Business Critical Changes to PMS & What They Mean for Law Firms
4 Jan, 2022 | Jon Roscow
The World of Practice Management Software is Changing
In 2021 all legal firms share the need to ensure that the quality of the data that they hold.
Whether that’s financial information, HR resources, document management or time recording.
The security and management of data is a business-critical priority.
Core to most law firms is their practice management system (PMS) to manage their client and matter information, client monies and overall finances.
Some law firms have selected all in one PMS/CMS/DMS solutions whilst other, generally larger law firms, follow a composable architecture solution with a practice management system at its centre focussed on the financial and client/matter aspects of the business. Here the PMS would then be supplemented by a, CRM, HR resource, document management system, and time-recording software, all with compliance elements added in. Practising law successfully, requires a substantial tech stack.
While the technology continues to advance, and old tech becomes obsolete, the successful migration of data from one system to another, can be a genuine risk to firms who must ensure not only its security, but its quality as well.
Time for Change
With end-of-life announcements for several industry leading PMS solutions such as Elite Enterprise and Envision within the next three years, many law firms are looking to replace PMS systems that have been in situ for many years.
In theory, this is a good thing. Firms on these legacy systems will be able to migrate to a new, more up to date solution with additional capabilities but the challenges managing the data within these new systems will not go away.
Furthermore, clients moving from Elite Envision have discovered that they need a separate solutions to manage their respective financial, documentation and other business requirements.
As they move forward with this migration, master data management solutions are required for consistency. The law firms discover more errors, duplication, and require an agreement on the taxonomy and folksonomies that underpin that data on their system.
For example, the way that a particular record is written. The United States of America can be written ‘The USA’, ‘U.S.A.’, ‘The United States’, ‘US’. Agreeing a single form of words across all records is a taxonomical decision, but it’s something that law firms find important.
Composable Architecture vs. All-in-One Solution
As law firms grow, and particularly when we look at the top-tier law firms with perhaps 150 or more fee-earners, there is a stronger need to have the best-of-breed solution for each different data holding and management requirement within the firm. The best time recording software, the best document management software, the best HR system, the best LMS, the best CRM, finance, invoicing and compliance systems. These composable architectures are inevitably more complex. How do you make sure that data moves from one system to another, seamlessly, every time? Not only that it moves seamlessly during a migration, but that actually, it does so in a way that can be managed long-term. That within business as usual, all the data remains accurate, lacking in duplicates and easy to manage.
Test Data Management
Test data management is a vital component of any practice management software migration. The reason is simple. Law firms do not wish for, and cannot, be in a situation where live client data is used in a non-production environment that is tested or is, in any way, insecure.
It is vital that data is synthesized, completely brand new, and containing no confidential information for full testing as part of that migration process.
IDS’ iData solution can achieve this for a number of reasons.
Not only is IDS ISO9001 compliant, but their solution is on-premise, meaning that your data will not be transferred to India, China, the US or Canada, but instead will sit on-premise within your own server, environment or data storage solution you are confident is secure, and therefore, not at risk of any kind of cyber-security challenge.
In addition, iData’s data obfuscation and synthetic data generation capabilities can generate millions of unique, synthesized records for testing in a non-production environment. Ensuring 100% data security, 100% of the time.
For any law firm that is sitting on an end-of-life solution, or that is growing and requiring a best-of-breed practice management solution, with a core finance engine at its heart but managing all of the complex and multifarious elements of data that are inevitably required in the successful running of a law firm requires a data management solution that is best in-class. An end-to-end data certainty solution.
iData and the Kovenant methodology can offer this. IDS already work with law firms such as Irwin-Mitchell LLP. IDS have managed hundreds, if not thousands, of migrations, millions of lines of code and data.