One of New Zealand's leading commercial law firms Simpson Grierson has today reported that it has completed one of the most successful firm-wide IT implementations it has ever undertaken. ken. The firm completed the roll out of the Bighand digital dictation workflow system during early 2009, with the software now with 220 lawyers and 90 secretaries and having already delivered significant benefits. Full return-on-investment has been projected to be reached well within 12-months of the original start date of the implementation. Simpson Grierson initially ran a head-to-head pilot between the Winscribe and Bighand DDS products.
 
The firm's IS director Valerie Foggn commented “Aside from lost or wiped tapes, one of the main problems with our old analogue-based system was that we couldn’t see the workload pipeline or manage our resources very effectively. Whether a tape had one or 15 client documents on it was a mystery, and the urgency of each doc was impossible to judge against other client files.  As a result we had to operate with more resources than we perhaps ultimately needed in order to account for peaks of work, and we also relied too heavily on temporary cover. We are only just approaching six months of usage of the Bighand workflow system and we already no longer use temporary staff and are more productive to boot. Some internally feel it has already paid for itself; and certainly it will have returned the investment well within one year.
 
“Another big positive has been the control on overall output quality. Those earlier in their career often feel they are better off typing themselves, but they often lack the production skills to put everything in a consistent corporate style or format. We have seen younger lawyers now embrace the digital technology, even if they also send a portion of text they have typed themselves, as they can then accompany that file with voice notes or further instructions regarding formatting. The lawyer can then utilize the workflow to track the job or task through the system, and will be automatically notified when it is ‘in progress’ or completed. So the task management aspect comes into play nicely too for those who are not your most prolific users of dictation.”
 
Greg Towers, a Bighand user and partner in the firms Resources & Infrastructure department, added “The use of digital dictation technology has transformed the delivery of typed documents using dictation. More often than not, the finished product is emailed to me within an hour of being sent electronically into the queue. This means that I can review the work while it is still fresh in my mind and get it to the clients faster than ever before. The ability to edit already dictated work and insert additional paragraphs without over-recording what has been dictated is wonderful. The controls are simple and logical. In all it is a great leap forward in service delivery.”