This comment has already been posted under the IRIS strategy posting however in cse you missed it, here it is again. It was posted by Dave Grattage, the chair of ACUA (and the Finance & IT Director of Lanyon Bowdler)…

“I would like to add my thoughts on the recent Iris announcement and provide a response to some of the other comments.

“First of all let me nail my colours to the mast and declare my
interest. I am currently the Chairman of ACUA, the INDEPENDENT Aim
Computer Users Association, which means that sometimes I am biased
towards Aim/Iris and sometimes biased against them, but I have spend
the last 15 years using the Aim product. These are only my personal
views and may not necessarily reflect the views of other committee
members.

“Evolution has evolved though perhaps not in the way anyone
expected. There’s no point moaning about it because here we are.
Charles Christian predicted there will be a consolidation in the legal
software marketplace and so this is the effect. Other legal firms
are/will be going through the same uncertainty as their “independent”
provider is either swallowed up or takes on another provider. Either
way in the short term users lose out as too much management time is
spent on the merger rather than the product. We have clearly seen this
to our cost with the CS Group takeover of Aim.

“There has been a lot of criticism of Iris and its roadmaps, but
who really are the bad guys? CS Group bought several providers,
increased their individual shareholder values and then sold to Iris.
I’m not convinced Iris are bad, although their due diligence process
must be in need of a review! However, Iris need to prove themselves to
the user base, especially Aim users who are sacrificing their product
for the Videss one and one thing we have in common is loyalty to Aim,
albeit in hindsight, naïve loyalty!

“There have been a few comments about firms losing their investment
in Evolution. I do not accept this, as investment should always be in
staff and processes rather than software. Using an analogy if you can
drive a Ford Mondeo you can drive a BMW 5 series although a thorough
test drive is always recommended before purchase!

“Previous commentators have suggested that as Iris is owned by US
private capital firms who want a high rate of return on their
investment; prices will increase and customer service decrease. Well if
this was a model for success we would have all suggested it to our
Partners years ago. No, the best model of returning a high Roi is
increasing customer value by working with them to increase efficiency
and so profitability; then increase your prices.

“My advice to Aim users and other firms who find themselves in this
situation is to set out clearly what you want from a pms and its
provider. Then clinically review the marketplace to see who can best
provide that in the most cost effective way. After all you have at
least two years to evaluate the marketplace before you start to plan
your move; but whether you should take this long is a matter for your
own firm.

“Beware of believing grass is greener on the other side, as it
rarely is and other providers’ assurances they can transfer all data
seamlessly to their system; they can’t. To those who have seen and read
the Iris’s vision and strategy but now want to see the details along
with an honest independent view, I urge you to come to the ACUA’s event
on May 13th in Coventry; details of which can be found at
www.acua.co.uk You don’t have to be a member of the association to
attend but it is cheaper if you are, and if you want to come please
email Penny Hamlin on secretary.acua@btinternet.com