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Elite say they are taking over APAC market

Following on from last week's story about the Blake Dawson/Elite 3E win, Elite have been in touch to clarify the position in the Asia-Pacific market – this is what they say…

On the APAC front, we are clearly taking market share as you will see from the list below. Not only are we winning the deals from other systems, we are also taking Aderant clients. Below are the Elite 3E APAC clients. It’s an impressive showing.
 
As listed:
Hesketh Henry – NZ, live, ex Aderant
Crown Law NZ – NZ, live, ex Aderant
Buddle Findlay – NZ, going live September, ex Aderant
Crown Law QLD – NZ, going live November, ex Aderant
M+K – AUS, going live October, ex Aderant
A&G (Allen & Gledhill) – Singapore, just starting Enterprise to 3E project
LHAG – Malaysia, live
Thynne Macartney – AUS, June 2010 deal
Blake Dawson – AUS, July 2011 deal, ex Aderant
 
Aderant have had a few wins. DAS (Dibbs Abbot Stillman) is a firm that gave a preliminary look at 3E and never engaged with us beyond that. Their other recent wins have been small firms: Holman Webb, just over 40 lawyers and Wotton Kearney, just over 30 lawyers. Neither of these firms looked at 3E. In the end, there is some back and forth between the vendors but the results speak for themselves.

28 replies on “Elite say they are taking over APAC market”

It would be interesting to know how many of these client were using aderant expert (or cms) and how many were on legacy platforms owned by aderant.

I appreciate you may be a software salesman or IT consultant (in which case we'll make an exception for your lack of commonsense) but if you read the article, I think you'll find IT SAYS WHICH SITES WERE PREVIOUSLY ADERANT …CC

“Sigh”, and some fell as like pearls before swine. On behalf of those IT consultants who can both read and comprehend the meaning of a sentence, please keep up the good work and we promise to lure the stupid ones down a dark alley to meet my good friend “Mr Brick”.

Hi charles, I appreciate that you may not have taken the time to read my comment correctly. The question is regarding the fact that aderant have a number of practice management systems that operate in the APAC region of which the current product is aderant expert (formerly known as CMS). In addition to this clients also operate and are supported by aderant on the CLO and Keystone platforms. It would be interesting to understand which clients are moving from CLO or Keystone as opposed to aderant expert as it would be a good indicator of the level of confidence in their flagship product. The details of which are not mentioned in the article.

I take it that you are the guy (or gal) who has been described to me at the “new and very keen Elite salesman” ? – CC

Blake Dawson were Keystone, most of the others I believe were CLO, which Aderant dropped some years ago. M+K was Expert Office according to the press release on Elite's website. I've been told there are several other Expert sites internationally that have moved though I can't recall the names. It's certainly true that Elite are capturing significant market share in the region (been some good work for consultants) both Aderant sites and otherwise. It will be interesting to see which way the other Keystone firms go as they are being forced to move also.
It's no secret the Allens project (the only other Keystone firm to move so far) raised a lot of concerns about Expert Office which I imagine is why Blake Dawson took so long in their selection process and (again according to Elite's press release) did such an exhaustive functional analysis before choosing 3E. I'd imagine the other Keystone firms will look closely at this.

Anyone know if SAP got a look-in – or were even remotely considered – on any of these deals? – CC

You're in AUSTRALIA people. It is time and billing software. Get a grip! You don't hear the South Africans, Canadians, Indians, etc having little boy “measuring competitions”. Do you two not have anything else to do down there? If not, perhaps you should check in with existing clients to improve their experiences of your software rather than going on and on and on and on and on.

Hmm, it seems the SPIN doctoring skills from the federal election has permeated this blog! It's true Elite had some recent wins, but Thynne McCartney is only small, so Aderant won Allens and 3E won Blakes no clear winner there. The NZ wins are fairly old deals and mostly coming off the old CLO platform. The proof will be in the 3E pudding – as much as the Allens project supposedly “raised a lot of concerns” – I have friends who describe nothing more than user transition issues really. Most 3E projects seem to take an immense amount of time to go live, so remains to be seen how Blakes goes. But as a 3rd party consulting firm, we have NOT seen 'a huge amount of work' being touted around – so maybe the market share aint that big.

