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Freshfields to stay with Tikit Firmware for PMS

Tikit has this morning announced it is working with 'magic circle' firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP (which now has over 2500 lawyers in 27 business centres around the world) to upgrade its Tikit FirmWare practice management system.

“Freshfields originally implemented Tikit Firmware over 10 years ago. As our central system for our time, billing and practice management functions, Tikit FirmWare forms the hub of many of our business processes,” said Laurence Milsted, Finance Director at Freshfields. “As Freshfields has grown both internationally and in London, we have expanded our use of Tikit FirmWare with new functionality including lawyer matter management, and support for multiple jurisdictions and currencies. We periodically review the marketplace for alternatives to Tikit FirmWare, but believe that, at this time, the best value-for-money option is to upgrade what we have – we know it meets our needs, and scales to our performance requirements.”

Tikit has been working to upgrade the Tikit FirmWare software suite to a 64-bit platform since earlier this year. The new version (v4) will be available for user testing early next year with Freshfields planning on rolling out the software later that year. “The three-layer model of Tikit FirmWare allows us the flexibility to upgrade the SQL and application server components to 64bit processes, whilst leaving the user front end virtually untouched,” said Mark Garnish, Head of Development Services at Tikit. “In addition to moving to 64-bit, the platform upgrade will expose more of Tikit FirmWare’s core strengths with the latest generation reporting and development tools.” (Insider sources report that initial testing on the 64-bit platform show it to be “demon fast”.)

Comment: This news seems to slay the speculation we've been hearing for at least three years that Freshfields would be the next big legal market win for SAP – although the firm continues to run an SAP HR system. Our sources suggest that during their most recent review of the market, Freshfields looked at both SAP and Elite 3E before deciding Tikit FirmWare provided the most appropriate solution. This news also raises the possibility that FirmWare could re-emerge as an alternative to Elite, Aderant and – for the risk takers – SAP in the larger firms PMS market. FirmWare, which Tikit acquired as part of their acquisition of ResSoft/Resolution Software, was originally positioned as a global contender with its multi-everything capabilities and is still being used in six top 100 UK firms.

7 replies on “Freshfields to stay with Tikit Firmware for PMS”

This is very interesting although I am not sure I know too much about the product – how many clients currently use it?

As it says in the story – 6 firms in the UK: Freshfields + a version at Slaughter & May + Mills & Reeve + Browne Jacobson + Kennedys + Lawrence Graham/LG

“This news also raises the possibility that FirmWare could re-emerge as an alternative to Elite, Aderant and – for the risk takers – SAP in the larger firms PMS market.” And in other news, pigs were spotted flying over Fleet Street this afternoon headed for Aldershot.
Tikit do not have the development team or the cash needed to turn FirmWare into a credible alternative to 3E, Aderant or even SAP (which should tell you something given the lack of mainstream credibility of the latter!) They aren't recruiting either, quite the opposite in a number of their teams, which would surprise no-one in the current market.
The core dev team on FirmWare is about 3 to 5 people and has been for a long time. Not wishing to be disrespectful to Mark, but even adding in TFB we haven't exactly got a team with track record in creating ERP-alike multinational PMS systems, have we?
I'd be a lot more sceptical than you credulous bunch if I was a customer paying 40% a year over market rates for maintenance on a product that is going nowhere (no e-billing/UTBMS support despite promising it four years ago, no fee-earner desktop of any description, no slice and dice reporting, write your own stored procedure to do automatic WIP valuations because we never got round to developing that bit, and just about anything else that one might reasonably expect from a modern PMS.) Make no mistake, we are talking about a system that lacks some of the most basic features that you would expect from even the worst high street legal accounts package of the past 10 years.
On the other hand if I was Freshfields I'd be pretty happy that Tikit had pooled everyone else's maintenance money to develop a 64 bit version of exactly the same product to solve a performance/volume issue that the other five customers couldn't give a toss about.
Freshfields have spent many years developing their own systems around the basic deficiencies in FirmWare, and I am sure the pain of trying to re-integrate around a new PMS is part of their decision not to move on. (Just look at what A&O have had to go through).
I also understood (but may be wrong about this) that they actually use SAP for their G/L and not not just for HR, with FirmWare dealing primarily with time and billing.

its easy to make sweeping statements using the anonymous login – he said anonymously

and as the tumbleweed rolls across the prairie, the lack of a knee jerk official response speaks of dignity in an ever louder volume.

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