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Responsiveness, Responsibility and Reliability

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

By Chris Thomas, Technical Support Manager, Ascertus Limited

What makes a good Support Helpdesk? The latest survey conducted independently by iManage highlights that Ascertus is very highly rated for the quality of its Support services by customers. We have also significantly improved our rating from last year. Such instances are always a good time for introspection – what are we doing well and how can we improve our offering even further?

It boils down to the holy trinity of the three ‘R’s – responsiveness, responsibility and reliability:

Responsiveness – In the last few months, Ascertus has won a significant amount of new business and therefore the number of seats we are supporting has increased significantly. Like any Support organisation, we have agreed Service Level Agreements (SLA) with individual organisations of course, but our objective is to always be responsive to customer requirements – regardless of the SLA. It’s imperative to acknowledge and record receipt of the issue in a meaningful way, be it with a phone call or a personal email to the customer by a HelpDesk team member, reassuring them that we will deal with the problem in a way that is least disruptive to their organisation. At Ascertus, to make sure that we achieve this, besides the core support team, we have additional support technicians on call, so we always have the bandwidth. Clients are never impacted by changes in our workload.

Responsibility – Typically, customers reach out to their support partner because the measures they have already undertaken haven’t worked.

Larger clients usually reach out regarding higher severity cases, which whilst less common will have a much greater impact on the business, when they do. So, we are mindful of the effect the situation is likely having on both the business and individuals, and have escalation processes in place to ensure that cases are speedily progressed.

On the other hand, smaller organisations who don’t have dedicated IT resource in-house are generally more reliant on their support partner for lower priority issues, which purely based on SLAs do not require the same level of responsiveness, but occur more often which has a bearing on the businesses’ day to day operation. We appreciate that low priority cases (based on SLA criteria) may appear higher priority to those affected, and we are aware of our responsibility to such situations.

Therefore, sensitivity to customer requirements in both situations (higher volume, lower priority / lower volume, higher priority) is a must.

Even where there’s an issue that impacts a product we support – although the fault may not be of the supported product – we try to help identify the problem and point them in the right direction for further assistance. Our customers appreciate this responsible attitude.

Reliability – When requesting support, consistency is key. Support technicians with a wealth of in-depth knowledge and experience individually is important but their ability to work closely together and pool knowledge will greatly enhance the support service. This ensures that regardless of who in the team a customer speaks to, they always get the same, consistent quality of care. At Ascertus, Support undergoes regular training so that the team is up to date on the various solutions the company provides, but also more broadly on the technological landscape, given how quickly technology is evolving.

In addition, we have well-embedded internal processes for record keeping of conversations, notes and communications, so that in the absence of an individual, service is never compromised.

We are delighted that the quality of our Support services is being recognised by customers. We are constantly fine-tuning our processes and looking for ways to enhance the service so that we can address issues in the most speedy and effective manner.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

7 Reasons Why Lawyers Will Love iManage Work 10

By Daren Chidwick, Technical Consultant, Ascertus Limited

I’ve been a longstanding user of FileSite, a solution that provides the iManage content management add-in within Microsoft Outlook. However, since moving to iManage Work 10, the latest version of the solution, I’ve actually stopped using FileSite. It is a personal preference of course.

Nevertheless, I believe lawyers too will love iManage Work 10. Here’s why:

  • Improved Outlook performance and usability – Work 10 offers a much lighter weight add-in to Microsoft Outlook, other MS Office applications and Adobe Acrobat (Gmail is now also supported). This means that most of the tools that lawyers use on a day-to-day basis are seamlessly integrated and Outlook will typically load faster!

  • Access to data on the move – without compromising user experience – The solution offers a new, modern web user interface, which means that lawyers can access data from any device, anywhere, anytime. Most crucially using the solution requires minimal training; and the experience of using Work 10 is the same regardless of whether the device is a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop. Not many solutions today offer this kind of device agnostic, consistent user experience.

  • Enhanced ‘suggested filing’ a time saver – The analytics in Work 10 have been improved to provide even more intelligent and targeted suggested filing locations for emails, based on usage history. Lawyers can save files directly from Outlook into Work 10 in multiple locations with a single click; and previously filed emails are clearly marked, so fee-earners won’t waste time filing what is already saved in the document management system. Additionally, emails can also be viewed by conversation thread in Work 10, which is useful.

  • Managing attachments is simplified – Due to the introduction of intelligent filters, with a single click, lawyers can immediately filter a folder, to display only the emails that have attachments. Given the volume of documents that lawyers send and receive on a daily basis, this is a great time saving feature. Version control on incoming emails with attachments has been significantly enhanced too.

  • Co-authoring and collaboration – The collaboration capability is significantly boosted in Work 10. Two or more people can simultaneously work on a document, safe in the knowledge that one of those individuals has complete control over the versioning process. It’s worth noting that this feature presently requires Microsoft OneDrive, either in the cloud or on-premises.