It’s interesting isn’t it, I was around (but not involved with) the Allens implementation and my understanding was that it was delivered a little late and mainly on budget in just over 12 months. I think that’s pretty impressive for a large multi office, multi country firm with the change of a mission critical system. I know if I was managing partner I’d be happy with that result. It will be interesting to see if the Blakes implementation can achieve the same.
At the same time I understand that the Gadens implementation (notably missing from the list of customers provided) was a complete disaster that resulted in the dismissal of the IT department and is still having ramifications for the firm. Now this is all hearsay for me but after 3 or 4 people tell you the same thing, you start to think that there must be some fire behind the smoke, especially when the vendor doesn’t list one of their customers.
Be that as it may, the interesting question for me is how a big firm decides on a practice management system, now that Elite appear to have gotten their act together after rushing out their new technology 4 or 5 years ago, because there look like there are only 2 options. in the market these days.
It’s not like it’s either product is going to give a strategic advantage to the user. They are basically time, billing and accounting systems at the core, which is fundamentally a back office function. The decision is typically made by the finance department. Anyway, with the pedigree of both products they probably have most of the functions covered here, one way or the other.
Let’s face it, firms are going to have a system like this for 10 or 15 years or longer these days. You make a decision, you spend 1 or 2 years of heartache implementing. You get through that and then you sit on your hands for a couple of years because you haven’t got any time or energy left after the trauma of implementation. Then the system gradually settles down and you start to fine tune and use some of the functions that you didn’t know about or modules that you bought up front when you were enthusiastic but ran out of time to implement. 5 or 6 years later you are gradually ironing out all the kinks and actually understanding what the product is about and maybe even liking it. So then you start to use it fully and after 10 years it’s embedded in all of your processes and the thought of changing it still recalls the pain from the original implementation. I doubt if either Allens or Blakes would have changed systems had Aderant decided not to rationalise their product set and keep going forward with Keystone.
When you write off the initial investment 10 or 15 years the difference between the 2 products has to be minimal. So how to you decide?
Lowering costs? Difficult to see a big difference between the two here as the really heavy usage is in the back office.
Better productivity in the front office? I believed the “if you get every lawyer to record one more unit every day the system pays for itself in 2 months” spiel 25 years ago but what I have learnt is that there is a difference between recording time and billing it. Successful lawyers are good at billing. And both have a wealth of financial information available albeit it generally locked away.
Driving down operational costs? Both have workflow engines in their infancy and generally the profession is still an early adopter in this area.
Technology stack? Aderant align with Microsoft and Elite go proprietary and state they have the web high ground. I’d argue that technology is secondary consideration anyway.
Good reference sites? They both can claim some impressive customers.
Vendor vision/capability? They both seem to have a good handle on the customer needs going forward and the management seems stable in both. Both are part of bigger organisations so you would doubt either is going to disappear.
I wonder how you decide? Which one has the UI that you like??
Wow, what a long post. That’s what happens when you are working away from home and have had a few wines and there is only crap on telly.
Hic!
Good night.
PS. In a tree by the brook there’s a songbird who sings sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven.

There's also a lady who's sure All that glitters is gold – which could be a metaphor for either vendor sales-staff who exaggerate the benefits of their systems OR law firms who have over-optimistic expectations for their new systems. (Or it could be that a Led Zeppelin theme has now pervaded this blog) – CC

A lot of interest in this post, and I think more than a few misunderstandings/misconceptions from this poster no doubt as a result of red wine. Though I agree that in many cases firms wouldn't change systems unless there was a need, to suggest there is no advantage in doing so is a little one dimensional and if you're a travelling consultant yourself I certainly hope you don't bring that attitude to your clients! It's an unsustainable argument to suggest that there aren't intrinsic advantages in new technologies where they are deployed well, and you obviously have never worked in a law firm if you don't think there are significant opportunities to improve back office productivity. Oh my.
I'm not going to touch the Allens thing, suffice it to say I've also heard far more on this subject than you describe.
As for Gadens – they probably weren't mentioned because (if you were around then too) they bought 3E going on 3 years ago and if you look at the names above it seems pretty clear Elite's announcement here wasn't looking back that far. They don't mention a number of other 3E clients who all made purchasing decisions back then, so doesn't seem to be any impropriety there. I heard the same stories you did about Gadens, albeit with acknowledgements that there were mistakes made in the deployment as much as it was system related. Regardless, this was several years ago so not really relevant to a discussion about the state of play today unless you're an Aderant rep looking for a way to dig up old bones.
There are very specific differences between 3E and Expert, the primary one being 3E is a new solution, Expert is an updated solution, so fundamentally different there. Expert uses a 3rd party workflow solution, 3E has built in workflow, again a very significant difference. As for technology stack the fact that 3E's workflow is built in does not make the whole system proprietary any more than using Windows Workflow makes Expert more 'aligned' with Microsoft. I know that's the argument but the only people I've heard towing that line are Aderant reps, and it's just not sustainable on the facts (though good job to Aderant for selling this story well).
I'll leave it to Elite or Aderant to comment on why their solution is better. In short there some very clear and significant differences between the two solutions that will no doubt represent different value to different firms. I don't think there can be any doubt that firms should look very closely at their options before making a decision. Not to do so would simply be foolhardy given the ramifications and the level of investment involved.

