Predictions 2005: Ups and Downs

January 1, 2005

Products law firms should be buying: Last year the burning issue was how to manage e-mail – today the first viable e-mail management systems are starting to become commercially available and in 2005 they are going to be on the top of many firms’ IT shopping lists. Suppliers to look out for include FWBS, InTech Solutions, Visualfiles (aka Solicitec), the document management system suppliers Hummingbird and Interwoven, and we can expect several more product launches during the first quarter of the coming year.

Products law firms will start considering buying: Second generation CRM. Although client relationship management systems have been around for a number of years, most have been poorly implemented, under utilised or run as nothing more than marketing applications. However the underlying message – that a law firm’s commercial survival depends upon being able to anticipate what the clients think and want – is starting to get through and, as a result, firms are going to be wanting CRM systems that give them a true ‘360 degree view’ so they really know everything there is to know about their clients.

Suppliers going up: There are always plenty of contenders but I predict FWBS with its OMS.NET Matter-Centre system (which comes about as close as any product does to providing a one-stop interface to every item of information connected with the management of a particular matter or client) will be the next big thing in mid-to-large firm technology.

Suppliers going down: Any supplier that does not have a clear Microsoft .NET product development strategy in place before the end of 2005 can kiss their long-term future goodbye and start queuing for a place in the has-beens hall of shame.