My previous article “Law Firm IT Spend – Getting it Right”, gave an overview of achieving the right level of IT spend by considering typical spending levels, discussing how to capture and analyse your current spend and giving suggestions for dealing with over-spend. But what if the analysis demonstrates that you need to spend more?
This might be due to earlier underinvestment or a new business initiative or strategic decision. There is nothing wrong with such an outcome if it is based on sound analysis. However, the Partnership and senior management will always be wary of increased spending on any business cost, so you will need to present a convincing business case for any proposed increase in IT spend.
I was recently invited to speak at The Law Society’s Law Management Section conference. My topic was “Getting value from IT investments”.
Quantifying the return on investment from IT projects is a minefield many of us have tried to address, but while those efforts are often used to build a business case prior to embarking on projects, it is often the case that these justifications are not a true reflection of the cost / value that technology investments represent and nor are they assessed post go-live.
While preparing the presentation, I was reminded of the “Man in a barrel” gift that Christel Aguila, IT Director and Partner at Winckworth Sherwood LLP brought back from the Philippines for her team and the need to never make assumptions!
I recently had an email from Microsoft Bing Places requesting that I ensure our company registration record was up-to-date. The experience which followed was a good reminder of the frustrations of users when dealing with inefficient processes delivered by IT solutions.
To be honest I can’t even remember registering for Bing Places and hadn’t thought to update the registration when we moved offices last year. I certainly didn’t have a Bing Places account to make the changes.
There then followed one of the most ridiculous processes I’ve ever experienced.
PMS Selection for Hunt & Coombs
Supporting decision makers to make an effective and informed choice
Hunt & Coombs are currently using Envision, a product which had been made “end of life” by Thomson Reuters. Whilst the firm had good IT leadership it needed support to:
- determine which options were available;
- provide a robust and inclusive selection process;
- document all of the critical User requirements and add structure to the evaluation phase;
- assist in establishing the project’s key success factors;
- guide the internal team through the process and final decision making.
DMS Selection & Implementation for Winckworth Sherwood
A case study of transition
During 2015, Winckworth Sherwood (WS) undertook an IT review which identified that while providing sleek integration and automation between various systems, the existing SharePoint Document Management System (DMS) was no longer meeting the needs and expectations of a growing business.
Debenhams Ottaway Virtual IT Director
Definition and implementation of a IT strategy for a progressive regional law firm.
To align IT with business and improving reliability and performance whilst bringing expenditure in line with industry benchmarks.
- IT issues were a regular occurrence which hampered productivity
- Expenditure on IT had risen to 9.6% of turnover – a premium price for sub-optimal service.
- Lack of a thought-through and comprehensive IT strategy had led to an ad-hoc “shopping list” approach
I was not surprised to see Microsoft’s admission that developing new features for the Mobile version of Windows 10 was “no longer a focus” this but it is a shame to see. I had a Windows phone for several years and found it to be very good. I moved back to iPhone when the iPhone 7 came out as several “silver bullet” apps which I used which were removed from the Windows 10 app store at about this time (and yes I wanted a iWatch …) and it was becoming more obvious that app vendors were not going to get on board with Windows 10.
The most frustrating thing I found with moving back to the iPhone was that the Microsoft Apps available on IOS were better than the Apps they provided on their own operating system so for me the writing has been on the wall for some time.
However, personal views aside, the most concerning issue for IT professionals is the seeming ease in which major technology companies can and will chop and change their strategy and offerings.
We were engaged by leading Birmingham firm Anthony Collins to provide mentoring and support to their PMS replacement project group.
We were engaged by leading East Anglian firm Ellison’s Solicitors to advise on their PMS replacement project.
David and Kevin are both members of the British Computer Society and hold Chartered IT Professional (CITP) memberships.
The chartered membership is achieved via a rigorous application process including a Breadth of Knowledge test and a Peer Assessment Interview. The accreditation is underpinned by periodic revalidation.
Holders of the CITP have to be able to demonstrate they’ve undertaken a range of challenging and complex work activities where they’ve had full accountability and exercised significant influence and responsibility, and have well-developed business skills.
The accreditation shows that holders understand the business they are working in and add business value through the use of technology
Following an independent review for Winckworth Sherwood of the iManage and NetDocuments products, the consulting team recommended the NetDocuments platform based on the client’s strategic decision to move to a cloud-based SAAS platform for their future DMS and on the grounds of its proven cloud credentials and the vendor’s track record around innovation, product development, security and customer support.
At the suggestion of both client and NetDocuments, Baskerville Drummond then moved to gain certification to enable the end-to-end delivery of the Winckworth Sherwood DMS project.
In December 2016 Kevin became our first NetDocuments certified consultant. Paul Hoffbrand, probably the most experienced and certified NetDocuments practitioner in the country has also joined the Baskerville Drummond implementations team.
PMS Selection and IT Consultancy for Standley & Co
A range of IT consultancy leading to a PMS selection project
In late 2016 Standley & Co required strategic IT consultancy across several areas with a long-term plan to replace their PMS system.
Telephone System Selection for Taylor & Emmet
Requirements analysis and supplier engagement to select a new telephone system
We were retained by Taylor & Emmet to consider the need for a new telephone system. The scope of the project was as follows:
It is always interesting to see how a project you are working on is reported in the press. In recent legal press it was reported that Matthew Arnold and Baldwin LLP (MAB) “Shuts its door” with the suggestion that Partners and their teams were fleeing as quickly as possible in different directions.
We were engaged by a Top 50 Law Firm to assist with the interview process for their new Head of IT Operations position.
We were engaged by Kutana to develop and deploy a model to assess the business benefits that are achieved by deploying Kutana’s Kappris print management solution.
I was recently asked to speak on “Demystifying PMS Implementation’s” at a seminar run by Robert Half. As I said to attendees I’m not a slick salesman or presenter but I have had the joy of undertaking 7 PMS related projects in my time in the legal sector from “standard” implementations to de-merger and merger projects.
In this article I will share with you the introductionary aspects of the presentation. The definition of a PMS project, a high-level market overview and the traditional PMS project approach.
This is the second in a series of three articles which are based on our recent Demystifying PMS Implementation’s seminar.
In this article we will suggest a different approach for PMS projects before moving on to how to extract best value from consultants and suppliers.
This is the last part of our series articles which are based on our recent Demystifying PMS Implementation’s seminar.
In the first article we covered the definition of a PMS project, a high-level market overview and the traditional PMS project approach.
In the second article we suggested a different approach for resourcing PMS projects.