Leading African law firm Webber Wentzel has deployed BigHand’s digital dictation technology to enhance its document production processes, improving productivity and efficiency. The BigHand solution is providing visibility of workloads across departments and, in doing so, is transforming the way in which transcription work is shared. It is improving the turnaround time for the creation of legal documents.
Webber Wentzel has a staff complement of approximately 800 people, including 150 partners and 450 professionals in a variety of disciplines, across its offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town. The firm has specialist expertise in over 16 vertical sectors. With such a wide diversity of clients, spread across most of sub-Saharan Africa, the firm recognised the significant operational efficiencies and improved productivity that could be achieved by enabling greater mobility amongst its fee earners and interdepartmental work sharing.
Prior to implementing BigHand, Webber Wentzel had used a combination of outdated analogue and standalone digital dictation systems, which – whilst providing some efficiency gains – really reinforced the insular departmental approach.
Chief Technology Officer, Anthony Smit said: “Due to the nature of our work, our fee earners are out of the office with clients a great deal. Not only did we want to introduce more flexibility and mobility into our working processes to continue to deliver high quality services and improve operational efficiency, we wanted to fundamentally change the way in which documents were produced across the entire organisation.”
The implementation, which began in March 2013 following a successful 20-user pilot in November 2012, went live in June 2013 and is giving greater mobility to the company’s users.  BigHand has been deployed on users’ existing smart phones, including Blackberry, Android and iPhone. The initial pilot demonstrated significant productivity and efficiency gains through enhanced mobility and sharing of work between departments, which are now being validated as BigHand becomes widely adopted across the organisation.
“BigHand’s workflow dictation solution is providing us with an easy-to-administer, stable, organisation-wide digital dictation platform that is increasing the capacity of our document production and improving the speed and agility of our services. This presents clear commercial benefits not only to us but also our clients. We are one of the first South African firms using digital dictation in this way and we’re pleased to be leading the way,” Smit said. “Not only that, but the solution has been quick and easy to deploy, underpinned by exemplary project delivery and customer service from BigHand. It is a true reflection of their commitment and dedication to both us as an organisation, as well as the South African market.”