Improving the use and outputs from practice management systems is increasingly on the agenda, where we can streamline the review and selection process (allowing the in house team to get on with their work, making sure their views are heard) and help senior management to make sound decisions relatively quickly with confidence because we start with knowledge and experience with a wide variety of potential options. This recent response to an enquiry from an IT Director will give you a feel for how we operate to support IT Directors and Managers in developing the business case when considering a change of Practice Management System (PMS).
” … we aim to develop an interactive working relationship with you and your team.
Our approach varies from firm to firm depending on resources and skills available and the current environment in the firm. For example, the extent to which the project also involves change management; helping lawyers and support staff who use the systems to be a part of the selection process, so they have a better understanding and take more ownership of the systems that arrive on their desk. Sometimes it is needed; other times it is not – but also, sometimes partners are prepared to pay for it; other times they are not. Variations also relate to the extent of detail wanted in evaluating the tender responses (to generate like-for-like costings and scoring of solutions as an aid to making decisions) – and the extent to which we are involved in managing the demonstration process. Also the extent to which you need to develop a business case to justify the investment in different areas of the business.
A staged approach is usually best, within a framework with timescales to work to. Key stages are:
- Evaluation of the current situation and requirements, involving interviews with people at all levels – the extent of this varies, with politics often playing a part in how this can be used to maximum effect.
- We can develop the business case/s to justify a) investment and b) a defined level of investment
- There will generally be discussions at this stage about IT strategy, exploring options to improve productivity and returns from IT investment generally.
- Identification of potential (infrastructure and) applications providers – with preliminary discussions
- Development of a specification of requirements (level of detail varies and a more pragmatic approach can include a focus on key differentiators)
- Demonstrations where our involvement varies
- Evaluation of tenders – generating like for like numbers can be a challenge – filling gaps, advising on best options based on user feedback etc
- Shortlisting – presenting the business case to the management board if needed
- Involvement in some aspects of project management if needed
However, the first stage is to get in and do a preliminary evaluation of the current situation and requirements – so we can begin to consider options. In some cases our role in selection can stop there if any particular route is a “no brainer” in which case we focus on helping manage a transition.
The team here gives you access to the best range of appropriate expertise would involve Damian Griffiths (strategic), Allan Carton (user requirements and supplier options) and Richard Blasdale (detailed analysis and evaluation). “
If you are considering your options on developing your IT systems (PMS and beyond) and have any questions, call Allan Carton on 061 929 8355 for a preliminary discussion, with no obligation.