Tikit’s CEO Katherine Ainley talks NetDocuments and cloud strategy

In the wake of yesterday’s (6 June) news that Tikit has selected NetDocuments as its preferred strategic document management supplier, Tikit’s CEO Katherine Ainley here sets out the pair’s brief history; what the evolving partnership means to Tikit, its clients and prospects; and provides clarity on Tikit’s long term cloud strategy.

What is your history with NetDocuments?

About a year ago on 22nd of June, Tikit first announced our worldwide partnership agreement with NetDocuments, the global native cloud-based document and email management service provider for law and professional service firms. Our partnership policy has always been about bringing the best solutions to the market to help our clients, whatever their size or geography, run their businesses.  We felt at the time, and even more so now, that NetDocuments’ unique value proposition, accelerating market and mind share as well as impressive user adoption and overall satisfaction in the market place, would appeal to Tikit clients with cloud strategies as well as those looking at future-focused DMS options that might best position them for the cloud. In line with our vision to deliver world-class document and matter life cycle management to the legal and professional services sector, and do so with ‘future-proof’ technology, we just announced that NetDocuments will be Tikit’s preferred strategic Document Management Solution (DMS) supplier for all new clients.

What does the evolving partnership mean? To Tikit? To clients and prospects?

This new phase of our partnership with NetDocuments will help clearly articulate Tikit’s vision and strategic execution of its global cloud strategy as it relates to DMS. Since becoming the first Global NetDocuments partner, Tikit has continued to be impressed by the platform’s deep level of security, highly sophisticated and advanced cloud technology, and fantastic user experience.

We’ve completed and are part way through a number of successful NetDocuments implementations globally this year and both our clients and our implementation teams have been thrilled with the product, how it works and how simple it is to use and install. NetDocuments clients see high levels of user adoption, and NetDocuments’ significant levels of investment behind their cloud-first strategy continue to impress.

The value that NetDocuments provide to firms goes far beyond a new DMS transaction. In countless conversations with NetDocuments users and firm leaders, we hear the same thing time and time again … “NetDocuments addresses so many of our issues”. This runs the gamut from document and broader cloud security and governance to collaboration, DMS user adoption, mobility, business continuity and  compliance. NetDocuments is valued for providing solutions and that is precisely what Tikit delivers its clients. Together with a partner like NetDocuments, we can grab our clients and prospective firms by the hand and lead them on their cloud-first, cloud hybrid or on-premise-to-cloud transition journey.

Increasing our commitment to NetDocuments and what they deliver our clients also helps us better communicate the overarching value of cloud computing to the rest of the firm – beyond IT that has long understood the strategic value of the cloud.

What is Tikit’s long term cloud strategy?

Tikit aims to be the provider of choice for law firms and other PSOs focused on specialist solutions be they on premise or cloud-based. This strategy is all part of our journey to move towards the cloud as evidenced by our growing cloud portfolio, both our own IP, as well as via strategic partnerships such as NetDocuments. As our cloud strategy evolves, dovetailing nicely with the maturity and gaining market share of the leading NetDocuments cloud DMS, we are best positioned to extend our expertise and best practices to our clients and prospective firms looking to move to the cloud.

Our clients understand that a fully integrated mobile working environment is critical to law firms’ future success, with cloud-based solutions at the heart of that strategy for the vast majority. Tikit has, over the past two years, developed a clear strategy and invested heavily in the development of its own solutions and in its selection of strategic partners. Tikit’s release of Carpe Diem in the cloud with its single, device-independent HTML5 interface, partnering with NetDocuments for cloud-based document management and recent partnerships with other cloud-first providers such as Introhive and Legal Publish all support our vision for the law firm of the future.

How do you differentiate between providing products versus offering custom solutions?

Tikit, as part of BT Group, is a leading provider of innovative and specialist technology to the Legal and Professional services sector with over 1,000 law firm clients globally. While Tikit develops its own software including Partner for Windows, Carpe Diem, Template Management System and eMarketing we complement our solution set through long-standing partner relationships with other top best-of-breed providers to create innovative and complete solutions for our clients. For us, it is about bringing together solutions as opposed to selling single products; providing solutions which solve unique problems and challenges for our target markets; and effectively leveraging our specialist legal domain expertise. Tikit, better than any other technology supplier, understands the specific needs of our law firm clients and their unique challenges around document production and matter management; time recording and management ; CRM and eMarketing, and practice management systems, especially in the European mid-market.

What cloud-related trends are you observing with the most interest?

As more and more applications move to the cloud, a cloud-first strategy becomes an increasingly realistic, interesting enterprise option and is even starting to become a legitimate trend in the legal market.  Cloud-first is a fairly self-explanatory business strategy built around the original goal of reducing IT costs by leveraging the benefits of using shared infrastructure and paying only for resources consumed. However, the business case for using cloud services is evolving from the initial focus on cost justification to a growing recognition of the dramatic role that the cloud can play in supporting the transformation to more agile, innovative business models. As evidenced by NetDocuments’ massive market share ramp-up, more global law firms are looking at ‘cloud first’ and in some geographies like Australia we are seeing a number of examples of cloud-only IT strategies. Beyond legal, look no further than Microsoft and its impressive revenue gains in Office 365 and its Azure cloud infrastructure.

Tikit’s position on cloud first is straightforward. Based on our global footprint and increasing cloud portfolio, we are able to advise and partner with any cloud forward minded firm but will never alienate or neglect those that are successfully running on premise or looking at a smaller bite size cloud approach.

What does ‘going to the cloud’ mean to your clients? How are you helping?

The conversation about cloud comes down to strategically how you want to run your IT Department and where you want to put your resources.  What control do you want? Do you want the expertise internally? How will you handle security? What is the core competence you want to focus on and what decision makes the most sense to your firm based on what your strategic IT and firm business ambitions are. The IT function is becoming much more around business change and adoption and direction versus the actual day-to-day operations. This especially holds true for global firms and a common strategic IT approach regardless of geography or HQ. It’s not an all or nothing proposition … not cloud first or bust.

What does being global mean to your ability to deliver on behalf of clients? How does the NetDocuments partnership play into this?

As our client conversations become more complex based on their unique challenges and needs around documents, timekeeping, marketing and practice management, we are able to assert our specialist technology knowledge and solution portfolio to address these needs.

As we have seen by engaging with our clients and the likes of NetDocuments, making a ‘cloud DMS’ decision is far from a simple ‘product purchase and implementation’ project. Such a switch forces firms to revisit a variety of operational and business processes and re-evaluate existing workflows as well as security protocols and information governance standards.  Due to Tikit’s depth and breadth of solutions and specialist legal expertise, we can guide firms in their long term cloud journey.

Our global footprint also helps us learn from what firms are doing in different parts of the world and how other geographies might be able to learn from and implement related best practices. Take for example Australia, where an ‘all or nothing’ cloud approach is much more commonplace than in other regions compared to Europe or North America where traditionally the move to the cloud has been tempered by firm size, resources, client demands, security concerns and the (in)ability to easily migrate off on-premise systems. Clearly, NetDocuments’ engaging value proposition around cloud-based document and email management has lifted many of these barriers, independent of jurisdiction.