Webinar replay: What’s hot – and not in 2021 with Peppermint Technology, Birketts & Microsoft

On 18 November we hosted an excellent discussion between Peppermint Technology’s CTO Mike Walker; UK top 100 firm Birkett’s director of technology and innovation Tom Wagstaff; and Microsoft’s business applications director Jamie Hall. The topic? What’s hot and not in 2021. Which meant taking a deep dive into how firms are leveraging Microsoft Teams and the trend towards a Microsoft-centric strategy. 


Birkett’s journey to M365 started in Q3 of 2020, after they asked themselves where they need to be and what their technology needs to look like in order to support their fast-growing business. They realised they needed a clear strategy to present to the board and Wagstaff said: “I can’t over emphasise the importance of that exercise.” They reached out to other law firms and consultants to inform the conversation and assist the cost analysis. According to Wagstaff, it was important that they consider their strategy across a whole range of aspects – what does it do for client experience? What is the business risk of doing it or not doing it?  


Wagstaff refers to key strategic deliverables as ‘lollipops’ – a way to measure where Birketts is on its 365 and Peppermint journey. They have broken the current portion of the journey into 10 bite size modules including getting onto Exchange Online; the Intune experience for mobile; and leveraging the security and authenticator piece. Until lollipop five, all of these changes happened behind the scenes. 


Lollipop five was moving lock stock from WebEx to Teams. The firm is now in phases six, seven, eight and beyond. They are interested in harnessing SharePoint for intranet but also how far the dictation experience goes; what the lawyers can get out of the roadmap; and what big wins they can start to deliver.  


Peppermint is built on Microsoft and feeds into the same ecosystem, but from a lawyer-experience perspective, the value is around engagement – not having to switch between applications and seeing their information natively in Teams or Outlook. Talking about the value of being able to leverage the Microsoft stack Walker pointed out that lawyers today spend most of their time in Teams and Outlook and said: “Where I see case and matter management is living where the lawyer wants to live. Most of the applications to date live in isolated silos working independently of one another so you have a lot of silos but also friction points.” 


For Birketts, given its strategy of aligning itself with Microsoft 365, Peppermint became a really obvious choice for its case management system. Birketts has five or six volume practices and Wagstaff wanted to find a case management solution that fitted its strategy and the workflow requirements of those teams. The implementation is well under way.  


Covid has dramatically changed the way that Birketts interacts with clients, and it is using Teams heavily to call clients. “There is real added value in seeing who you are talking too,” said Wagstaff. Lawyers are now using screen sharing functionality to present data visualisations to clients.”


As pointed out by Hall, firms with M365 have capacity to access Dynamics without a license and Microsoft’s big argument for adoption is that firms ought to be leveraging their existing tech stack. Hall said: “The power of Teams is that it is a system of record; a system of innovation; and then finally a system of differentiation – how do we extend it with our low code power apps? That’s what we’re trying to drive, real efficiency.”

Watch the rest of the webinar, including where Birketts is with Teams v HighQ, and to hear the many questions asked of our panel here.