Intelligent digital workspaces for tax consultants and lawyers

For almost 100 years, the Nuremberg-based company Schuster & Walther, has been offering solutions for greater office productivity. In 1925, the two founders Hans Schuster and Hans Walther opened a general agency for the distribution of Triumph typewriters. Over the decades, the company evolved into a pure information service provider. Today, Schuster & Walther is one of the leading IT solution partners for digital transformation processes and supports customers with a large number of industry-specific services.

A special focus is placed on IT services for tax consultants, lawyers and auditors. Schuster & Walther was one of the first sourcing partners of DATEV eG and has been developing cloud products since 2009, which are hosted in DATEV’s data center.

“The members of DATEV are an interesting but also very demanding target group for IT service providers,” says Bernd Dausch, Chief Technical Officer . “We are seeing a new generation of employees entering the law firms - digital natives, who want more flexible workplace models. This includes mobile access to applications and data from anywhere.”

Citrix technologies offer DATEV Desktop as the basis for DaaS

Schuster & Walther realized at an early stage that the changing requirements of these customers could best be met with a desktops-as-a-service (DaaS) offering. The goal was to provide the law firms with a complete desktop environment with all the necessary applications as a service with monthly billing. That’s how the DATEV Desktop DaaS offering was created.

From a range of different services, customers can create their own digital workspace. In addition to DATEV applications and Office 365 applications, it can also include other industry software as well as communication tools for telephone and online collaboration. Schuster & Walther used Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops from the start to provide the virtual desktops and applications. All access to the respective customer environment in the DATEV data center is secured by Citrix networking solutions.

“It quickly became clear to us that we wanted to obtain as many technologies as possible from a single source for our DaaS offering,” says Dausch. “With Citrix, we have found the right partner for it. The company consistently delivers integrated solutions for the secure delivery of desktops, applications and data, and provides us with the professional 24/7 support we need for ongoing operations.”

The best-selling point, according to Dausch, is the compelling user experience of Citrix DaaS: “A DaaS solution will only impress users if they can work with their applications quickly and easily at any time. And that's exactly what we can do with Citrix solutions.”

Content Collaboration enables smart digital workflows

Schuster & Walther constantly communicate with their customers about how they use the DATEV desktop and further develop the site accordingly. For example, a great challenge for many users is the secure exchange of receipts and other documents with clients. Sensitive data must be protected. At the same time, the digital information should be available for further processing as quickly as possible.

To meet these requirements, Schuster & Walther extended the DATEV Desktop with the Enterprise File Sync and Sharing platform Citrix Content Collaboration. It allows users to automatically synchronize documents between different devices and share them with other users just as easily and securely. For example, if a lawyer emailed a larger file to a client, the Citrix Outlook plug-in automatically converts the attachment to a Content Collaboration link. The recipient can then download the document securely from the Citrix platform - the sender has full control over who can access the document and how long it is available for download.

The customers of Schuster & Walther can go one step further with the solution scannerbox, which is also based on Citrix Content Collaboration. The solution was developed by cooperation partner page one GmbH, another company on the Schuster & Walther Campus in Nuremberg. Accountants can provide their clients with a smart scanner to independently digitize receipts and other documents. The scanned documents are then automatically stored in the respective filing structure of the tax consultant and can also be transferred directly to various DATEV applications.

“With the scannerbox, our customers can accelerate processes enormously,” says Dausch. “Users immediately see the recorded documents of their clients in the right application and then receive suggestions for further processing from intelligent software assistants.”

Maximum security for sensitive data of clients

Citrix technologies are also helping Schuster & Walther to meet the high demands of its customers for security and data protection. “The flexible storage options are a big advantage of Citrix Content Collaboration,” explains Dausch. “We can choose to store data in the DATEV data center only.”

DATEV Desktop customers can also access their digital workspaces securely from any location. All communication between terminals and servers is encrypted by redundant Citrix gateways in the DATEV data center. In addition, the access is secured by two-factor authentication. Schuster & Walther uses Citrix ADC as the central SAML identity provider and authenticates users among other things with Office 365. “This saves us the configuration of Azure AD Connect and makes it easier for users to access their digital workspace. Therefore, our goal is to integrate as many services as possible and to enable single sign-on for all applications of a user,” says Dausch.

Citrix SD-WAN provides uninterrupted access

The users of the DATEV Desktop could then only be stopped by a failure of their Internet connection. And Schuster & Walther has been offering its customers a solution for this scenario as well. With Citrix SD-WAN, the various internet connections that law firms use - such as DSL, cable and LTE - can be bundled into a virtual connection. If one line fails, the data traffic is immediately redirected to the remaining paths and users can continue working without interruption.

The first customers who are already using the solution are excited about the new possibilities: “The conversion to SD-WAN was a real blessing for us - since then, there has not been a single interruption at our workplaces,” says Martin Fürsattel, managing partner of the tax consultancy firm Fürsattel & Collegen. “We have four different lines combined to form a connection and are therefore well protected against disruptions. In addition, some applications run much faster than before.” Schuster & Walther monitor the performance and availability of WAN connections with the SD-WAN Orchestrator. In the near future, the customers should also be able to pull independent reports of the network performance.

In the future, Bernd Dausch sees his company very well positioned as a DaaS provider. “With Citrix, we have a partner on our side who covers all the important issues around delivering applications, desktops and data. At the same time, the company's strategy fits the needs of our customers. In the next few years, the demand for automated workflows and intelligent tools will continue to grow in law firms. With Citrix Workspace with intelligence we can address these exact issues.”

With Citrix, we have a partner on our side who covers all the important issues around delivering applications, desktops and data. At the same time, the company's strategy fits the needs of our customers. In the next few years, the demand for automated workflows and intelligent tools will continue to grow in law firms. With Citrix Workspace with intelligence we can address these exact issues.
Bernd Dausch
Chief Technical Officer Datacenter
Schuster & Walther IT-Kanzlei GmbH