In what is described as a “really important but initial step”, legal CRM market leader LexisNexis InterAction today (8 April) launched InterAction for Office 365 after an 18-month development project that has involved the entire InterAction team from product management to development and engagement with over 150 law firms globally.
The newly launched product, which is available for both desktop and subscription versions of Office, embeds CRM data into existing workflows across Microsoft Outlook, Excel and Word.
Speaking to Legal IT Insider, commercial director for EMEA and APAC, Steve Zangari (pictured) said: “We have been really involved with clients in deep research to understand what law firms are looking for from their CRM solution.
“We’ve conducted and formed engagements with over 150 law firm globally to find out what is important to them. What are the barriers to success? How will we help them to derive the maximum value? We’ve conducted story mapping; formed a CIO advisory board; and established a global client advisory board. There has been real in depth engagement with the client.
“The focus has very much been around CRM adoption and what’s happening in the background to help us formulate our strategy for InterAction going forward.”
He adds: “InterAction for Office 365 is a really important but initial step.”
The application is delivered through a hybrid cloud model that enables a cloud-based application to securely access data (without storing it at rest) regardless of where it resides – on-premises behind a firewall, in a private cloud or in a public cloud environment. This hybrid model is a key tenet in the future of InterAction and Zangari said: “Underpinning it all is a hybrid cloud concept. One of the hottest topics right now is the adoption of cloud-based software and firms are at different stages driven by both internal factors and client considerations.
“We’re aligning ourselves with that journey and with the hybrid cloud architecture we can support any firm. The critical piece is ‘where does the data reside’ and we’re leaving that with in the hands of the law firm but giving them the benefit of a cloud application with consistent and seamless updates and the ability to run the platform from any application.”
InterAction for Office 365 includes features like one-click VOIP calling and the option to automatically track phone call and e-mail activities. The broader integration with Word and Excel saves time for fee earners as well as marketing and business development professionals. “For example, users can easily compare an attendee list with their InterAction data to understand which known contacts will be at an event without ever leaving Excel,” says Scott Winter, director of product management. “This isn’t about assembling a report but rather embedding InterAction data to help users work smarter in real-time. Further, with the hybrid model, we can get functionality to our clients faster than ever before while letting them maintain control of the data.”
Competition, as ever, is a very good thing. Aside from newer entrants such as OnePlace, the CRM market has recently seen new competition from outside of the legal sector, including DealCloud, which was acquired by Intapp last year and has been bought by Baker McKenzie. Zangari says: “One of the key underpinning factors is that InterAction is a CRM built specifically for the legal sector and the most important piece is around lawyers relationship with their clients. Most other CRMs are built to manage a sales pipeline, and relationship management is secondary. The key thing in InterAction is that relationship management is the most important thing and around that is the data quality.”
InterAction is used by over 450 clients from 32 countries that include large law, mid-law and nonlegal professional services.
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