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Elite, Pilgrim and Morisons – the latest

As some readers will have spotted, we have pulled the content of the original Pilgrim win at Morisons story because the original press release had not gone through the proper approval channels and this was causing ructions. The facts however remain the same – Morisons are moving off Elite Enterprise and on to Pilgrim Lawsoft. And that, as far as we were concerned, was it – PR screw-ups happen all the time.

Then, a few minutes ago, we received this email from Elite…

I was disappointed to see your recent posting on the Morisons’ procurement, and I see that the offending article has now been removed.  The headline, however, which is the most damaging aspect of the posting, remains.
I assume the copy came from Pilgrim, and the “killer” headline is your own, but the story really does paint an inaccurate picture.  We have had amicable discussions with Morisons throughout their selection process; they have made a commercial decision, which we understand and accept; and the long-standing and friendly relationship between our two firms remains intact.  Your posting implies that 3E and Lawsoft were pitted against each other, and the Pilgrim system deemed to be superior, which is ludicrous.  Morisons already operated Pilgrim in one of their offices (following a merger), and this is merely an extended roll-out.  Please consider doing the decent thing: remove the headline, and admit to the inaccuracies.  
Simon Phelan

to which we replied – in our usual temperate fashion…


I'm getting so pissed off with Elite whingeing whenever anything doesn't go their way but otherwise being totally un-proactive in the area of press relations. If you got off your arses – as others vendors do – and say 'yes this is happening but here's the background story' – which is what, for example, David Thorpe did with the Winkworth Sherwood swap-out, then these issues would never arise in the first place. As for the inaccuracies, are Morisons still staying with Enterprise? Are they moving to 3E?


36 replies on “Elite, Pilgrim and Morisons – the latest”

“in our usual temperate fashion”
surely a typo and should have said “template fashion” ?

The kind and gentle exchange between peers reminds me of the kind and gentle exchange between performer Tim Minchin and Guardian reviewer Phil Daoust.

or the rest of the world and Jan Moir
or the Twitterverse and Peter Carter-Ruck

Why is this board so anti-Elite; is there some commercial agreement with Aderant or other competitors that the rag benefits from? Surely posting emails, that were clearly intended as private, for all to see rubbishes the neutrality of the site?

This site isn't anti-Elite (in fact if you look thru the archives you'll see we've had comments in the past that we are too pro-Elite). This site isn't anti any vendor.
No we don't take back-handers. In fact one of the issues we face is that in the past some publications & sites (all now out of business) have worked on an advertorial basis (ie you spend money with us & we'll not only write nice things about you but also won't publish any stories about your competitors that might upset you) – and this is why we now see some vendors throwing their toys out of their prams when they read something they don't like. We are independent and we are vendor neutral. Live with it – CC

I've been annoyed/put out by previous posts on the 'rag as have many others I'm sure but I still look on blogs such as this as amusing asides with some interesting news thrown in for good measure, the comments which ensue can turn an unsavoury item into a win-win piece so maybe let the any publicity adage work it's magic.
That said I do have a few qualms about “private” emails on public show.

“why we now see some vendors throwing their toys out of their prams when they read something they don't like.”
Or, given the fact that both the customer and the client (according to this site) begged and pleaded for the story to be pulled, can it be assumed that some of the details were wrong? Hardly a toys and prams situation surely?

Who knows what the full story is?
I would just say – and this is NOT case here – but there is an increasing trend among outgoing vendors to threaten non-cooperation with data transfers & support etc if the firm mentions their name – nevermind why they are swapping out the incumbent system – when the incoming vendor wants to issue a press release talking about the win.
Why law firms put up with this I don't know. Particularly as we've got the Insider 250 chart + 15 years of Insider archives + paper files going back till 1979 so we can usually dig out who the incumbent vendor is anyway. Go figure. – CC

Still, doesn't excuse the fact you've posted an email chain rather than replied to a posting, i would suggest that's bad form..

