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Convergence 2014 Europe an ‘eye-opener’

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Microsoft Dynamics Convergence 2014 in November was an ‘eye-opener’. The size of the conference hits you instantly – even the biggest legal IT events are a fraction of the size of most mainstream technology conventions. However, the reaction of law firms on how advanced technology adoption is outside the legal sector was noteworthy.

Hearing CIO of Kodak Alaris, John Milazzo, talk about why the company underpinned the business with Dynamics AX was a revelation. The company is a global turnaround success story – within two years Kodak Alaris has made a remarkable journey from bankruptcy to a $1.2 billion business. John’s presentation clearly established that if there’s a better, proven way of doing things, there isn’t much point in ‘doing it your way’ – especially if ‘doing things uniquely’ doesn’t add value for your customers and means supporting custom solutions unnecessarily. This message resonated well with many law firms as they are warming to the view that law firm processes aren’t that unique after all and leveraging best practice is the way forward.

Admittedly, many of the showcases we heard were from big corporates compared to even some of the largest law firms, but there was little doubt among firms that adopting ERP as a concept will deliver value to their organisations. Furthermore, there was also a realisation that with their customers well-versed with industry best practice in business, it’s a matter of time before corporates start demanding that law firms too adopt enterprise-grade business management systems to better engage with them.

Understandably, technology can be a minefield and so a question I was asked most was: ‘where do I start’. In all honesty, LexisOne presents the best start point. The majority of the solution is Dynamics AX with a legal layer built on it. The solution gives firms all the benefits of a globally recognised, enterprise-grade ERP system along with the legal specific functionality that they need.

I recommend a visit to Convergence 2015. The event is extremely engaging, and a great opportunity to learn from front-runner technology adopters. It provides a collective perspective (and evidence) on the best way of doing things, which is impossible to get only from talking to individual organisations. It also offers a chance to step away from traditional legal sector thinking and see what other businesses are doing to stay ahead in their respective markets.

About the Author:

Stu Gooderham leads client engagement for LexisNexis Enterprise Solutions' ERP solution LexisOne in the UK and US markets. Consultative in style, he works closely with law firms to support their decision-making process for the adoption of LexisOne; and remains personally involved in projects from inception through to go-live and beyond. The implementation of LexisOne at Fieldfisher is the most recent example.

With a focus on the Top100 law firms in the UK and the AMLAW 250 in the US, and thriving in client-facing roles, Stu continues to play an instrumental role in educating the legal market on the business benefits of ERP. He was the founding member of the LexisOne Future Insights Group, which saw senior representatives of the Top100 law firms come together to brainstorm and articulate the dynamic nature of demands that clients had of their law firms in the 21st century. He has used the insight gained from this forum to convincingly illustrate to the market how LexisOne is well-placed to overcome many of the common problems faced by law firms – including continuous improvement in customer service levels, client retention, driving new business and always being operationally optimised.

Stu joined LexisNexis Enterprise Solution, following the company's acquisition of Redwood Analytics, a business intelligence software provider.

Prior to these positions, Stu worked at Oracle, selling the Oracle 11i ERP system to the legal market. He is an engineer by training and also has experience in the manufacturing sector.

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