BigHand’s acquisition of business intelligence and pricing solutions provider DW Reporting in April has been received well by clients, albeit one rival suggests they will struggle to integrate the offering.

DWR, which has two products: financial BI solution Quantum; and matter pricing, budgeting and tracking solution Evaluate, was immediately rebranded as BigHand. DWR Founder Dan Wales will continue as commercial product director.

BigHand is best known for its dictation and speech recognition software, inevitably raising questions over the synergy of the deal. However, reacting to news of the acquisition on the website, Stuart Chapman, IT applications manager at Osborne Clarke said: “Exciting news, both in terms of the broadening of BigHand’s capabilities around the analytics piece but also for the continued enhancement of DWR’s product range through the additional investment it will no doubt receive. Looking forward to working with the combined team!”

Clyde & Co’s global chief information officer, Chris White, said: “This looks like an interesting and exciting acquisition. In my experience both firms offer great technology that add real value. Also, this will help with my quest to consolidate the number of suppliers I work with!”

The ambition at BigHand is to extend its analytics offering and BigHand’s managing director for product strategy & innovation, James Kippenberger, told us at the time the acquisition was announced: “Dan’s two main products are Quantum and Evaluate and one reason we first started chatting to him was because with BigHand Now, we’re lifting a lid for law firms on how much they spend on back office support services. We are already providing information on the genuine cost of providing legal work and insights into the cost of the support service. DW Reporting does the same for the fee-earner so for the first time law firms will have a unique insight into the cost of delivering work.

“With the pressure of fixed fees, law firms need to work out how to turn revenue into profit and they can’t do that with just half the cost equation. If we bring them together and say, ‘this is the cost of delivering legal services and our pricing tool can help you make a sensible margin’ then firms are in a much better position than a few years ago.”

However, one rival said: “This is a whole new world for BigHand, and in the US we don’t see them doing that level of strategic engagement with clients. “How would you operationalise this – how do you take people selling digital dictation and go to the CFO and sell finance? It takes a lot of work to do that.”

This story first appeared in the April Orange Rag – click here to sign up for your free monthly newsletter: