But while certain sectors are quick to extol the virtues of their digital journey, some of the more traditional institutions can sometimes overlook the latest technology.
Replacing the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords as the highest court in the United Kingdom in 2009, the Supreme Court is the final court of appeal in the UK. But even one of the most recognisable and most important bodies in the country, can pack the digital punch of an agile start-up.
Leave your PBX and your paperwork in the past
The Supreme Court is now four years into a technology journey that’s seen it transform from an organisation confined by bricks and mortar (and lots of paperwork) into a collaborative team of people ditching the millstones of geographic location and administration.
Despite the challenge of a basic PBX, which was nearing end-of-life – a cause for nervousness in any organisation – the Supreme Court could make the long-term changes it needed to, thanks to the vision of CTO Chinonso Orekie.
“Technology is a crucial part of every organisation, but today for the Supreme Court it’s a thread that runs through everything we do. It’s crucial. We’re a small body, but an incredibly important and high profile one,” said Chinonso.
“We are not just the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, but also the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, which acts as the final court of appeal for some Commonwealth countries, Crown dependencies and British Overseas Territories. We have to live up to certain high expectations, but we do it without the kind of resources you’d see in other departments.”
From how the Supreme Court hears cases, through to the support provided for its 12 Justices and wider team, we work with business partners such as Virgin Media Business, who are part of the Court’s technology backbone.
A cloud-based verdict
Having visited The Hague – home to the UN’s International Criminal Court of Justice – to view its use of digital first-hand, Chinonso and his team devised a different way of working, which had to appeal to everyone, from cloud-embracing millennials to those used to a more traditional way of working.
That vision? A more joined-up, flexible, better connected, organisation. One ready for the future.
With a ‘cloud’ versus ‘on premise’ battle decided, Office 365 licences already in place and a desire to move to a new telephony solution, the Supreme Court approached Virgin Media Business. After an initial discussion around its Unified Communication capability, Virgin Media Business was invited to submit a proposal, based on its hosted Skype for Business cloud solution.
Working with its strategic partner GCI, Virgin Media Business’s proposition meant the Supreme Court could make the most of a previous investment in Office 365, and its IPVPN – the infrastructure was already in place. It achieved this by adding a fully Quality of Service (QoS) enabled PSTN voice breakout to provide a full and secure replacement to their existing PBX.
A key challenge for any new system was the requirement to support more flexible working practices within the Court for Justices, and a number of key staff, who were increasingly working in locations other than the Court building. In addition, there was a growing need to have the ability to hear some cases where one of the parties would be in remote locations.
An easy to use video conferencing solution would support the need to work away from the Court and to hear cases via video link.
“The team at Virgin Media Business advised us on what we could achieve with our existing investment in Microsoft licences to achieve the tech vision we wanted, and that was representative of our entire experience with Virgin Media Business.
“As a department we believe in responsiveness; while cost plays a role, first and foremost it’s about the service we receive. And the Virgin team provided that. They focused on the delivery and tailored the service around our needs, showing us how we could maximise our current Office 365 investment. We even visited video conferencing experts, Polycom, to see the handsets in use – they really did put us at the centre.”
Putting the ‘supreme’ in court
The solution is now in place and enables true collaboration for the Supreme Court. It’s secure, it’s enhancing business processes, and it’s providing savings. In fact, the budget process is the easiest it’s ever been for Chinonso and his IT department.
Secure links and the role of data centres meant the solution was on a par with its on-premise equivalent, but could be deployed in just nine weeks, saving time and money.
As more Justices and staff start to embrace the solution, swapping paperwork for electronic files, emails for instant messaging, and mobile calls for the telephony solution, it not only improves efficiency, it also means this extremely important institution is delivering value to the finance team and to the taxpayer. And that’s a verdict that’s great for everyone.