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Firefish is an international insight consultancy. As partners to a range of global brands Firefish brings unconventional thinking to audience and cultural insights, brand strategy, brand communications, innovation and customer experience and service design to deliver uncommon insight. 

Information is at the heart of everything Firefish does, and this means they require an IT partner that can help them take a strategic approach to IT and information security.

Key achievements

The client

Information is central to Firefish operations, as Jude Legg, Director of Information and Policy at Firefish explains: “Information is our business and we’re trusted with it every day whether by our clients, suppliers or people taking part in research. Each project we do also involves collecting personal data and the importance of data protection compliance is paramount.”

IT support and security are, therefore, a critical business process for Firefish.  Finding an IT partner that can support the business effectively is crucial.

Choosing to partner with Netstar for IT Support

Firefish were looking for a new IT partner having outgrown their previous IT supplier. Developments in research methodologies and client information security demands also meant that Firefish needed more large scale and sophisticated IT support.  Netstar was one of three shortlisted IT support companies. Jude says, “We needed a partner than would genuinely work with us to streamline and improve systems.  This was the real driving force to choose Netstar as our IT partner.”

Netstar would fulfil two roles for Firefish.  First, in delivering day-to-day IT support. Second, general systems development and strategic support to ensure that IT systems are effective and compliant.

The solutions-driven approach Netstar takes to IT support is highly valued by the Firefish team.  “We are very solutions-driven too,” explains Jude, “so Netstar’s approach compliments the way we work.”

Improved day-to-day support

The support desk services delivered by Netstar are a huge improvement on the previous supplier.  Clear, itemised and monthly billing makes it easy for Firefish to understand the fixed costs for the support desk service.  Excellent, personable service and fast responses improve users’ experience of IT.

Jude says, “Previously, we didn’t have anywhere near the level of support we get from the Netstar support desk. Netstar treats each member of staff as an important individual who needs their help, so everyone can be assured of the same excellent service whenever they need it.  It really feels like they are part of our team.”

The structured approach to support that Netstar delivers has helped Firefish to improve their internal processes around change management through the raising of support tickets.

“The team at Netstar are very amenable and flexible,” continues Jude, “and work according to our needs rather than force fitting generic processes that aren’t quite right for our business.”

A new IT roadmap

THe Firefish team began working with Netstar to develop a new IT roadmap for the business.  Having a structured plan in place would help Firefish to determine what IT systems they needed to invest in and when.

Jude explains, “The roadmap we instigated with Netstar enables us to take a more structured approach to IT in terms of ad-hoc spend.  We have an annual budget in November and this has helped to make that process clearer and easier and we now have a structured way of working out what is a priority.”

The roadmap is supported through regular contact with their account manager who is on hand to answer queries whenever required, as well as during the quarterly scheduled account meetings.

Business continuity and disaster recovery

One of the first actions from the roadmap was to enhance Firefish’s business continuity and disaster recovery plans and develop a structured plan to ensure the business could continue to operate whatever disruption it faced. Netstar helped with scenario planning to help ensure comprehensive plans are in place.

Another important element of BCDR is rigorous and consistent testing.  Without testing, any BCDR plan is worthless – because you cannot be certain it will work the way it should if and when you need it.  Working with Netstar on rigorous testing has helped to ensure effective BCDR for Firefish.

Expert support through ISO 27001 certification

Information security is a high priority for Firefish and Netstar has worked with Firefish to help it ensure its systems are effective and compliant.

Over the last few years, GDPR has driven information management higher up the agenda for many companies.  As a result, some of Firefish’s customers have begun to expect ISO 27001 certification.  This information security management system standard helps to satisfy some of the burden of proof GDPR demands in terms of good information governance.

As a result, in 2018, Firefish took the decision to go for ISO 27001 certification.

Jude says, “Netstar ‘get it’.  Going for ISO 27001 is not something we could have entertained with our previous IT company.  But Netstar are ISO 27001 compliant themselves.  They are familiar with the process and what the certification demands.  Their support has been pivotal in a lot of the process and I think without a strong partner we wouldn’t have been able to do it.”

The bigger picture

The advantages of switching to Netstar have been two-fold for Firefish.  First, in terms of the improved helpdesk support they receive on a day-to-day basis.  Second, in terms of the introduction of strategic support for long-term IT decision-making.

Jude comments, “The support Netstar provides very much takes into account the bigger picture.  They are mindful of the processes they are overlaying on and work with us very much as part of the team.”

Firefish has no hesitation in recommending Netstar. Jude concludes, “Netstar are problem solvers, not problem finders and I feel reassured having them as our IT partner.”

Netstar treats each member of our staff as an important individual who needs their help, so everyone can be assured of the same excellent service whenever they need it. It really feels like they are part of our team.

Jude Legg, Director of Information and Policy at Firefish

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