7 Reasons Why Lawyers Will Love iManage Work 10

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

By Daren Chidwick, Technical Consultant, Ascertus Limited

I’ve been a longstanding user of FileSite, a solution that provides the iManage content management add-in within Microsoft Outlook. However, since moving to iManage Work 10, the latest version of the solution, I’ve actually stopped using FileSite. It is a personal preference of course.

Nevertheless, I believe lawyers too will love iManage Work 10. Here’s why:

  • Improved Outlook performance and usability – Work 10 offers a much lighter weight add-in to Microsoft Outlook, other MS Office applications and Adobe Acrobat (Gmail is now also supported). This means that most of the tools that lawyers use on a day-to-day basis are seamlessly integrated and Outlook will typically load faster!

  • Access to data on the move – without compromising user experience – The solution offers a new, modern web user interface, which means that lawyers can access data from any device, anywhere, anytime. Most crucially using the solution requires minimal training; and the experience of using Work 10 is the same regardless of whether the device is a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop. Not many solutions today offer this kind of device agnostic, consistent user experience.

  • Enhanced ‘suggested filing’ a time saver – The analytics in Work 10 have been improved to provide even more intelligent and targeted suggested filing locations for emails, based on usage history. Lawyers can save files directly from Outlook into Work 10 in multiple locations with a single click; and previously filed emails are clearly marked, so fee-earners won’t waste time filing what is already saved in the document management system. Additionally, emails can also be viewed by conversation thread in Work 10, which is useful.

  • Managing attachments is simplified – Due to the introduction of intelligent filters, with a single click, lawyers can immediately filter a folder, to display only the emails that have attachments. Given the volume of documents that lawyers send and receive on a daily basis, this is a great time saving feature. Version control on incoming emails with attachments has been significantly enhanced too.

  • Co-authoring and collaboration – The collaboration capability is significantly boosted in Work 10. Two or more people can simultaneously work on a document, safe in the knowledge that one of those individuals has complete control over the versioning process. It’s worth noting that this feature presently requires Microsoft OneDrive, either in the cloud or on-premises.

  • ‘Soft’ deletion, recovery and peace of mind – Typically, lawyers are extremely reluctant to delete documents, at the risk losing key case information. Work 10 offers ‘soft’ deletion of documents – this means that even though a document may have been deleted, either in error or otherwise, should the lawyer require that file in the future, the solution administrator will be able to recover it at a later date.

  • Seamless on and offline working – The solution enables individuals to seamlessly switch between offline and online working. All the documents that lawyers work on are automatically cached to the local profile on their device. Say for whatever reason, the firm’s network goes down for a period of time, lawyers can continue to work on their PC. When the network is back up again, Work 10 will detect that the individuals are back online, and give the lawyers an action to sync the changes and/or create a new version of the documents they were working on at the time. This is excellent for business continuity.

Technology adoption for me is all about making life easier, enabling me to improve my efficiency and productivity so that I can focus on the more critical aspects of my work. Adoption of iManage Work 10 is a big step in this direction. The feedback that we have received from lawyers who have moved to Work 10 is similar too.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Forward Looking Law Firms are Adopting ‘Payment Over Time’ for Technology Purchase

Guest Blog by Barry Bostoff, Business Development Manager, Econocom UK

Today in our personal lives, rather than making large one-off payments to own expensive items, such as IT devices, cars and such, many of us opt for a purchasing model that allows us to use the products without necessarily ‘owning’ the assets. Given the rapid pace of technology and how quickly some of these items become obsolete, smaller, affordable payments give us all the benefits of using the products as if we owned them, but with an attractive option of upgrading to the latest version at the end of a defined period of time.

The same rationale applies to law firms and indeed any type of business. By purchasing technology assets on a ‘payment over time’ basis, firms can fund everything that is critical to business operation – from hardware such as PC, tablets, servers, telecom systems and digital devices through to complex software projects like practice management, document management, case management and so on.

Adopting this approach to technology investment offers many business advantages from a cash/finance perspective – specially to law firm partners:

  • Tax efficiency – The cost of renting the technology comes off the Profit & Loss account, which makes the technology purchase a lot more tax efficient. This in turn also means that partners pay less tax themselves, which can be substantial considering that most of these individuals fall under the higher income tax category.

  • Cost distribution across partnership is equitable – Historically, law firm partners have invested in expensive, business-critical technology systems, the benefits of which they may have never fully experienced, due to the timescales involved in some of these projects coming to fruition. Say for instance, a law firm needs to implement an integrated document and case management system across multiple offices. Such projects can often take multiple years to deliver ROI. Rather than a partner, who is due to retire before the system truly takes effect, paying upfront for the project; a ‘payment over time’ approach ensures that the individual only pays for the legitimate portion of the technology cost/rental while in office. Subsequently, the new partner taking over the role of the outgoing individual also takes on the continuing cost of the project. The cost burden on partners is significantly reduced and is equitably spread across the partnership.

