Bird & Bird is moving its client relationship management system into the cloud with OnePlace, a client intelligence solution based on the Salesforce platform, as it also takes steps to become more agile, including making a final decision on whether to roll out Surface Pros to fee-earners.

The top 20 law firm, led by IT director Karen Jacks, selected OnePlace after an extensive pitch process and the firm is just beginning to migrate across to the new platform.

OnePlace, which has offices in Sydney and Los Angeles, integrates with firms’ internal systems including exchange, time and billing, event management tools, human resources systems and fee-earners own calendars. It gives users a centralised view of clients and contacts, including forthcoming events, meetings, publications, matters and tenders.

OnePlace uses a series of native apps for IOS, Android, BlackBerry or Windows and users can look up contact details and make notes on their phone or tablet. OnePlace Proposal Builder enables them to build and export team profiles with information poplulated from the time and billing system, as well as draft and track tenders.

However, the big selling point for Bird & Bird was that OnePlace customers have access to the Salesforce community and AppExchange, where they can select add-on apps. Integrations include Intapp TimeBuilder, NetDocuments and email marketing tools Concep and MailChimp.

Jacks said: “We did a proof of concept in our Brussels office last year and really liked the product. It’s the community and AppExchange we like.”

The firm, which has entirely integrated technology throughout its 28 offices across Europe, Asia and the Middle East, is staggering the transfer of its data to the new solution, starting with mailing lists and events. “Right now it’s about getting onto the platform and getting the data cleaned up and embedded. It will be a long programme,” said Jacks.

The move comes as Jacks and her team help pave the way for Bird & Bird’s move to new, more agile UK premises at 12-14 Fetter Lane later this year, including installing Cisco Jabber, which allows fee-earners to access presence, instant messaging, video, voice messaging, desktop sharing and conferencing from anywhere. It is currently being rolled out in the UK with a view to rolling it out across Asia Pacific and the rest of Europe after that.

The 1032-lawyer firm recently introduced a new policy to encourage staff – male or female – to work more flexibly. Jacks said: “You leave the office but you don’t leave the job – you just flex your job around what needs to be done.” Bird & Bird’s new premises will see the firm ditch the two-person office in favour of a more accessible two-person pod. This has necessitated more mobility in telephony and more break out rooms.

Jacks said: “We’re getting people to move around and make it easier for people to work together – it’s a better use of floor space. “We’re not going completely agile – staff will still have a ‘home desk.’ But it will be easier to get up and sit down somewhere else.” She adds: “The thing we have had to overcome is that spending time on a speakerphone won’t work in shared space. I can’t have whole floor disturbed and listening in but then I can’t tell the client I need to ring off to go to a breakout room. So we’re choosing WiFi and headsets cleverly so you can move while on the phone and patch people in.”

This drive towards agility means that Bird & Bird is also currently deciding on whether to roll out Surface Pros to its fee-earners, where it is in the final stages of making a decision.

“Our 11th floor will be entirely social space – there’s a café, huddle booth seating, and there’s been a big investment in how it will look – making it a nice space to socialise in and eat in or have a coffee chat. If we want people to embrace it need to give them the technology to do that,” Jacks said.