Yes, I know we had the Legal Link announcements just before Christmas but the IRIS Legal group has now published a new product strategy announcement. Now read on – and check out the attachments if you are an AIM Evolution of Laserform TPS user…

In a statement issued today (8th April) IRIS Legal managing director Arlene Adams said…

“Today, we will unveil our product strategy for practice and case management and a further investment of £5m in our Legal Product Portfolio over the next 3 years. IRIS, which is a sector specialist and has for many years been the leading provider to the accountancy profession, has built its leadership position and reputation on continuous product investment and a deep understanding of customer needs. With this investment we are now making the same level of commitment to the legal market.

“Today we will launch our new Practice and Case Management Application, IRIS Law, which we will be offering to all new customers.  IRIS Law is available to customers in two editions, depending upon practice size and complexity: IRIS Law Enterprise for the larger practices and IRIS Law Business for the smaller practices. IRIS Law Enterprise is based on the award winning Legal Office 10 product (formerly Videss) and IRIS Law Business is based on the newly developed Connected product (formerly Mountain), both of which have had considerable new investment over the past few years.

“Customers of AIM and TPS (The Partnership Suite) will continue to be fully supported until July 2011 and will be offered a free software upgrade to IRIS Law when they are ready.

“This strategy was based on a detailed 6 month exercise that evaluated all the products in the IRIS legal portfolio and concluded that all customers upgrading to IRIS Law would receive immediate benefit from the new and improved functionality built into the product set.

“IRIS Law now provides IRIS customers with a clear long term roadmap offering protection of investment and reassurance at a time when the legal IT supply market is undergoing considerable consolidation thus leaving customers uncertain about the protection of their investment. IRIS, with the scale of its investment and its commitment to the legal sector can provide the stability that firms need from their IT partner.

“We have consulted widely with our customers and have now provided both customers and the market with what they have been asking for by delivering a clear strategy and long term roadmap. We will be making a further £5 million investment in our legal portfolio to ensure that we establish ourselves as the undisputed leader in the legal software marketplace. It is our ambition to swiftly transition this sector from a cottage industry to one which has the industrial strength that lawyers require

“We are currently researching new solutions to help legal firms address the business challenges of a rapidly changing market. We are exploring tools to help firms integrate more openly with partners and customers across the web, service customers over multiple electronic channels and deliver proactive customer management tools to help firms strengthen their relationship with customers and in turn improve their revenue and profit. This all has to be delivered in a world that is increasingly regulated and cost sensitive therefore we are exploring ways to further automate process, reduce cost and improve compliance. I am really excited about our future.”

The supporting documents go on to say that “IRIS has concluded that no further feature enhancements, apart from legislative requirements on SQL, will be added to the (AIM) Evolution product following the release of Evolution R2SP5 in October 2008. A full product comparison has been conducted between Evolution and IRIS Law Enterprise. IRIS Law Enterprise will deliver improved functionality requested by Evolution users, for example, Document Management, improved marketing and CRM and an XML gateway which will allow greater integration with third party products and applications. The decision IRIS have made to upgrade Evolution users to IRIS Law Enterprise is one that has been given careful consideration. The future success of IRIS Legal is interlinked to customer satisfaction. I can therefore assure you that we have based this decision on what we believe delivers to you the best return on your investment and will provide a long term sustainable product that can deliver continuous business and competitive advantage.”

Firms that remain on either the Laserform TPS or AIM Evolution platforms after July 2011 will have support provided via a “Vintage Support Programme at an additional cost”.