A new partnership that says it can roll out Thomson Reuters Elite 3E at a 40% cost saving to law firms has been formed by Information Technology Services (ITS) and creativesyndications.net (CSN), with the pair’s first engagement of a 900-user firm running on time and to budget.

The partnership, which will leverage CSN’s extensive experience of Elite and ITS’ contact base, has been brokered by ITS director Justin Edwards and CSN director Sean Mollison. It comes as a number of firms are looking to move off Elite Enterprise, which is in the process of being sunsetted.

CSN is an umbrella name for syndicate teams that work in London, South Africa and Beirut within the same cloud-based infrastructure and collectively cover all project resource requirements, applications and development work. Together with ITS it promises full life cycle design and rapid deployment of 3E, largely thanks to CSN’s ‘phase zero’ consultation model and the ability to avoid coordinating multiple different suppliers. Mollison says: “Normally people negotiate, sign the contract, and a couple of days later introduce a project manager. Our team is already involved by the time you sign the contract and there are already multiple streams underway to get your contract away within a couple of weeks of contract signature.”

The work done during phase zero comes at a stage when a law firm will typically have decided on 3E but are yet to negotiate on price. Mollison said: “What your average law firm wants to do in between signing and buying is use that time to negotiate; they play brinkmanship, then sign, then do the customisation, which may not come in for months.

“We say we do all that before you sign. Yes, clients say they are giving away a trump card but the point is that the amount of money you save from doing brinkmanship is not necessarily going to be a lot and the real value you save is doing the preparatory work.”

He adds: “A lot of clients have another solution to help with new business intake whereas our team builds it into 3E using the platform – but you need someone who really knows the system.”

For ITS, which placed Mollison at Elite in 2005, the move is a progression from its managed services desk model, as it continues to focus on breaking the mould for IT recruitment. As well as introducing CSN to its clients it will be instrumental in building the right teams in return for a percentage of the project fee. Edwards says: “We have tons of clients who are looking into an Elite team and who are worried about a squeeze on resources. Resources are going up in price and I thought ‘how can we do something better than just recruit people?’ Twenty years ago, ITS formed to supply tech staff to law firms, then managed teams and we’ve led the way. This is the next level.

“My clients are worried about not having any room to manoeuvre. Sean offers cheaper resources thanks to being offshore but he overpays his staff. This is a no-brainer.”

This article first appeared in the May Legal IT Insider newsletter