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All systems go – AIM & Iris launch DMS offering & Arlene comes out fighting

We've had the hype, we've had the controversy and we've had Vinasty. Now it's time for work with the IRIS Software Group this week launching IRIS Document Management for Legal based on Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services. This is the first product to be launched following the strategic mergers of Computer Software Group (CS Group) and IRIS.

IRIS Document Management delivers full-featured document and content management to the legal sector and makes its first appearance embedded in the widely used AIM Evolution practice and case management system. Client Connect.Net, an extension to the Document Management solution, opens the way for secure exchange of documents with clients, referrers and collaborating teams and practices.

Commenting on the launch Arlene Adams, managing director IRIS Legal & Compliance, said: “Following the recent mergers of CS Group and IRIS we’re excited to be launching our new IRIS Document Management Solution specifically for lawyers. The ability to launch this document management product, so soon after the merger, demonstrates that we are delivering on our promise to lead and drive innovation for the legal profession using industry standard products. Under the IRIS Group we have been able to pull together resources resulting in us delivering the product ahead of schedule and at a more cost effective rate. I am delighted that our customers are already seeing the value of the combined group.”

Jim Chase, Operations Director, IRIS Legal & Compliance added: “By building our document management solutions around Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services we have tapped in to a class leading document library services that enable us to manage, share and publish documents. The most exciting aspect of this is that we can offer a seamless experience for end-users in their preferred business applications whether practice and case management, SharePoint portal or Microsoft Office. By extending the Microsoft solution to deliver in a Legal context we deliver the best technology without best-of-breed costs or integration headaches.

“Apart from secure and scaleable storage and management, retrieval of documents can be achieved by meta-data and key word searching. Content searching comes as standard with this technology so precedent gems should never be mislaid for long. Robust versioning and audit support a strong compliance regime. Publishing is also catered for.

The nice thing about this technology model is that it offers the potential to deploy the SharePoint document management solution embedded with any IRIS case and practice management product such as Videss Legal Office and Mountain Connected. This reinforces our message of solution choice for or the legal profession.”

IRIS is anticipating an initial release with AIM Evolution during the autumn of 2007 with similar options for Videss and Mountain customers following during 2008.

With her feet now under the table, Arlene Adams has also issued the following statement “the new combined group, encompassing numerous software legal brands such as AIM Evolution, Laserform, Videss Legal Office, Mountain Software, GB Systems & Meridian Law and is the only company in the legal market to offer customers a real breadth and depth of choice. Our size of operation means that we can, and will continue to, cater for a diverse range of market requirements. I am committed to all our existing legal product lines and have no plans to end of life any products in the IRIS legal family.
“On a personal note I have worked in the software market for over 12 years and held many senior positions in both small and large technology companies. Most recently I was CEO for a mobile payments software company and prior to that held a director's position on the UK board of Sun Microsystems. During my career, whether in a small or large company, I have found the most successful strategy for growth is to have delighted customers. I strongly believe that in the software business delivering a quality product and service that meets or better exceeds a customer expectation is the best sales tool you can ever have. Creating and maintaining delighted customers will set the agenda for everything I do within the IRIS Software Group.

I am very excited about the opportunity the new IRIS Software Group  offers to our customers. We are now by far the largest player in the UK legal software market. While some claim size isn't important in this instance it is. Our size allows us to invest heavily in R&D. This will deliver to you our customer continuous new features and innovation that in turn will help make it easier for you to run your business more efficiently. We not only lead the way in R&D but also in service and support. No other company in the market can claim to have over 300 people dedicated to the legal software market. For our customers this means you have an extensive breadth and depth of skills ready to support you. It isn't just about reactive support but equally I place huge emphasis on finding ways in which we can pro-actively prevent issues arising.  This is an area where we really can exploit the collective knowledge and best practice of the IRIS Software Group who can boast to have one of the highest client retention rates in the IT industry. Through excellent product quality and testing together with a range of managed services we are able to deliver mission critical product and support to all our customers.  Finally, when it comes to support it is reassuring to know that the IRIS Software Group have over 20 offices throughout the UK and are committed to developing our people to a level that sets the benchmark in the industry.

The UK legal market is of great strategic importance to the success of the IRIS Software Group. For this reason we are committed to grow and strengthen our market position through delivering excellence in all that we do but also by adding to the legal product family where we can see it will add measurable value to our customers.

I am delighted to be leading the charge of the IRIS Software Group in the UK legal market.  It is my plan in the coming weeks and months to meet as many customers as possible as your feedback is central to any plan I build for the business.”

12 replies on “All systems go – AIM & Iris launch DMS offering & Arlene comes out fighting”

This looks like a few key messages which are:
1. Following their initial assessment IRIS think AIM's product is the leader of the pack – not very clever to announce a product that hasn't actually been released and other members of the group won't have until 2008. Loads of unhappy salesmen in Videss, AIM, Mountain & Laserform then.
2. Rather odd to say in 12 years you've had many positions – message being that like Vin I'm probably only here for the short term. Rumour has it that it was CSG/Vin & not IRIS who carried out the recruitment – read into that what you will.
3. Been said elsewhere but really this thing about 300 people – more like 300 split between completely different companies, cultures and offices + politics + still competing.
4. 20 offices – bet they wish it was only 5 or so!! Can anyone really see Bradford & Hull, 2 London offices about 3 miles apart etc all being there in a few years time. Rumour has it internally that no one can quite work out where to put the main legal management team at the moment – it's all over the place – guess that suits all the existing senior managers and no grief from HQ wherever it's meant to be.

Presumably the company that Arlene Adams refers to is Valista, where she was CEO from 27 February of this year ( to – at the very latest – 28 June (presumably earlier, since there must have been _some_ period between her leaving and the announcement of John Lowry as CEO). Then on July 5, it was announced Arlene was joining IRIS on July 9. How long was she engaged in discussions with IRIS prior to joining?

“I am delighted to be leading the charge of the IRIS Software Group in the UK legal market. It is my plan in the coming weeks and months to meet as many customers as possible as your feedback is central to any plan I build for the business.”
So you mean Vin didn't have one in 18 months? IRIS hadn't got a clue about what they'd just bought in Legal – result everything is back to the drawing board as this statement quiet clearly says they haven't got one!

Does anyone have any thoughts on the implications of the product announcement?
I mean, a number of comments on this blog would suggest that AIM isn't considered to be the strongest company within the group. What will be the impact, on the other companies (Videss, LFM et al) of this product being launched, at least initially, via AIM?
Has it always been an AIM product or is it totally new and has been given to AIM??
Can anyone within the group/AIM comment?

Of course having leases on offices that remain in the previous owners pension funds does not make them quite as easy to shift.
Laserform's London office is (I think) still owned by Barry and I don't suppose he was that generous with the break clauses!
Mountain owned the office in Grantham (don't know about the others) but whether that was sold to CSG and then to Iris I don't know.
Probably not a great time to be in Hull (even if your product has been named as favourite) as apparently the building is leased and runs out soon.

Straightforward really – AIM got a head start on everyone else, Mountain too many probs with .net possibly, Videss different underlying tech so harder to do I would think, Laserform PMS everyone hopes will go away.
AIM developing well before IRIS thing so bit misleading possibly to say as result of IRIS strategy. presented to users months ago. go AIM

I was led to believe that Barry was looking to turn the Laserform office in London back in to flats. Also, doesn't he still own the northern office?

About time AIM got one back on some rather smug people in the rest of the group.

I think this product/technology will certainly be a feather in AIMs cap. The market has been crying out for something based around Sharepoint for too long!

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