Given the amount of posts on these subjects you could say it was “The Battle of Evermore”. Though if there is a clear winner it will be a “Celebration Day” for them. The loser would find it a “Heartbreaker”. However, most people are left “Dazed and Confused” by it all.

I may need to change the name of this blog to Orange Zeppelin – CC

Well at the risk of getting “Trampled Underfoot” I would suggest that from the comments here “The Song Remains The Same”. Which, I guess, is “Nobody's Fault But Mine”. On which note (natch) “I'm, Gonna Crawl” back out of here.

This thread is more “adde parvum parvo magnus acervus erit”. Will it never end? Blast those salesmen in Australia with nothing to do with their time. They are filling up good Internet space.

Personally I've enjoyed this post. I don't have the time to follow these things religiously and this post has provided a good summary of changes in the market. Good post CC, and credit where credit is due to Elite.

By adding your little gem, havent you inadvertenly acted in a similar fashion to the other 19 posters ? Maybe it is not only Australian Salesmen with too much time ?

Twitter hit 20 billion tweets today. Are we aiming for the same record? Is there a time capture category in Elite or Aderant's products (assuming they both use them internally – of course they must!) for the sales team to record time spent posting to CC's blog?

Ok, the Elite position, fair enough.
My view remains that a practice management system is no longer a strategic decision for a firm. Both of these products will bring fundamentally the same business improvements and hence return on investment over their 15 year life. I am not a big fan of decisions made because of technology. I have seen too many go down the route where the technologists are really excited and the firm stands still or goes backward.
You're right, I wasn't close to Gadens. They do however seem contemporary with other sites listed. Certainly the comments from others (non-salesman) are current.
One question, why make a comment like this: “I certainly hope you don't bring that attitude to your clients!”? It's condescending and rude. I avoided the other thread here because the authors were slagging each other off. I hate people casting personal aspertions in these things however mild or subtle they are. These posts are an opportunity to express and explore views. Anything else is unprofessional.

Ah let me have a go…
I'm sorry our other anonymous friend hurt your feelings, I'll try not to whilst at the same time disagreeing with you entirely. Perhaps the most obvious response is a simple one. If both systems provided the same outcomes common sense would suggest that market share would be roughly equal between the main players, or at least that current sales for each vendor would reflect your conjecture. The fact that Elite hold significantly more market share and are winning significantly more business than Aderant in recent times, indeed winning over Aderant clients too clearly indicates that firms everywhere do see clear advantages in the Elite solution. Your are by virtue of these facts on your own here. That's OK though – many revolutionaries were on their own, perhaps Lead Zepplin could be included?
At this risk of being shamelessly pro-Elite I would raise one other issue. 3E is an entirely new platform at the relative beginning of its product lifecycle, Expert is CMS – a 15+ year old system with new features over the top. To suggest that there are no advantages to the former and no risks involved in deploying the latter would be the equivalent of suggesting that the iPhone has no real advantages over the first blackberries (remember the blue brick?). They both perform most of the same functions, but no-one would suggest for a moment that you buy your firm a fleet of the original blackberries would they, even if they were giving them away? Technology has inherent benefits, but you're right it's not just about the technology itself, it's about what it offers your firm. On one hand I have a new technology platform that, given typical product lifecycles, will last the next 10+ years and on the other I have a product with a roadmap that cannot help but be fundamentally limited by the age of the core platform and will require replacement easily within the next 5 years. So bottom line – one product is cheaper today, but will cost you tomorrow and the other is a larger cost today but cheaper long term. These are the facts, and no amount of 'spin' will cover that up for anyone that does a proper analysis and this one fact alone represents a significant risk and additional cost to business in the Expert offering. That said, some firms are happy to invest in a lower cost short term solution as (for any number of reasons) it suits their current business agenda, and I'm sure the firms choosing Aderant are doing so on that basis.
But good luck with your current mantra, perhaps you can convince your clients to stick with windows XP. 😉

