Bite-Sized Views from 3Kites: We Need to Join Together!

So sang Roger Daltrey on The Who’s 1972 ‘Join Together’, and it is this refrain that I think of when looking at the role of IT teams in PMS projects. These are the largest projects for most professional services firms but they are also primarily business change projects with opportunities that can bring about significant improvements for fee earners and their direct support staff. They also have a major operational impact on Finance teams, helping to streamline processes and providing greater visibility to information across the business (which, in turn, reduces the burden on Finance to field requests for details which should be readily available).

This is not the case for IT teams which may have a reduced role in such projects, especially when compared with the heavy back-office focus that was required to implement a PMS 15 or more years ago. With the shift to cloud computing, the reliance on IT to prepare a firm’s infrastructure has also diminished.

However, where IT has an increasingly important role is in delivering integrations with other systems such as the HRS, CRM, case and DMS. Many PMS projects avoid the complexity of full integration and we feel this misses out on delivering the prize of providing firms with a single version of the truth. Whilst the benefits of joining together are sometimes overlooked, even the least IT-literate users will bemoan a lack of integration which requires that data is entered multiple times into various systems.

This can result in different details being held for the same entity, shifting discussions from a strategic response to the frustrations of determining which system is right… if any. This can waste valuable time across an organisation and skew decision making. Joining key components together should ensure that inconsistent data is eradicated and, even where inaccuracies do exist, that these can be resolved by editing the erroneous data in its master system (eg the HRS for people data) and letting this propagate around the others.

The role of IT is therefore crucial in maximising the benefits of any single system by joining it together with other systems where appropriate. This is seen most clearly when replacing that backbone of a system that is a firm’s PMS, and it is here that the IT team can make its most telling and significant contributions to the overall success of a project.

Paul Longhurst, 3Kites Consulting, November 2021

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3Kites Consulting
3Kites is a consultancy that provides legal firms, in-house legal teams and the professional services sector with fresh thinking based on its unique combination of legal and IT skills and experience. Learn more about 3Kites here.