This past year, NetDocuments acquired Worldox — one legal document management vendor acquiring another. That’s significant because previously there were three legal document management vendors and this move dwindles that down to two. Now, Worldox customers must either move to NetDocuments or to iManage, the other provider. That, says David Cramer, Director of Sales – Legal & Professional Services at Blue Technologies, Inc., will bring many changes to those who use these services.
For example, he says many of Worldox customers use the provider’s on-premise product rather than the cloud version. NetDocuments, however, is a cloud-only solution, so those moving to the new combined company either need to make the adjustment or switch to iManage.
“The acquisition has put the onus on Worldox customers to decide whether or not they want to continue with the new combined company or move on to something else,” Cramer says. “It’s a decision that most customers weren’t planning on making. But now that they’re faced with it, it’s important that they know what changes are coming and what options they now have because the clock is ticking.”
Smart Business spoke with Cramer about the NetDocuments acquisition of Worldox and what the change means for current customers.
How might this acquisition affect customers of both companies?
The move from Worldox to either NetDocuments or iManage is likely to be positive for customers because Worldox seemingly hadn’t invested much in research and development, which materialized as a lack of new products, features, enhancements and upgrades. The platform was considered to be relatively flat because of that lack of innovation. The cloud solution they introduced, for example, was said to be clunky and plagued by performance issues.
When the dust from the transaction settles and customers make their move to a new platform, the expectation is the change will be a benefit regardless of which company’s product they choose to use.
What will this change look like to customers?
The change brings a different product, interface and user experience to customers, which will require training and a user adoption period as they learn to work a bit differently than they had. There will also be a short-term migration and implementation process as document metadata moves from the old to new system.
To make that transition as seamless as possible, some firms will lean on their in-house software trainer to deliver training. When that’s not available, it’s a good idea to work with a consulting firm. The third-party company can provide consulting services to facilitate the technology change and also provide training services so the firm can get up to speed.
Both of the remaining solutions in the market have dedicated considerable research and development dollars to keeping their products updated and modernized. They’ve introduced additional functionalities that have enabled the companies to keep pace with evolving user needs and requirements within the legal profession, all of which has enhanced user adoption and ultimately provided value to firms using the products. Further, both NetDocuments and iManage are evolving by adding more features and updates to their core document management systems while bringing on more complementary solutions to their portfolios through acquisitions.
In the short-term, users who have been working in a Worldox document management environment may experience a bit of heartache as they’re forced to change directions and move to a new platform — something that likely wasn’t on their planning horizon. Once firms have an opportunity to compare the platforms and walk through the process after making the switch, they’ll most likely feel as if they’re in a better place with their document management service. And that’s another reason to work with a third party to get the firm up to speed on the new service. By expediting the training and having an expert on hand, firms can quickly begin utilizing all of the new features and services, many of which could make existing processes faster and easier than ever before. ●
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