Janders Dean will jump in here with a quick brain dump and then run back into the garden to grab my beer.
Firstly – we're not going to get drawn into who is bigger, better, more beautiful or less bonkers, nor will we comment on which firms went well or not so well (only they can/should tell you that).
Few posts on this thread have openly said it, but some are eluding to the fact that leadership in the field comes down to which “product” is “better” – Product A or B, and that this is therefore definitive to determining the selection of all other firms who follow. For our own sanity, we need to make sure we're not misunderstanding.
Selecting a practice management system (or almost any other system) obviously comes down to a number of factors which should be weighted differently for each firm based on their technology adoption position, their history, their investment appetite, and their requirements. Which “product” is “better “is rarely what defines a success or failure when shooting various products off against each other.
We believe that the following is a useful guide, and one that Janders Dean use with all clients when walking them through selection issues (we call it the P matrix – every consultant needs a good matrix).
Product – yep, product is important, but given that we all know the industry usually has a selection of Product A or Product B (with Product C thrown in as a stalking horse), we all know that they can do the same job. It comes down then to which company presents better during the long weeks of demonstrations to users, and which answers the 800 line RFP with the most imagination. Not many firms we work with put the highest importance or priority on this area.
Price – not only in relation to the software, but the professional services, the third party professional services, the internal costs, the impact costs, annual money for nothing costs, the costs of training, servers, etc, etc. This is where the creative discounting comes in, and the negotiation powers of the procurement departments. Not all firms have the same budget year on year, and not all have the same managing partner or Finance Director. In the same way, not all have the same PPEP each year.
Platform – does the technical infrastructure and architecture of this product integrate seamlessly with my firm's? Will I be left out on a technical limb in 5-10 years time by purchasing this? Does the platform require unique skills to be kept in house forever?
Peers – who is using what and how are they going with it is important. Not just from a “keeping up with the industry/Joneses” but also from a “who will have input into the development roadmap of this product”, and a “how short staffed or not is the industry in the application skills”, not to mention a “how productive and useful is the wider user community in helping each other”.
Parent – how has the parent company performed? What are their plans for building or dumping this particular product or (worse) industry vertical? What other areas do they focus on? Where are they based? What has been their track record in buying, building, supporting? Are they committed to this geographical region?
Performance – similar to the above – what has the performance of the product and the vendor been like in the past 3-5 years in our region?
Position – what is the technology adoption position of the firm in relation to being either an early adopter, fast follower or “I'll go last thanks” perspective? Will a decision between Product A and Product B go against the firm's adoption position?
Professional Services – are they indeed “professional” services? Where are they based? What are their skills? How long have they done this for, and at which peer firms? How much do they cost? Do they know the behaviours of lawyers and support personnel enough? Can we get a reference for each individual one of them? Will the vendor place their names in the contract? Do my people get on with their people? Are they bullies, trusted advisors, or “yes” people? Do they add value?
People – are the other “people” within the vendor organisation up to scratch? Do we trust and like the sales team, the support team, the management team (domestic and international)?
As per the beginning – very very few firms that we've had the pleasure for working with would ever say that Product A won over Product B because it was simply a better “product”. A better “offering” is more likely. Each firm must weigh up the above categories in their own manner based on their priorities and individual characteristics. One firm may say that Price is more important, another that People is key (irrespective of the fact that the product may not be as feature rich).
That's all for now.
Janders Dean

Well said. All of these things matter and my comments above were to address a few of the issues raised directly by our other poster. It's true that there are significant differences in all of the factors above between our two protagonists, which is why this decision is indeed a critical one that should not be taken lightly. The devil as they say, is in the detail.
Oh, and thanks CC – I came up with that blackberry analogy myself. Actually it was a little trip down memory lane over a glass of wine that did it and perhaps something you could do a specific post on: “Remember in 1995 when…”. It really is quite amazing to see how far technology has come in that time, I think it's easy to forget that the internet had only just gone mainstream amongst other things, and if you had your website traffic today back then, you would be Google!

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