Microsoft says Peppermint has “shifted gears” with CRM online

This article first appeared in the October Orange Rag

Microsoft says that Peppermint Technology has “shifted gears” following the launch earlier this year of a Dynamics 365 public cloud customer relationship management system that is gaining the interest of Microsoft’s larger enterprise clients.

The launch coincides with Peppermint taking out a further £1.5m in borrowing from Scottish Equity Partners as it commits under new management to a major cloud drive. Peppermint on 5 July registered a charge in respect of the borrowing of £1.5m from SEP and speaking to Legal IT Insider, chief sales officer Tony Cox, who joined in May from KCOM Group, said: “What we’re doing in essence is investing in a new product push while continuing to invest heavily in CX and the private cloud, which is what the business was built on.

“What’s really important is that clients will be able to securely consume the benefits of CRM online from the public cloud and put their toe in the public cloud water without having to divest their investment in the private cloud. They can move at their own pace.”

He adds: “We have a longer-term plan to make all of the modules of CX available in the public cloud.” Peppermint in April appointed Gary Young to take over as chief executive officer and in September appointed Nicki Grundy as chief financial officer.

Speaking to Legal IT Insider, Microsoft’s enterprise sales manager Matt O’Callaghan said: “I’ve seen a huge shift in Peppermint between the beginning of this year and now in terms of their capability around CRM online.

“Peppermint were in our eyes a small to medium business partner, but they’ve shifted gears. They have new leadership focussed on looking at the future platform and moving into the cloud space. There has been a lot of feedback about CRM online from traditional customers but a lot of interest from Big Law and Tony [Cox] has been engaged in opportunities around that.”

Whereas CRM has historically suffered from a lack of lawyer input Callaghan says: “It’s a real game changer how Peppermint has developed automatic population via an integration with Office 365 that we’ve not seen before. For law firms it’s tackling a lot of the client challenges and there are very few of our partners that get that message and have an end-to-end proposition at the moment.”

The CRM tool can be accessed from any device and O’ Callaghan says: “The whole thing is that it creates more mobility. With on prem systems you have to go back to your desktop to input information but here you can surface it straight to mobile and you benefit from a lot more auto population.”

While client data is the life blood of law firms, entering it is nonchargeable and O’Callaghan says: “The problem with CRM is that people don’t get paid for it and it’s clunky and not fit for purpose. We have to help fee earners to auto populate more and use their mobiles so they can update it on the fly and that’s what Peppermint’s CRM online does: it takes away from the situation where you make notes and three weeks later input it. With this CRM online you get richer content and more integration with Office 365 that will take it in a new dimension.”

He adds: “Our enterprise clients are expressing an interest because Peppermint are innovating in the direction that law firms want to go: cloud-based CRM is the direction of travel.”

Cox said: “Microsoft has a number of partners generally in the IST space but we’ve become unique as a partner in the legal space where we are delivering Dynamics with real legal expertise so that firms can do things much more quickly. Client-centricity is key, particularly with big law firms, and we are helping to better understand clients and react quicker with better predictability.”