Earlier this month we had a meeting with Alan Fraser, the new head honcho at Lexis Nexis Enterprise Solutions (that’s the legal software business) where we discussed what the company had been doing since he joined the team in August and what were his plans for 2013. LexisNexis have now summarised our discussions in this note…

2012 has been a successful year for LexisNexis Enterprise Solutions. The division has stayed on course from a strategic standpoint, and made astute tactical decisions along the way on all aspects of the business to ensure a positive outcome, most importantly for customers, but also for the organisation. .

Alan Fraser took the helm in August. Best recognised in the legal sector for his time as CEO of Workshare, he brings both industry-specific experience and broad experience across business disciplines and diverse corporate structures (public, private, start-up, turnaround, growth) in the high-tech space. Views and perceptions of technology in the sector have changed though since he was at Workshare.

“Five years ago, legal firms appreciated the need for technology, so IT directors implemented systems, made them work and the attitude towards suppliers thereafter was ‘now leave us alone’”, Fraser says. “Today I notice that partners too are actively involved in the decision-making process because they see technology key for base capability. Technology is no longer a one-off implementation – firms realise the need to continually improve and update it.”

Project Nimbus (codename), the division’s business management system (BMS) that includes practice and financial management, has been a major focus area for Enterprise Solutions this year. The business has three early adopter customers commencing implementation of the Nimbus solution in March 2013. The company is also working to secure three more early-adopter customers in the first half of 2013 and another three in the second half. This measured approach is by design – the division is keen to “walk before it can run” with Nimbus. The solution is the first of its kind and is truly an enabler of an enterprise-level business management approach to legal business, and one that is new to law firms too. The changing legal sector landscape makes this style of business operation an imperative for law firms.

Nimbus’ biggest attraction for law firms is that it is an enterprise-level BMS that is expressly designed for the legal sector; and its Microsoft Dynamics AX foundation is of greatest value. Given that Microsoft is making substantial annual investments into the Dynamics platform, Nimbus is practically future proof and consequently so is law firms’ investment in the solution. LexisNexis is just one of nine global independent software vendors (out of the thousands of independent software vendors working with Dynamics AX today) to have attained Microsoft’s preferred partner status for the development of a next generation, vertical business management solution.

Strategically, Enterprise Solutions has decided not to continue further developmental investment in LexisNexis Streamline, its business process management platform. Instead, the division is redirecting investment into Visualfiles, the highly popular case management system. This year, the solution’s adoption has grown tremendously, crossing the 25,000 licences mark. Interest in the solution has been especially strong from the property law and insurance firms.

A new product roadmap will be announced in March 2013, so watch this space – major enhancements will include .NET integration capabilities, ubiquitous programming, new user interface options and training and certification and more. For customers, this revised strategy is great news as in the future (should they so desire) integration from Visualfiles to Nimbus will be seamless.  As always, Enterprise Solutions will continue to support all its Streamline, Axxia and SolCase customers; and continue to invest in creating pathways for clients to transition to the next generation of platforms per their business requirements.

CRM solution InterAction and business intelligence software Redwood continue to be best sellers. The upward trend seen for InterAction in 2011 has continued through 2012 in the UK, but also in South Africa, APAC region and South America. This year has seen growing interest from the private equity sector too. Clearly, the difficult economic conditions have revived the need for CRM in the professional services industries. Similarly, Redwood has seen growth in adoption too.

The division is looking to 2013 with great optimism. Top of the agenda is Enterprise Solutions’ series of one day product user conferences and roadshows that will run throughout 2013 – these will be good opportunities for end users to learn how to better utilise their solutions through complementary product training and insightful tips and tricks sessions. There will also be a series of Strategic Lunches hosted by Alan Fraser for all customers – these are scheduled for March 2013.