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IFG gets personal with LifeSize Video Conferencing



The IFG International Trust and Corporate Services group is an independent, multi-jurisdictional business. Its presence in seven jurisdictions allows it to offer an extensive range of trust and corporate services as well as bespoke solutions to clients. Deeply proud of its close client relationships, it has an enviable track record in the administration of bespoke trust and corporate solutions for high net worth individuals, families and corporates.IFG-Stephen-Roberts

Its staff of more than 400 establishes and administers a range of internationally structured solutions, including trusts, companies and foundations and also provides fund administration services.

Key challenges

After the recession struck in 2008, IFG placed more importance on being able to conduct business face-to-face. IFG’s IT director, Stephen Roberts, explained: “We are primarily a people business and we want to do business in a personal way. Since the economic downturn interpersonal business relationships are now more important than ever in order to remain close to existing customers and gain a competitive advantage when seeking new business.”

Expansion and acquisition has led to IFG operating out of several offices around Europe, making face-to-face meetings a drain on budget, employee time and productivity. These issues are only set to intensify as IFG pursues further expansion in Jersey, Geneva and Luxembourg during 2013. IFG needed a way to link its office network and conduct meetings with participants in multiple locations. The ideal solution would reduce overheads and streamline operations, whilst maintaining the personal element of face-to-face interaction.

The solution

IFG opted for the installation of video conferencing technology at its offices in Jersey, Cyprus, Switzerland, Ireland and the Isle of Man. The technology was supplied and installed through Isle of Man based Manx Business Solutions (MBS), specialists in business automation and video collaboration.

The solution was provided by world-leaders in HD video conferencing technology, LifeSize Communications – a division of Logitech. A LifeSize Room 220 was installed at IFG’s Isle of Man office and a LifeSize Express 220 was installed at each of the other four branches – LifeSize Control management software completed the package.

Stephen Roberts revealed why he thought the LifeSize solution was the perfect fit: “We found video conferencing to be too expensive when we first considered it in 2008. However, with new technology the cost of video conferencing has come down while travel costs have gone up, so the time was right to revisit the idea. We considered offerings from alternative vendors, but chose LifeSize due to its high quality, cost-effective and easy-to-use solution set.”

Simon Webb, Sales Executive at MBS, said: “This installation has strengthened our existing relationship with IFG, to whom we’ve been supplying and maintaining IT solutions for some time now. Like IFG, we’re all about face-to-face relationships and we delivered and installed the technology personally at IFG offices in Zurich, Shannon and here on the Isle of Man. Once plugged in, everything was ready to use almost immediately.”

The intuitiveness and ease of the LifeSize setup was put to the test during the Cyprus and Jersey installations, as Simon Webb explains: “MBS preconfigured the units that were delivered for IFG’s IT team to install before training sessions on the finer points of the system were conducted from the Isle of Man via the LifeSize video solution itself. The whole process was so straightforward that they were able to set up the system and hold this call without any input from us.”

Andrew Roberts, voice and video product manager at value-added distributor Zycko, worked with the LifeSize team to devise a solution based on both MBS and IFG’s specifications. He explained: “IFG turned to the team at MBS due to its knowledge and reputation as a provider of solutions that are tailored to fit an end-user’s requirements. The quality of MBS’s technical knowledge and customer service is reflected in the reseller’s status as a LifeSize Professional Partner.”

End-user benefits

Since the system was implemented in March 2012, IFG has hosted an average of fifty-eight video conferencing calls per month. “Even without exact return on investment figures, it’s clear that the system has paid for itself relatively quickly,” said Stephen Roberts. “Despite the geographic separation of our offices, we are now able to host more face-to-face meetings than ever before, without incurring any travel costs or having staff out of the office for days at a time.”

With full-HD video conferencing IFG can also host multipoint calls for up to eight separate video communications devices onsite at the Isle of Man office, instead of using an external hosting service. The whole network is easily managed and maintained through a drag-and-drop interface courtesy of LifeSize Control management software.

“The last thing we need is to have to constantly train people to use the video collaboration equipment – in the past, long training sessions have made staff reluctant to use a product that’s perceived as being too complicated and time-consuming. LifeSize is quite the opposite – all our staff can use it without any problems and our IT department can continue focussing on the day-to-day running of the business.”

Future development

Looking forward, IFG plans to install LifeSize video conferencing technology in all of its offices. The technology’s ease of use and multi-vendor compatibility has in fact already allowed IFG to begin extending its video communications service to clients and shareholders, adding value to its offering and maintaining the company’s image as a ‘people business’.

Meanwhile, Stephen Roberts says IFG is back on the acquisition trail and any new companies that come on board will also have a video conferencing solution installed. “When the time comes, LifeSize’s performance and cost-effectiveness makes the decision on which videoconferencing technology to choose a simple one,” he concluded.

About IFG

The IFG International Trust and Corporate Services group is an independent, multi-jurisdictional business with an enviable track record in the administration of bespoke trust and corporate solutions for high net worth individuals, families and corporates.

It works closely with clients and professional advisers to establish and administer a range of internationally structured solutions, including trusts, companies and foundations. It also provides fund administration services.

With a presence in seven jurisdictions, IFG International Trust and Corporate Services can provide an extensive range of trust and corporate services as well as bespoke solutions to clients.

With our 400 plus staff, it has a wide range of skills and experienced professionals fully committed to our clients, with a distinct “can-do” approach. As an independent, it is totally free of the conflicts often associated with bank-owned trust companies, and is in a position to choose the banks and investment houses with which it does business.

About MBS

Manx Business Solutions are a specialist reseller of document management, print, audio visual and video conferencing solutions, based on the Isle of Man. They offer the highest quality installation and support for vendors including Canon, Ricoh, Laserfiche, LifeSize, CoSign and Panasonic. MBS also provides scanning bureau and application integration services along with document strategy consultation.

About LifeSize

LifeSize is a pioneer and world leader in high-definition video collaboration. Designed to make video conferencing truly universal, LifeSize solutions are simple to buy, adopt, support and use. Offering video conferencing systems and software applications as well as a full line of video infrastructure, available on premise or in the cloud, LifeSize is committed to Universal Video Collaboration. With LifeSize, customers can participate in large multiparty HD calls, live streaming and recording, and collaboration on any mobile device, on any network, all at the highest level of quality. LifeSize was founded in 2003 and acquired by Logitech in 2009.

About Zycko

Zycko is an international value-added distributor of innovative IT solutions, covering technology areas for every part of the business IT infrastructure. Areas Zycko covers include data networking, data storage, virtualisation and data centre infrastructure. Through extensive technology and marketplace knowledge, Zycko executes the due diligence necessary to select leading-edge strategic partners and technologies that provide our customers with an opportunity to differentiate in a crowded market. Zycko’s first-class proven solutions demonstrate Zycko’s significance as a value-added IT distributor.

Zycko’s provision of leading-edge IT products and logistics management is supported by true value-add professional and business services such as pre-sales expertise, technical support, custom configuration, an industry-leading accredited training programme, full demonstration and proof of concept facilities, financing and in-house marketing support. These vital services enable our customers to quickly deliver profits and invest in new market opportunities.

Zycko is privately held and operates from 16 offices on four continents. Zycko works extensively with its channel partners, delivering high value and excellent customer care.

Zycko is the channel partner of choice for IT solutions providers.

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