Prosperoware this week announced early availability of its fourth generation client value management platform Umbria, which after five years of taking on board client feedback is a major release that provides greater flexibility to plan, monitor, manage, alert, and report on matters. We spoke to CEO Keith Lipman about what the changes mean for clients and the lessons learned in the five years of working with early pricing adopters.
Umbria’s planning functionality has been redesigned to support both legal project management (LPM) and pricing functions. Monitoring is now provided through a dashboard architecture that can be configured to meet the needs of both clients and partners, and new flexibility in reporting enables partners to quickly report on and export data to fit their clients’ preferred (and often differing) needs.
Client value has changed over the past decade as corporate general counsel are now required to manage both internal and external spend to defined budgets. Law firm partners today must not only deliver high quality legal work, but also manage the financial side of client service. This is exceedingly difficult because there are no standard reporting formats and traditional e-billing task codes, which often fail to capture phases of work and other critical financial metrics, do not provide the needed clarity to make informed matter management decisions. Umbria has been designed to address this challenge by providing flexibility that empowers effective financial matter management.
Lipman told Legal IT Insider: “A decade ago nobody had heard of pricing or LPM and we started about five years ago to understand the problem. Working with the early adopters and getting them to talk about their problems has taken five years. We understand what works and, arguably more importantly, what doesn’t when it comes to planning, alerting, monitoring, reporting, and managing matters. 
“Five years ago people used a machete to create a path but we know know what the path is and the key to what is needed is flexibility. To solve pricing, budgeting, monitoring and reporting you need flexibility because each client and partner want to do it a different way. A partner may come up with a plan but in between you have eBilling with all the various codes and it’s a question of ‘how do you map that all together?’ eBilling doesn’t deliver all the reporting so clients are asking their law firms to do the reporting against underlying metrics.
“If you want to deliver on client service you need to deliver in the way the client wants. We rebuilt Umbria to deliver all the critical pieces. It meets the needs of both LPM and pricing: pricing come up with a price per phase against profitability or any KPI. LPM looks at how that phase is delivered and how they assign people for each part. The design we’ve just done facilitates that for the first time; it’s different to what we did before and different to what anyone else can do.”
He adds: “This all came from clients. We have been running a client focus group over the past five years and last year said ‘now we understand the problem. People are very excited about it because it delivers on everything they have asked for. It’s amazing how long it took to understand the problem and when people tell me they are building software like this I say ‘have fun with that!'”
Existing Umbria clients will upgrade in around the Fall. Current clients include Clifford Chance, Ballard Spahr; Barnes & Thornburg; Sheppard Mullin and Winston & Strawn.
To learn more about the new features in Umbria 2019.1, click here.
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