Hill Dickinson to conduct IT strategy review

Hill Dickinson, led by director of IT and operations Keith Feeny, will shortly begin a three-to-five-year IT strategy review that is expected to see a significant further shift towards the cloud as the firm also looks towards a digital mailroom and more choice over its mobile devices.
Feeny and his team at the top 40 firm will start to look at a new strategy at the end of Q1 in 2016 and are already in discussion with a number of suppliers to work out how to move forward.

Feeny told Legal IT Insider: “We’re looking at a three-to-five-year strategy for IT. I can’t see that we won’t seek to put a lot of our infrastructure in the cloud. “My own view is why would you want to continue in the capital expenditure cycle? We will hopefully move away from capital expenditure but I can’t say that cloud is the only way, we may have to have some applications on premise.”

Feeny added: “We are already talking about our document management system with iManage and our suppliers to work out what the solution is. For us one of the drivers is decreasing costs. We will probably look around but predominantly we will say ‘let’s see what iManage can do’ and if that’s not appropriate we will be speaking to others.”

iManage is now available as an on-premises installed product, a hybrid cloud service or in public clouds including Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

Hill Dickinson, which uses systems including Aderant Expert and BigHand, the latter of which now offers a cloud-based solution, currently has a private cloud hosted externally with a secondary data centre hosted in its Liverpool office.

However, this year it signed up to slicedbread’s adaptive case management solution sharedo, much of which is based on the Microsoft Azure cloud computing platform, which will shortly be rolled out across its insurance and health departments.

Feeny is looking at using the sharedo portal for other applications such as a digital mailroom. He said: “Once we have a digital mailroom it will go across the board and be integrated into our DMS and Outlook, so there could be a single portal into the majority of the systems – that is one of our strategic goals. We would hope to have something in place within 2016.”

Other initiatives include a ‘paper-lite’ strategy that will be progressed in 2016 and will see Hill Dickinson look closely at FollowMe Printing, as well as agile working each time a lease comes up for renewal as part of its estates strategy.

The IT strategy review comes as Hill Dickinson is midway through discussions with a number of mobility management providers to enable its feeearners to choose their own mobile device.

Feeny said: “Gen Z want their own iPad and iPhone and we are working towards it, towards allowing people to pick their own mobile device and we will provide the infrastructure and security. We are starting to implement the solution in the next three to six months. “We have 450 Blackberrys that are all firm provided and we’re not on BES12, we’re still on BES5, so we would have to do something in any event. It makes sense to give people a choice,” he added.

This article was first published in our latest newsletter.