Tikit ends support for iManage: what next?

Tikit will by 1 November 2017 no longer support iManage after notifying clients at the tail end of 2016 that its support and maintenance for the leading document management solution will end and clients will need to find an alternative vendor as their contracts expire.
The move, which follows the announcement in June 2016 that Tikit, once iManage’s largest partner, has entered into partnership with iManage rival NetDocuments, has caused a high degree of confusion among law firms and led to newer Tikit rivals such as Ascertus to begin scaling up their capability.
Going forward, Tikit will still look to win iManage sales and implementation work but then hand over to another vendor for support and maintenance. Vendors to have already won support contracts include Ascertus and Tiger Eye, which have each signed two new contracts, with more waiting in the wings. Ascertus in February bolstered its senior team with the hire of senior accounts manager Antony Wells, who was previously at DocsCorp and before that Phoenix Business Solutions, and is still hiring.
Speaking to Legal IT Insider, Tikit’s CEO Katherine Ainley said: “We’re working with each of our iManage clients to work out what the right thing is for each of them. We’ll continue doing iManage sales and implementation as well as other services such as health checks, upgrades and training.
“We will still be providing support for other iManage related partners and other integrations with iManage.” She adds: “We are working closely with iManage and had a good 2016 with many new iManage clients. iManage Work 10 and the new iManage Cloud are very exciting and creating huge interest in the market. Tikit are following a different model. We would do the sales and implementation, ensure the client is live and happy, but not provide the ongoing support and maintenance.”
Firms that have moved away from Tikit since November 2016 include DWF and Ashurst, which have moved to iManage direct for their support.
Amid the confusion, there is a clear perception among many in the DMS market that iManage’s strategy is to swell its coffers by bringing former Tikit business in-house, with one top 50 CTO commenting: “When iManage first bought the business out from HP it was as clear as night follows day that where they are going to get value is a book of business of retained service contracts. Inevitably, they would take back annual maintenance contracts.”
However, Geoff Hornsby, general manager EMEA at iManage told Legal IT Insider: “In the last 12 months, we have signed over 25 new partners. In EMEA, we have traditionally sold the vast majority of our software via our partners and they provide installation and first line support. That has been a very successful and we don’t intend to change this model.”
A big question for Tikit going forward, is whether law firms really will go to one vendor for support and another for sales. Standing in its favour is reputation, bandwidth and existing relationships with clients, with many of its newer competitors only just making a name for themselves in the DMS market.
However, one top 50 CIO, who told Legal IT Insider they now perceive Tikit as a “NetDocuments house” said: “We wouldn’t go to Tikit for sales now,” adding: “Everyone is very unclear as to what is going on.” An IT head at a top 50 firm said: “For BigLaw particularly it is a strange one, Tikit are still presenting a ‘we can help with iManage from a consultancy point of view.’ But it has them in a predicament: for us they have gone from a key supplier to a fringe supplier. Why would we use them for iManage consultancy when they are no longer providing our support (they no longer know our environment, nor are they getting as much product experience)? We’ve had conversations with other key vendors now about why we should still go through Tikit and not direct to them.”
With NetDocuments still yet to secure a DMS win in the UK top 50 and the iManage 10 cloud architecture now online, many iManage clients inevitably question whether Tikit is backing the right horse. However, the top 50 IT head adds: “For small/mid law I think Tikit are playing a canny game. [Development director] Mark Garnish has talked and published about how they see Microsoft Office 365 being key, I think they are positioning themselves as a cloud provider/consultant. Their products are integrating with Office 365, for example Tikit TMS, and the move to NetDocuments underlines this; it allows them to provide a full service or products to smaller firms. This then leverages their parent, BT, in the full service, for telephony, and networks, etc.”
Certainly, diversification is a key part of Tikit’s strategy and Ainley told Legal IT Insider: “We’ve invested a huge amount in our products and we’re confident in those; we’re looking at it in the round and from a portfolio perspective. The year looks good and I’m confident about all our plans looking forward. iManage is a key part but there are other parts to the portfolio.”
Tikit has had a record year for its mid-market legal technology sales, with wins for practice management system P4W and time recording system Carpe Diem as well as Tikit eMarketing v6. (see page 15). However, in the space of a year, it will have gone from earning a seven-figure sum in iManage support annuities, developed over 15 years, to zero. The real question is how long it will take to fill the gap.
This article first appeared in the March Legal IT Insider, click here to sign up for a free monthly copy: http://legaltechnology.com//latest-newsletter/