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Microsoft says latest Dynamics ERP is suitable for law firms

Well, people have muttering about this for a couple of years now but Microsoft say the latest version of its Microsoft Dynamics SL 2011 enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution (designed for midsize project-driven organizations) is particularly well-suited for law firms as it features the familiar
Microsoft Office look, feel and role-specific dashboards that give lawyers a comprehensive view across their firms. It will be generally available in the second quarter of 2011.

 
Microsoft also say Dynamics SL 2011 further extends existing IT investments by supporting integration with Microsoft Project Server 2010, Microsoft SharePoint 2010, Microsoft Office 2010, Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM through Web Services. Integration with Microsoft Project Server 2010 brings together project management and project accounting by adding functionality that reduces redundant data entry and provides synchronization of project and accounting information, as well as the creation and viewing of budgeting and net profit information. In addition, interoperability with Microsoft SharePoint 2010 offers people the versatility to access information from virtually anywhere, as well as adapt to specific project needs, helping to drive improved business insight and value across their organizations.

Comment: The full announcement and additional information can be found here – www.microsoft.com/dynamics/en/us/erp.aspx – in the meantime, who will be the first legal IT vendor to announce a PMS based on Dynamics SL? They all laughed when Microsoft first poked its nose into the workflow, CRM and DMS market. In fact there were some vendors who even laughed when Microsoft moved into the WP and database markets – we don't hear them laughing now.

7 replies on “Microsoft says latest Dynamics ERP is suitable for law firms”

They should concentrate on getting their mobile platform right. Too many eggs me thinks…

OK, I can find “legal” once only on the website, next to a photo of a rather gullible-looking customer: http://www.microsoft.com/dynamics/en/us/industries/professional-services.aspx. There is no indication at all of any change in product functionality or any particular interest in selling to law firms. Having looked at this seriously about 3-4 years ago I would say Microsoft are about where they were then i.e. nowhere. Even SAP would be a more serious option than this!

Talking of Microsoft – its surprising just how few law firms actually have a major commitment to MS technology with only about 125 law firms globally (60 in the US, 40 in the UK) having signed up for Microsoft enterprise licence deals

Having worked on a Dynamics CRM project for the last three years, I think that there are still too many fundamental issues that Microsoft need to address before they'll be taken seriously in this area. For all their trumpeting of “familiar look and feel”, there's a distinct lack of this (for example a simple search interface that doesn't require the use of wildcards) in the current Dynamics offering.

I was at Microsoft yesterday being hassled about renewing our EA, so as a diversionary tactic I asked about this product. They are going to double check but as far as the people I was meeting knew it is an Americas and Spanish Language market product and they weren't aware it was even being brought to the UK.

I assume given the “ ..worked on a Dynamics CRM project for the last three years” statement that your comment regarding the known issues is in relation to either CRM v3 or v4.
Dynamics CRM 2011 is different. It offers a powerful business platform for building line of business applications. These applications are referred to as xRM because they optimise the relationship tracking capabilities beyond the typical CRM scenarios. xRM applications are ideal for those markets where customer relationships are central to everything they do – which I see becoming much more important in the UK legal market. Having seen CRM 2011 in action I would suggest it is an excellent fit for the Legal market place .Many of the building blocks (CRM, workflow, document management) are in place which make it easy for legal firms. In my experience legal firms don’t want to be dragged down with technology detail. They just want something that makes it easy for them to do business and this is where CRM would be ideal. I would suggest people take a close look at this before passing criticism. It is one of the best products MS have released for many years –and this coming a cynic before I looked at CRM . The legal market could find big benefits in embracing this type of technology.

I'm sure the some dynamic ERP could be utilized, you would just have to put the write things into practice to be successful.

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