Saffery Champness selects NetDocuments after five-way competitive pitch

In its biggest UK accounting win to date, top 20 accounting firm Saffery Champness has selected NetDocuments after a competitive pitch process involving five document management systems, with email management cited as a key reason for the selection over and above specialist accounting systems, we can reveal.
Saffery Champness looked at accounting systems M-Files; CCH Document Management from Wolters Kluwer; and Virtual Cabinet; as well as iManage and NetDocuments for its inaugural DMS.
The selection process, which was already running when Julie Berry joined from RPC as IT partner in 2018, was assisted by professional services consultancy 3Kites, who helped with the requirements gathering process before an RFP was issued.
The London-headquartered accountant, which is the 12th largest in the UK, was only looking for a cloud solution and narrowed the pitch down to iManage Work 10.2 and NetDocuments and Berry told us: “We were adamant that we wanted cloud, not on premises.”
Berry and the team recently took up references for iManage and NetDocuments and says: “We decided based on a variety of things. We definitely took into consideration that we’re UK mainland: we haven’t got international as one of our challenges and we were adamant that we just wanted cloud. Some international firms are challenged jurisdictionally and from a client point of view need blended cloud and on prem, but we didn’t face that.
“From a work group point of view, we felt that the NetDocuments interface was better than iManage – much more intuitive and the other thing was that NetDocuments’ client extranet functionality has more to it, which is not surprising because they hired a couple of guys from HighQ.
“The other thing was that we were uncomfortable that iManage is still using IDOL. I know that’s changing in due course but as much as they say they are in the cloud; a change is a change. Because we are a new DMS user, we didn’t want to introduce something and then in five minutes our people are facing changes.”
While many people we’ve spoken to are unclear about the status of IDOL, it is worth noting that in 10.2 you now have the option to use IDOL or the RAVN search engine, with clients already live on the latter.
Saffery Champness, which has over 700 employees and a turnover of £78.2 according to Accountancy Age, will be NetDocuments largest accounting client to date. Asked why the firm went for a ‘legal’ DM rather than a dedicated accounting one, Berry said: “The biggest area for us to address internally is email management and that was a big part of the requirement, but the specialist accounting DM systems don’t deal with that.”
Saffery Champness and the NetDocuments team are currently in final pricing and contract negotiations.
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