Workshare throws down the gauntlet – DocsCorp responds

DocsCorp’s president and co-founder, Dean Sappey, has responded to our article below, which was in the April newsletter, and he’s not pulling his punches.

Workshare has thrown the gauntlet down to its competitors, saying that in its latest product release it won’t be beaten on speed or accuracy, with the time it takes to scan and clean a document down by as much as 65%.

The new release, which also sees improvements to Workshare’s Word Table comparison and changes to its licensing arrangements, comes after Workshare went ‘back to basics’ six months ago, using an in-depth customer research program to reconnect with what its users want, resulting in a release of features it refers to as ‘beautiful basics.’

The London-headquartered company, which is the market leader but has been losing significant ground to DocsCorp, has also begun publishing its roadmap on its website in a bid to achieve complete transparency.

Speaking to Legal IT Insider: CTO and Workshare co-founder Barrie Hadfield said: “Ten to fifteen years ago we would go to law firms and say ‘give us a floppy disk of your hardest documents’ and if we were successful they would buy the software and if not we would take them away to fix the problem until we could say we can do it perfectly. There was an absolute focus on being perfect. We’ve gone back to that.”

With 90% of customers now on Workshare 9, its customer research found that clients don’t care about the product, just what it does. Hadfield said: “They don’t care about dialogue, they press a button and hope the results come out. What matters most is accuracy and performance. If they’re staring at a computer screen and nothing’s happening they’ll get pissed off.”

Going forward fee-earners who have no involvement in licensing the software will also no longer see a dialogue box telling them that the license will expire. No-one will see those messages, whether they’ve paid or not,” says Hadfield.

The roadmap, which Workshare has only recently begun publishing on its website, means everyone from customers to competition can see it. “If you pursue the idea that your customers are partners you need to be transparent,” says Hadfield.

Consumers will be able to view and comment on the features in progress and those being researched, with the company encouraging interaction. The customer feedback programme included engagement with end users from secretaries to partners and Hadfield says: “We didn’t want to say ‘what do you think about us’ but asked what they are trying to accomplish. The questions were more about them and their work so we could learn from them.

“Some just don’t want to be late from work. Some don’t want software to make them feel stupid. Accuracy came up straight away: if the results aren’t perfect, if there’s a space where there shouldn’t be or a paragraph in the wrong font, they lose faith.

“We want to lay the gauntlet down, we won’t be beaten on accuracy or speed. We challenge all our competitors – let’s do an external review.”

Sappey contacted Legal IT Insider to say: 

“We are delighted that Workshare is now recognising DocsCorp’s significant technology advances in document comparison and metadata cleaning and we see it as a great compliment that they recognise they needed to improve their products – their clients have been saying this for years.   

“We see Workshare’s recognition of DocsCorp as a reward for our many years of hard work and investment.  Whilst Workshare might say they have focused this time on the speed and accuracy of their product, this is only just one reason that hundreds of firms have switched from Workshare to compareDocs. In the UK alone, now over 50% of the Top 100 law firms have moved to compareDocs, and it’s a similar stat in USA and APAC. It is quality of service over a long period of time, product reliability, commitment to a long term technology strategy (and not changing direction every year), flexible pricing, and providing a broad range of products outside of document comparison (such as pdfDocs and contentCrawler).  

“I won’t comment on Workshare’s “alternative fact” claim of having 98% of law firms using their technology. DocsCorp has also had 14 years of continued growth, profitability and consistency in its management team meaning DocsCorp is the obvious choice as a technology vendor now, and as technologies move to the cloud.”

Workshare has been given an opportunity to respond.