Whatever happened to vendor ethics and maturity? Do we all just pretend to be decent, adult-minded and honest individuals when we are with prospects and clients, only to show our true colours under the cloak of anonymity (and yes, I will use that too, but only to prevent the predictable howls of derision)? Should there be any clients/prospects left out there who find the Rag is of value, what impression of us notable industry 'professionals' do you think they gain reading diatribes like this? And then, no doubt, we will claim that we, as vendors, are treated as second class citizens by the clients. Cause and effect maybe?
It's actually rather depressing. The Rag used to carry some reasonably intellectual debate between vendors/clients with the occasional edgy comment thrown in. I am afraid it has evolved into something much sadder.

This sounds to me like it was an attractive option to add on some extra seats from Pilgrim verses a wholesale upgrade of Elite, this sort of thing happens, the law firm made a decsion based on the situation at hand.
It does not mean one vendor is better than the other, or a product is superior, or inferior, it simply means this was what the customer belived to be their best option.
Alls fair in love and war, you can't win em all.

The impression I get is that the recession is now really, really biting in supplier land as it is in law firm land. I could be wrong, but all this anonymous sniping smacks of desperation and I feel sorry for people who are under so much pressure to make a sale.
(And, by the by, I hardly call an anonymous posting “springing to Charles' defence” (not that he needs it)!)

I have to agree with Jonathan, one of few non-anonymous posters to the site.
If you have to resort to anonymous sniping then you can't be that busy. Clients (or anyone else) will take anonymous potsings with a huge pinch of salt.
Or, rather than post as anonymous, just post as “Eunuch” …

There is hope – Thomson Reuters US have been in touch – via Twitter – to ask how they can help.
And that is hopefully the end of this – not least as tomorrow is Windows 7 day …CC

Agreed – this site is an interesting read, even more so when there's a flurry of sometimes inane and often poorly disguised (at least do it well!) vendor commentary. But I thought that's what blogs were all about – freedom of speech in a largely anonymous forum. We can only hope that the blog god ultimately controlling posts in this crazy blogverse is a benevelent one. If you don't like it, “click here to unsubscribe”…
But I must agree – posting private emails is pretty bad form unless they're really, really funny and/or involve complaints about telecommunication companies, governments, or people who actually believe that climate change is man made.

My only concern with this is that by publishing the email, the Rag may have inadvertantly given poor Simon Phelan a bucket-load of trouble and put his job at risk – unless his email was pre-approved by the corporate PR monitors at TR. On he other hand, Simon must have expected that it could be published unless he specified that it was 'off the record'. Lessons learned no doubt – maybe just pick up the phone to CC next time Simon…. To return to the actual case in hand, we are talking about a small Scottish Firm that should be well outside of Elite's target market, so to go local with a small Scottish supplier like Pilgrim is logical.

absolutely – this blog has got nastier and more personal over the last year but anonymous or otherwise its Charles who chooses to publish – come on Charles filter out the nastiness and restore this blog to its previous mix of news and (fun) debate -rumour has it this is all because youve lost interest in legal while you pursue other matters – would be a shame to lose the rag blog (as it used to be)

The Blog God is benevolent – altho he is currently girding his loins for the abuse he'll get from the Linux users of this world when he mentions Microsoft has just launched Windows 7.0. And yes I would like to hear from anyone who was at PC World in Tottenham Court Road at midnight to buy an early copy…

Windows 7 through the post, still waiting for the trusty old beast to finish backing up all sorts of cr*p before a clean install, almost as much fun as reading the 'rag.

The Benevolent God of Blogging says “OK my flock, I shall filter out all the nastiness and restore fun to the World of Legal Technology” Watch out for The Funniest Things Consultants Say later today

I think there are wider ramifications.
Amongst firms of a certain size and level of sophisitcation Elite was for many years the de-facto practice management system to adopt, largely becasue it was a very good and proven system (it became a safe bet).
They exploited this position very well and secured a large user base from it. However, this positon is now in decline. Other vendors with other products (often newer and more advanced) are in the ascendency. Firms that would previously have gone with a new Elite systme or an upgrade now have other choices.
Unfortunatley while Elite had that dominat market positon they also had a tendency to run over budget, over time and under devliver on functionality implemented on many projects. As a result many firms do not have a huge amount of loyalty to them and there are good opportunities for others.

