Firm size: 80 staff across three offices (Croydon, Purley, Warlingham) Went Live in: 2015
Implementation of SOS Connect driven by the need for greater functionality and flexibility to enhance productivity
What were the original reasons for investing in a new system? Streeter Marshall had been using Elite Enterprise for over nine years therefore the impending ‘end of life’ call for Elite Enterprise, coupled with the necessity to upgrade servers and server side software, focused the mind on seeking alternative solutions that had greater functionality and flexibility which could be developed to enhance productivity and provide a better service to clients. The lack of a document management system was also proving problematic.
What were your short, medium and long-term objectives? Initially, it was to have a smooth and fully comprehensive data transfer and the implementation of the document and email management system and also, to ensure that the whole firm adopted a more centralised approach to areas such as billing. The medium-term objectives were to build upon the initial goodwill generated by the system by providing custom reports and developing an in-house designed conveyancing system, together with the adoption of the SOS Probate package. The long-term objectives are to further develop in-house workflow solutions and fully exploit the CRM functionality.
Why did you choose SOS? For the product and the people. The SOS Connect system presented an ideal solution to move the firm on in terms of a fully integrated system that was easy to use but also allowed for a high degree of in-house development. The people were professional and honest and eager to assist in showing how the system could be developed.
Have you any tips for others rolling out a major system? Be clear about your objectives. Be prepared to rethink all existing procedures and listen to advice whether it be internal or external. Appoint a project manager to work with the supplier’s project manager to manage the project, resolve issues as and when they occur and to make sure that the decision makers are kept appraised at all times. Also, communication – keep all staff informed as to what will be happening and the timetable of key events. Don’t be over ambitious with regard to the timetable. The temptation is to be up and running as soon as possible but you need to ensure that any scripting modifications are thoroughly tested and amended, where necessary, before go-live.
What have been the biggest challenges? The biggest challenge was the introduction of completely new centralised methods of working such as billing. Having said that, people adapted very quickly, largely due to the clarity of the processes.
What are the biggest benefits? Productivity: the document management system and the integration of emails in Outlook, coupled with auto time recording has saved time and effort, captured more time and flowed through to increased billing.
Reporting: apart from the standard reports (which are very comprehensive), a number of custom reports have been written that allow the partners to not only see the firm/department/fee earner position but also drill down to look at specifics.
Processes: the ability to modify processes and write completely new processes. Since go-live some of the original workflow scripts have been modified to better reflect changed circumstances. Also, the in-house IT team, in conjunction with conveyancers, have developed a custom written conveyancing system. It is the ability to modify the system as circumstances change that is the biggest benefit.
Plans for the future in relation to technology To review all existing work processes to see what extent workflows could improve service delivery. Coupled with greater process automation, the implementation of digital signatures to speed document turnaround and the integration of the phone system with SOS Connect.
What three words best describe SOS to you? Dependable, honest, progressive.