Elite Technology has notified its workforce that it is to cut 20% of its staff and exit non-core markets, including China, India, Mexico, Poland and Singapore, we have learned.
In an email sent to staff on Wednesday 18th and seen by Legal IT Insider, Elite’s CEO Mark Dorman, who joined the US-headquartered practice management vendor this summer, shortly after its acquisition from Thomson Reuters by TPG, said that the decision had been made after a “comprehensive evaluation” of the business.
“As we fully prepare to exit Thomson Reuters at the end of this year, we’re reshaping Elite into a leading SaaS business that brings innovative solutions to the world’s most successful law firms,” Dorman said. “This strategic shift will center us in a few core markets and enable us to build best-in-class legal tech solutions that help our customers to be more competitive, profitable and efficient.”
That ambition will, he told staff, necessitate reducing costs, saying in the email: “That’s why we decided to restructure parts of our organisation, aligning our global footprint around a few core hubs and exiting non-core markets, including China, India, Mexico Poland and Singapore. As a result we are reducing the employee base.”
Some staff will leave Elite soon, others will continue to work with Elite through outsourcing partners, and there are some who will remain on for some time to facilitate a smooth transition and in compliance with local regulations.
Asked by Legal IT Insider if the cuts speak to any financial difficulty, Dorman said: “Not at all. It’s how we think about the strategy and structure so that we’re better organised to drive our transition as a SaaS provider in legal tech. Now we’re independent, we get to focus on that and continue to innovate in order to set ourselves up for longer term success. That’s the driver.”
Elite has inherited offices that made sense as an organisation to Thomson Reuters but not Elite’s needs, and Dorman said: “Our focus is on the core markets where we can best serve our customers from. They are the US, Canada, UK, Australia, and our tech hubs in the Philippines and Costa Rica. What we’re really focused on is making sure that we have the right global footprint to make sure we can service our customers in the best way going forward.”
We’re told that TPG was not involved in the decision making process.
The cost of managing customers who are on premises while continuing to develop its cloud offering is a factor, and Dorman said: “Obviously we have taken a lot of time and care to think about how we manage our existing customer base, a vast amount of which are on premises. We know our future innovation is being a SaaS provider and so, to manage the transition from one to the other, we need to be thoughtful about investing in the right place and have people in the right place in order to support our customers. We have spent a lot of time with our customers talking about how to support them and how to take our place in the broader ecosystem.”
However one insider told us: “Several application consultants and data conversion consultants have been let go. It takes years and years to replace that institutional knowledge.” This will be a blow to Elite staff who hoped that being independent of Thomson Reuters would bring to an end years of restructuring.
In terms of how the leadership team reached the decision to cut 20%, Dorman said: “We think it’s the right thing for us to do. It’s a tough decision and it’s not done lightly. We take it very seriously and think about the people impact but this is about how we configure the business in the right way as we transform.”
Dorman would not be drawn on the number of people affected or whether they are only located only in the sites being closed down.
In terms of ensuring that customers are not affected in the regions that Elite is exiting, Dorman said: “We have taken that really seriously and made sure that there is minimal to no impact on our customers. We have spoken to them about how we are reconfiguring and just because we don’t have an employee in a given country doesn’t mean that we can’t support that country. The way we are configuring allows us to support our customers in all countries.”
Elite sent us a media statement saying:
“As we continue to shape Elite into a leading SaaS business, we have made the decision to restructure our organization to better position the company to serve our customers and execute on growth opportunities in today’s evolving environment. We believe these changes will allow us to innovate faster and more effectively as we aim to provide our customers with solutions, services, and implementations that make their businesses more competitive, profitable, and efficient.
“As part of this, sadly we have had to make some difficult decisions regarding our team. The colleagues affected are being provided extensive transition support, and being treated with dignity and respect.”
Here is the wording of the email from Dorman in full.
I am reaching out to share some important information directly with you. We have made the difficult decision to reduce the size of the Elite workforce, affecting approximately 20% of our team. All colleagues whose roles have been impacted were notified.
This decision was not made lightly and only after a comprehensive evaluation of our business. With such a significant development impacting many of our highly valued colleagues, I want to provide some background on how we arrived here.
As we fully prepare to exit Thomson Reuters at the end of this year, we’re reshaping Elite into a leading SaaS business that brings innovative solutions to the world’s most successful law firms. This strategic shift will center us in a few core markets and enable us to build best-in-class legal tech solutions that help our customers to be more competitive, profitable and efficient.
To realize that ambition, we must enhance customer value, bring greater innovation to our products, create a more focused organisation, and, ultimately, make decisions to reduce costs in order to continue investing in the business and our people.
That’s why we decided to restructure parts of our organisation, aligning our global footprint around a few core hubs and exiting non-core markets, including China, India, Mexico Poland and Singapore. As a result we are reducing the employee base.
Some of our impacted colleagues will leave Elite soon, others will continue to work with us through outsourcing partners, while others will remain on for some time to facilitate a smooth transition and in compliance with local regulations. We sincerely thank these colleagues for their valuable contributions to our business and will fully support them through this transition. Please know this decision is in no way a reflection of the performance of those impacted.
I recognise that this is a lot to take in, yet as tough as these decisions are, they are essential to position Elite for the future. Restructuring the organisation is vital to achieving our vision of becoming a leading SaaS business.
To those departing Elite, I want to reiterate on behalf of the leadership team how grateful we are for your contributions to the organisation and that we will do everything we can to help you transition smoothly to your next opportunity. To those of you staying, you will receive a calendar invitation for a meeting tomorrow where we’ll share context about today’s announcement and discuss our path forward. We will stay in close communication in the days and weeks ahead so each team member understands what is next for their role at Elite.