Sorry, without wanting to sound partisan exactly which vendors have 'newer and more advanced' software solutions than Elite? 3E is the most recently deployed system, and from what I understand no-one else in their market space has released a system that is entirely new after 3E was released so by definition 3E is the newest and most advanced (OK you could argue 'most advanced', but you'd imagine given the technology advantage it would be true).
I'm not wanting to be an advertorial for 3E, and certainly there are disavantages of being in the 'bleeding edge' position but I just can't see people speaking rubbish and not interject!
Happy to be corrected here?

Newest = Most Advanced
Newest = Most likely candidate for a Hot Fix
Now what does my experience tell me is the answer … Oh yes “Always wait for SP1”

Got to doubt it as at the moment Office 2003 won't even share calender.
Also enormous fun with downloaded Windows 7 “Easy Transfer” wizard puts ALL emails in the deleted items folder, Is that what they mean by clean install??
Perhaps my techie type skills are too dated for this new fangled stuff, or was I just naive using a Microsoft wizard.

OK, so like I said a bit hard not to sound partisan and was always going to read like an 'inside Elite' comment (guess again) but I'm not losing any sleep about that and in the interests of real debate I was actually asking a legitimate question in response to what I thought was a spurious comment from the previous poster.
I'd be interested to hear the details so perhaps the poster or the vendor they're identifying could make comment here?

We're starting to go down the evolution v revolution debate again. Both Aderant and Elite have down a “volte face” on their positions on that point. Currently Aderant adhere to the evolution camp and Elite subscribe to the revolution camp. Personally I subscribe to the evolution camp. Certain features and technology branches of a product suite can face extinction as you evolve the product. However sometimes you go down the line and you meet the fork in the road where the Homo sapiens meets the Homo neanderthalensis. I think Elite are at that point in the road with Enterprise and 3E. It all depends on whether you rewriting something because you have to (i.e. the 4GL/informix/c-shell TSQL trick for SQL 2000 won't last forever) or because you would like to because you think the previous developer was just rubbish. The second approach inevitably leads to an initial feature loss and introducing the old bugs in a new way. The first approach is warranted only if you know what it's going to cost in time, cash, bugs and marketing. Aderant are not at that point yet because their evolutionary tree is that much shorter and they haven't had to make the big platform jump because they started from a relatively advanced point and don't have the baggage.

Thanks for the detail here – yep i'm aware of the marketing from both but more interested in the facts around the technologies. So why doesn't Aderant have the same 'baggage'? I wasn't in this market at the time but I understood that CMS and Enterprise were released about the same time (early to mid 90's) and as you say Aderant''s current product is still CMS, just upgraded or 'evolved' to use their term.
And by the way – what does CUAB mean in that other post???

Indeed it was, and I cannot think of a current product that is not into SPs …
If my comment was meant specifically then I would apologise (and of course, refer to the apology as Service Pack 1 to my original posting). Obviously I was speaking generally and perhaps somewhat ironically, given that the industry always 'waits for someone else'.
As for the whole Evolution vs. Revolution … I think it's pretty irrelevant, and a little like development methodology i.e. Waterfall vs. Incremental. Both methods work and are suitable in certain circumstances.
I think the trick is to make a logical decision as to what is best for the product/organisation, and whilst doing so to consider the implications for the current clients as well as new clients (considering the financial implications as well, which will have an impact). Once done, communicate the roadmap clearly and accurately and identify certain beta clients who are willing make the leap of faith, and perhaps give them some incentive to do so – if everyone waits for SP1 the product never ships.
For clients, neither path will involve just plugging in a new bit of software, and there will always be costs involved at some point. That may be software cost or re-training costs, but it's up to the client to have their own thoughts and roadmap, and to figure out their own ROI and rationale.
For this reason there will never be a single solution and anyone who say's so is either a fool, highly blinkered or disingenuous.
One persons Revolution is another’s Fight for Freedom, another’s Evolution is yet another’s Intelligent Design.

Thanks for that Andy – let me guess, you also woke up an hour early this morning. (US readers please note, the UK is now on daylight saving time.) – CC

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