  • Cashflow – Firms need a healthy cashflow for smooth business operation. It gives them the flexibility to react to changing client requirements and market forces. Rather than depleting a significant portion of the firm’s cash reserve upfront on a resource intensive technology project – by adopting the ‘payment over time’ model, firms could optimise their funds to invest in activities that are core to the organisation or indeed expand into new areas. Additionally, firms can remove the spikes in their cash flow by replacing them with simple, defined monthly payments.

  • Higher ROI – Typically finance directors assign expected ROI rates for the investments they make for the business. For example, the expected ROI from a £100K investment in IT may be 2%, but the same amount of outlay in people or a physical asset may be assigned a higher ROI of 4%. Therefore, a ‘payment over time’ approach delivers a better return on the firm’s cash investment.

However, perhaps the biggest benefit to law firms – who heavily rely on IT for business operation – of this approach is that it offers them unprecedented level of freedom to continually upgrade and refresh the required technology assets across the duration of the payment plan. If at the end of 18 months, the firm decides to transition to the next version of its document management system, it can easily do so my adjusting the monthly payment figure accordingly. Partners can ensure that they are matching the investment costs of the business with the benefits being delivered over a number of years. Already, many firms including Wright Hassall, Wiggin, Boyes Turner, Stephens & Scown, Wilsons and Geldards are benefiting from this approach.

About the author

Barry has worked in the Legal sector for over 15 years, fulfilling sales roles in software and finance. He has an excellent knowledge of the software tools used by law firms and the impact that buying and implementing these has on a firm’s cash flow.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Responsiveness, Responsibility and Reliability

By Chris Thomas, Technical Support Manager, Ascertus Limited

What makes a good Support Helpdesk? The latest survey conducted independently by iManage highlights that Ascertus is very highly rated for the quality of its Support services by customers. We have also significantly improved our rating from last year. Such instances are always a good time for introspection – what are we doing well and how can we improve our offering even further?

It boils down to the holy trinity of the three ‘R’s – responsiveness, responsibility and reliability:

Responsiveness – In the last few months, Ascertus has won a significant amount of new business and therefore the number of seats we are supporting has increased significantly. Like any Support organisation, we have agreed Service Level Agreements (SLA) with individual organisations of course, but our objective is to always be responsive to customer requirements – regardless of the SLA. It’s imperative to acknowledge and record receipt of the issue in a meaningful way, be it with a phone call or a personal email to the customer by a HelpDesk team member, reassuring them that we will deal with the problem in a way that is least disruptive to their organisation. At Ascertus, to make sure that we achieve this, besides the core support team, we have additional support technicians on call, so we always have the bandwidth. Clients are never impacted by changes in our workload.

Responsibility – Typically, customers reach out to their support partner because the measures they have already undertaken haven’t worked.

Larger clients usually reach out regarding higher severity cases, which whilst less common will have a much greater impact on the business, when they do. So, we are mindful of the effect the situation is likely having on both the business and individuals, and have escalation processes in place to ensure that cases are speedily progressed.

On the other hand, smaller organisations who don’t have dedicated IT resource in-house are generally more reliant on their support partner for lower priority issues, which purely based on SLAs do not require the same level of responsiveness, but occur more often which has a bearing on the businesses’ day to day operation. We appreciate that low priority cases (based on SLA criteria) may appear higher priority to those affected, and we are aware of our responsibility to such situations.

Therefore, sensitivity to customer requirements in both situations (higher volume, lower priority / lower volume, higher priority) is a must.

Even where there’s an issue that impacts a product we support – although the fault may not be of the supported product – we try to help identify the problem and point them in the right direction for further assistance. Our customers appreciate this responsible attitude.

Reliability – When requesting support, consistency is key. Support technicians with a wealth of in-depth knowledge and experience individually is important but their ability to work closely together and pool knowledge will greatly enhance the support service. This ensures that regardless of who in the team a customer speaks to, they always get the same, consistent quality of care. At Ascertus, Support undergoes regular training so that the team is up to date on the various solutions the company provides, but also more broadly on the technological landscape, given how quickly technology is evolving.

In addition, we have well-embedded internal processes for record keeping of conversations, notes and communications, so that in the absence of an individual, service is never compromised.

We are delighted that the quality of our Support services is being recognised by customers. We are constantly fine-tuning our processes and looking for ways to enhance the service so that we can address issues in the most speedy and effective manner.