Ben Brownson, COO of Royce Peeling Green (RPG), provides his perspective on the company’s digital transformation journey, detailing their main goals and how the migration has gone so far:
Who we are:
Royce Peeling Green, otherwise known as RPG, is a professional services provider supporting clients with quality expertise across its RPG Chartered Accountants, RPG Chartered Financial Planning and RPG Business Recovery service lines. RPG has a rich history of providing quality service since 1911, through its offices in Manchester and St Asaph (North Wales).
We started our journey at the beginning of 2023 to transform the practice by further empowering our people to deliver a premium service to clients. A key element of the transformation is in the technological space where we needed to choose the right partner with the right expertise to help us deliver a highly ambitious program. We found the perfect partner in ANS, a renowned digital transformation provider, who would help us to revolutionise RPG’s use of technology and become a market-leader in the industry.
The technological element of the overall project focuses on a key basic strategy, adopting a Modern Workplace solution by early 2026 across the entire RPG Group, delivered by utilising the suite of Microsoft products. The natural integration of products across Microsoft is already providing significant advantages to both our people and our clients, and helping us to achieve RPG’s broader strategic objectives. It is a simple, yet innovative approach within the industry, an industry in which many firms utilise multiple complex technologies or even require the development of bespoke software which has a finite shelf-life and is extremely costly. Embedding Microsoft at the core of our technological operations will enable us to adopt this approach across the entire group, providing a robust solid foundation to ensure the ongoing long-term success of the business.
Due to the nature of most technical applications within the professional services sector, we needed to utilise a server to ensure their smooth running. Replacing all of the technical applications in one go with cloud-based versions was not an option.
The initial phase entailed the migration of the RPG Group to Office 365 – SharePoint, OneDrive, Teams – all new additions which have been utilised by RPG in several ways, such as intranet, file storage and sharing, internal and external collaboration tools, and project management.
The on-premises Mitel telephone system was replaced by Teams Voice. This transition to VOIP and a cloud-based system plus a change in hardware, now ensures the increased connectivity of our people and our clients.
Transitioning from a Terminal Server environment to Azure Virtual Desktop, for the technical applications was a logical step.
Moving to a best in class, highly secure environment with a variable pricing model, delivered by one of Microsoft’s top 1% partners was a perfect solution. It’s an environment built to maximise the utilisation of all of Microsoft’s products – including Teams meetings and Office 365 products. The improvement in functionality and capabilities of the Azure Virtual Desktop [AVD] have ensured a seamless transition, allowing users to experience the Modern Workplace and server based environment, as we move to a pure Modern Workplace solution over the next few years.
The next phase of the project will see RPG further develop our CRM capabilities with the development and deployment of Dynamics 365 Sales Professional (SMB). We see CRM systems as the ‘Holy Grail’ of any business’s operations, helping to ensure that the highest level of client service is provided at all times. The adoption of Office 365, Teams Voice and Azure, Dynamics and its modular approach will provide a seamless user experience for our people. Furthermore, it will enable us to provide an enhanced level of focused customer communication, whilst still maintaining our ethos of a personal service. Dynamics 365 Sales Professional (SMB) will act as the single source of truth for client data, providing a comprehensive overview of clients, enabling our team members to access a platform that integrates seamlessly with Microsoft applications and updates shared data in real time.
Dynamics 365 is a platform upon which further modules can be integrated into the current ways-of-working at the right time. With the range of Dynamics 365 SMB modules available from ANS, a clear priority list and pathway have been developed which will provide a best-in-class simple solution. There are other Microsoft features that will be adopted including Microsoft Autopilot, Power tools, Microsoft Co-pilot –which will significantly increase efficiencies and provide even more time for our people to deliver bespoke client service.
Connecting RPG to this solution was made possible through ANS’ Ambition Fund. The ANS Ambition Fund is designed to support small and medium-sized businesses undertaking technical transformation initiatives to drive their company forward, regardless of size. Businesses can apply for funding to reduce the costs of transformation projects across a range of technologies, such as Public Cloud platforms and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales CRM.
We were first drawn to ANS after spotting the ANS billboard in Manchester introducing the Ambition Fund; indeed we had been about to commit to another IT supplier but decided to approach ANS instead. The ANS team was prompt, attentive, efficient and hands-on, making us feel confident that ANS was the perfect partner for the digital transformation project. The fund will help us to carry out the digital transformation journey in an even more cost-effective way, which was one of our main concerns as any ambitious programme comes at a cost. The Ambition Fund, which ANS provides, clearly demonstrated their understanding of the SMB marketplace and many of the core challenges we face, not just cost to undertaking such a project. The support being provided has allowed for the extremely swift delivery of phase 1 in under 3 months and phase 2 is moving at an outstanding pace too. Without the Fund support, it would have significantly altered the time scale of the technological project and the breadth of the project.
Looking to the future:
By ensuring that we have a solid foundation in place we will avoid the need for one-off transformation projects to take place in the future; instead, regular improvements and changes will be incorporated. This approach provides a significant saving in cost and management time; and ensures a lack of business disruption. which the Group Board carefully considered as part of this project. Overall, the project will empower our leadership to always look forward and make swift, pro-active decisions, with a solid foundation providing us with limitless potential. With ANS being one of Microsoft’s top partners, we know that we’ll always receive the best professional insights regarding the most recent products and services relating to our goals.