  • ‘Soft’ deletion, recovery and peace of mind – Typically, lawyers are extremely reluctant to delete documents, at the risk losing key case information. Work 10 offers ‘soft’ deletion of documents – this means that even though a document may have been deleted, either in error or otherwise, should the lawyer require that file in the future, the solution administrator will be able to recover it at a later date.

  • Seamless on and offline working – The solution enables individuals to seamlessly switch between offline and online working. All the documents that lawyers work on are automatically cached to the local profile on their device. Say for whatever reason, the firm’s network goes down for a period of time, lawyers can continue to work on their PC. When the network is back up again, Work 10 will detect that the individuals are back online, and give the lawyers an action to sync the changes and/or create a new version of the documents they were working on at the time. This is excellent for business continuity.

Technology adoption for me is all about making life easier, enabling me to improve my efficiency and productivity so that I can focus on the more critical aspects of my work. Adoption of iManage Work 10 is a big step in this direction. The feedback that we have received from lawyers who have moved to Work 10 is similar too.

Friday, November 10, 2017

A New Document Management System May Save Your Business

By Antony Wells, Senior Account Manager, Ascertus Limited

Due to the pace of technological change and ever-growing regulatory demands, the business imperative for a strategic and comprehensive information lifecycle-led approach to document management is now critical. The traditional approach to document management is no longer fit for purpose. The following are the most pressing reasons why law firms need a robust approach to the function:

  1. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – Compliance with the GDPR is not going to be a one-off process. It will need to be a key component of a firms’ ongoing information governance strategy, where the role of a good document management system cannot be underestimated. For instance, organisations’ document management system must have the capability to track all personal data that is mapped to every client and every engagement in order to deliver against the GDPR requirements of ‘right to erasure’ and ‘right for data portability’. Similarly, in order to eliminate the risk of over-retention, the document management system must be able to support and apply client-specific information retention policies. The debacle of the Panama Papers remains a prime example of extremely poor document management with no retention scheduling.
  2. Functionality – Firms today need dynamic functionality that goes beyond traditional document management capability. For instance, lawyers need search capability that enables easy navigation of large results sets – tuned to their work style. Features such as document timelines, dashboards and analytics are fast becoming essential for better decision making too; and the ability to view large documents on a mobile device when on the move is now critical.

    Some firms today opt to deploy platforms such as SharePoint for document management. SharePoint is good for some things, but the cost of developing SharePoint so that it consistently delivers the above-mentioned functionality can be prohibitive due to the specialist skills required, the continuous in-house software development, and the ongoing high level of support and project management.

  3. Email management – With a large proportion of critical information residing in emails today, the ability to effectively manage email and indeed data from other sources such as voicemails is essential. Good document management systems offer the ability to easily manage both documents and emails from within the Outlook folders. Even dialogues and discussions that take place via email pertaining to matters – that don’t necessarily form part of more formalised documents – can be captured. The ease of use is phenomenal too. For instance, incoming emails are analysed and based on their inherent properties, the document management system suggests filing locations to users, who can even save emails directly from Outlook using the ‘save’ command in Office and Office 365. More advanced document management systems even provide the option of automatic email filing.
  4. Pessimistic security – Given the onslaught of breaches today, many firms are adopting pessimistic security measures, a restrictive model that automatically locks down access to data in the event of unusual activity like a user trying to see a file without the right password and security clearance. Best-of-breed document management systems offer advanced threat detection and remediation capability, which is essential to protecting sensitive data, reducing the risk of breaches and mitigating damage, should a security event actually occur.

  5. Artificial intelligence – Speedy access and informative insights into business and matter data delivers competitive advantage to law firms. This is the leading-edge functionality that some document management systems are already provide using Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to help fee earners analyse information in within and attached to the electronic documents and emails to quickly and accurately locate the right facts/evidence/material across all of the content residing in the system. This capability can deliver exceptional efficiency to lawyers who often in large, complex cases have to sift through hundreds of thousands of legal documents to extract critical information. Sophisticated document management systems are integrating AI technology directly into the workflow of their solutions to learn how to do these highly repetitive tasks freeing up resources to provide more bespoke and high value add services.
  6. By adopting ‘bolt on’ or traditional document manage systems, law firms will put their business and clients at risk. Also, they will not be able to take advantage of the cost, efficiency and productivity benefits that new technology offers, which is imperative to enhancing client service and positively impacting their bottom line.

    If you are interested in understanding more about the new best-of-breed document management systems available, register here to join our Document Management webinars. The next one is running on Wednesday 29th November 2017 from 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM GMT. Alternatively, please feel free to contact me for a no obligation discussion and demonstration of iManage Work’s capabilities.