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IRIS loses its biggest AIM site to Pilgrim

Top 100 law firm Howes Percival LLP, with offices in Leicester, Milton Keynes, Northampton and Norwich, has selected the LawSoft Practice Management solution incorporating Legal Accounts, Case Management, Document Management and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to replace their legacy Iris AIM system.
Howes Percival Finance Director Alastair Mearns  states “We are delighted to have chosen Pilgrim to supply our next practice management system and are looking forward to the benefits we expect LawSoft to bring to our business. Key for us has been the intuitive, easy to use capability of LawSoft, which at the same time is sufficiently comprehensive to have responded to virtually every test we have put it to in our selection process. We anticipate that this and the straightforward pragmatism of the Pilgrim team will be the foundation of a productive relationship for many years to come.”
Pilgrim COO Colin Kennedy observes that “Howes Percival is another significant new client win for us. In line with many other practices they have identified the key strengths of our solution as being an ideal combination of flexible software, leading edge technology and experienced people, plus a stable business roadmap that provides the assurances buyers seek in an ever changing commercial world.”

Comment: from the Insider Top 250 chart, it looks like IRIS has just lost its last remaining AIM site within the top 100 UK law firms. Older readers will recall that in the years BE (before Elite) the old Robson Rhodes surveys regularly identified AIM as the market leader within the top 100.

16 replies on “IRIS loses its biggest AIM site to Pilgrim”

from the suppliers I talk to this seems more and more like a turkey shoot. At first all the the AIM and Videss sites seemed to stick with IRIS and it was the smaller suppliers within the group that lost clients – the rout within both bases seems well under-way and it seems like Pilgrim, Linetime, TFB, SOS etc are all experiencing ever growing prospect lists/wins from a very unhappy IRIS user community. I'm not sure they even realise the true scale of the problem as most IT managers and directors I speak to want to keep their powder dry for as long as possible to maintain good support relations. A couple of ex-IRIS firms IT Directors I spoke to have even asked for a confidentiality clause until they are live.
Also the key people just aren't there any more one major IRIS Videss site mentioned that with Chris Rose's departure they simply no longer have a relationship so they, like many others, will be looking around the market.
Fundamental problem seems to be that they simply don't have any leadership that have any idea what they are doing in this market.

Two more demonstrations this week to AIM sites, both over 100 seats, interestingly one of them said that IRIS had changed their message in recent weeks and were now pushing IRIS Law Business (Previously Mountain .net) and not the ex Videss product because the Law Business system was now SQL based?
ILB has always been SQL based so is this admittance by IRIS that ILE has failed in it's attempt to move from the Progess back end that Videss used to SQL?
OK it might be that the firm in question were not deemed to be ILE candidates and I am reading too much into it? But as they say on Big Brother, “You decide”

If that's true then wow, what the hell were they thinking of when they announced the termination of Evolution over Videss… The main reason for the decision was that Evolution 'had not had enough investment' in that it was using SQL!!!!!!

Charles Christian writes I've subbed this cut out out the defamatory bits…
This does all sound like small financially vunerable vendors like Pilgrim (A senior ********************** ago) getting very excited about a few wins from the mainstream players. There are many stories I hear about these smaller vendors 'buying business' right now to generate cashflow. Iris has a huge maintenance revenue flow and is protected by having multiple business lines. When will vendors start to publish some true return on investment results from rapid go-lives instead of the constant stream of PR sales hype that of course they largely write and then attribute to clients?

Agreed, dropping Evolution with it's SQL base and interesting roadmap (.NET, sharepoint DMS, BI etc.) was utter madness.

A lot of this is like a replay of the old Sony Betamax v VHS debate. Betamax may have been the 'better' product (note use of ironic speech marks) but the market went with VHS. Its the same with the Whatever v SQL debate. Axxia is another vendor that clung on to the world of Unix/Informix because it was 'better' than Windows/SQL – and paid the price. I suspect the real culprits are the developers who cannot accept that the world has moved on & that they need to investigate new platforms. — CC

I think you will find that Evolution is probably the most functionally rich solution in the IRIS Legal portfolio but it is based on a legacy development platform in Sculptor, hence the reason it was dropped. New development was constrained by limitations in sculptor and while new functionality could have been developed in .Net and added in this would effectively have been like putting 'lipstick on a pig'.
Am not surprised that the old mountain .net system is being pushed as a replacement for the Videss\Aim users given that architecturally it is the strongest product IRIS have and recent lab tests showed it will scale to a couple of thousand concurrent users. Also bare in mind it is still to my knowledge the only product on the market that can say it is a true .Net managed code application.

Oh no, somebody has kicked off the “my .NET software is .nettier (or at least more .NET framework compliant) than your .NET software” debate – this is the way to maddness – even Microsoft have a hard time explaining this one.

As I recall, Sculptor was being phased out. IRIS stopped that process so they could favour the Videss product. Largely irrelevant now of course – the damage was done some years back.

Am pretty sure they (Microsoft) don't have trouble explaining it, and while you personally may not care, any potential customer who doesn't care about how “.nettier” each vendors solution is deserves to be sold a “pig with lipstick on”

I would prefer to purchase a really crap .NET product than a functionally rich product written in some old legacy rubbish. Luckily all my clients agree with me.
…. now, where did I leave my pills.

No you are missing the point about who's systems are more compliant than others – this takes the debate into the realms of technical jargon & you end up risking blinding your customers & prospects with science. Especially when most law firms do not have substantial IT teams with up-to-the-minute understanding of the latest Microsoft technologies.
It is not about putting lipstick on pigs, it is about system benefits versus system features. Just saying we've got the best .NET means is focusing on features – what actually matters is the benefits that system (& .NET) can deliver. Older readers will recall that when Mountain first launched their original .NET replacement for their FoxPro system, the product sank like a stone because at the time it was less feature-rich than FoxPro + most of the features .NET could deliver were not – at that time – of any interest to their core market.
As for who has got the best .NET, talk to Mike Walker at FWBS, they are about 2 years ahead of anyone else in the market in their application of .NET
…Charles Christian

You are missing the point, Without a shadow of a doubt the evolution system has more functionality than the Mountain system (for the time being), it is easier to produce matching functionality in a more archiecturally sound platform than it is to re-work all the plumbing in your legacy system to allow you to keep up with latest tech development. Taking something like evolution or some of the other crap that suppliers are selling and make it SaaS or Web enabled and any other new trend that may be on the horizon would be awfully time consuming.
It's a gutsy move by IRIS which inevitably has seen them bleed some customers, but if they get it right long term it won't be long before those customers come running back. Legacy crap replaced by Legacy crap is still Legacy crap, times are a changing in the legal world and anyone peddling legacy systems are going to find themselves left behind very shortly …. technology will effectively 'end of life' your systems.

Gosh – a whole conversation on who is more .NET and there's no mention of Elite 3E? OK, perhaps a slightly different market but surely there's a 3E guy out there somewhere who can win the '.NETTIER' discussion? I thought 3E the only (or almost the only) legal solution that was designed and built from scratch in .NET?

So now Elite 3E is being cited as an example of why .NET is a good thing!

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