Investment Management Firm JM Finn Quickly and Nimbly responds to COVID-19 without business disruption
- 01.04.2021 11:52 am
Andrew Brinded, Vice President and General Manager EMEA Sales, Nutanix
Speaking at the recent Nutanix Economic Advantage Summit, JM Finn detailed how Nutanix helped it to leverage a software-defined private cloud infrastructure in order to quickly deliver remote work to employees securely and in record time.
Bucking the trend of IT vendors hosting industry events on technology and product announcements, the Economic Advantage Summit instead chose to focus on economics. Hosting the media event, Andrew Brinded, Vice President & General Manager EMEA at Nutanix, set the scene by stressing the need for organisations to achieve economic advantage through funding innovation projects, IT modernisation and smart use of cloud operating and consumption models.
Demonstrating the importance of these themes, is London-based wealth management firm JM Finn, whose IT infrastructure was recently put to the test. In less than a week, the company needed to support remote working for all of its employees in response to the pandemic and the subsequent restrictions. JM Finn’s Head of IT and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), Jon Cosson, recalls the immediate challenges the firm faced, and how it looked to private cloud infrastructure in order to deliver remote working within a week.
Prior to the pandemic, JM Finn was considered quite traditional in regard to its IT infrastructure. With a series of servers, and having already adopted virtualisation technologies, the firm had a sizable data centre in the City of London. This expensive real estate was very costly for the organisation to host. When the pandemic and stay at home restrictions hit in March of last year, JM Finn was forced to shift its operations almost immediately, going from six offices, to 400 ‘offices’. Employees that had always worked physically in the office were now forced to work from home. As Cosson recalls, “this was a challenge enough for any organisation. We had to set up 350 remote logins and set up robust security, and we had to do that right from the start.”
One of the biggest challenges for any financial company looking to set up a remote environment is how to serve its ‘power users’. This can be incredibly complex as they require powerful machines with zero tolerance for lag or downtime, a lot of storage and memory, and four to eight monitors.
With a high number of power users, JM Finn was faced with the daunting task of serving dealers and traders requiring high-performance machines. However, the team had recently undergone an IT modernisation initiative, leveraging Nutanix’s HCI platform to power its private cloud, with a focus on virtualisation and software-defined solutions. This enabled it to easily deliver a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) to all essential employees, including power users.
As Cosson recalls: “We had a real challenge to deliver remote services to our users, but the great news was that we’d just upgraded our infrastructure to Nutanix, so we knew that the solution was tried and tested. We managed to roll this out within five days and nobody noticed a difference. The performance was exceptional.”
Wrapping up the online event, Cosson explained how JM Finn understands how it must continue to look to the future in order to deliver on an exceptional digital experience for its clients.
Pondering the future, Cosson stated: “It looks very bright and it's about service delivery for our clients. They're going to want to use Zoom, they're going to want to use video and other recording services. We have to develop a strategy around that, and at all stages, we have to ensure that the IT department and its strategies are in line with our broader business strategies.”