Global law firm Linklaters has embarked on a major IT standardisation project.
The firm is upgrading from Microsoft NT4 and Office 97 to Exchange 2000, Office 2000 and Active Directory supported by systems management technology.
The move follows the decision to merge two separate entities, Linklaters and Alliance, into one company.
While return on investment is hard to measure, Tim Warburton, technical architect for the project at Linklaters, said the firm could not have completed the merger without the move and would have needed to recruit 20 more IT support staff.
"It is an infrastructure upgrade that is providing a platform for us going forward," he said. "Active Directory and Systems Management Server 2003 are a very good match and will help us manage our growing number of remote workers."
Active Directory and Exchange are being piloted by 350 users in Linklaters' New York and Sao Paulo offices.
The pilot began in December 2002 and includes Wap and personal digital assistant services provided via Mobile Information Server 2002; Microsoft Operations Manager 2000 SP1 for managing its server environment; and Software Update Services to deploy patches on its servers.
Linklaters aims to complete the roll-out of the new system to support its 6,500 users across 31 offices in 22 countries by May.