*Updated as at 24 January, see below
In a blow to customers of Thomson Reuters Elite Business Development Premier (rebranded as 3E Business Development) the CRM system launched in 2013 is to be sunsetted after what is understood to be a lack of significant uptake. The data engine ContactNet (now rebranded 3E Business Development Data Engine) will going forward be sold as a standalone module.
BDP (as it is still best known), will be put in maintenance mode for seven years.
It comes in the midst of a wholesale restructure of Thomson Reuters and we understand that the BDP development team in the United States has already been made redundant. While TR is still focussed on business development, its high level strategy is to move away from what it refers to as automated marketing activity.
It is further bad news for firms having to move off sunsetted practice management system Elite Enterprise, but unlike in that instance, where TRE is striving to move existing customers to its flagship PMS 3E (contributing to the current wide state of flux in the PMS market), in this case there is no new CRM to move to, meaning customers will now have to look elsewhere for a new system.
BDP is based on Microsoft Dynamics, where the cost of licensing fees may have been a contributing factor.
However, in the UK, the CRM system has only one client live – Brodies in 2016 went live on BDP. Brodies only in January announced that they have selected Aderant Expert in place of Elite Enterprise but told us at the time of that announcement that they would continue to leverage their investment in BDP.
It is understood that other UK firms that took BDP as part of the 3E suite of products are yet to make any progress with it. In the US, BDP has around 30 to 40 clients.
In one piece of good news, for clients of TR’s legacy sunsetted business development solution BDS (such as Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer), support was to end in 2021 with the view that clients would move to BDP, but both will now be supported until 2026.
3E Business Development Data Engine, which used to be sold separately, is used by corporates including Deloitte.
This latest news will not help rumours that TR is sunsetting MatterSphere, a rumour which is strongly denied by the company. Rumours are also doing the rounds that TR is ditching 3E, which are also said to be completely untrue.
Here is the statement from TR re BDP, or 3E Business Development as it’s correctly referred to:
“Thomson Reuters Elite is in the midst of a transformation to more sharply focus on its core competency of providing solutions that bring together data, tools, and insights to drive lawyer and law firm decision-making.
“The automation of marketing activities for marketing and business development teams—a core strength of 3E Business Development—does not fall within this new vision for Elite. As such, we will no longer be offering 3E Business Development to new customers, and existing customers will need to transition to an alternative solution in the years ahead. We are fully committed to minimizing any disruption for current users of 3E Business Development as they plan for the future.”
*We have amended this article to reflect the fact that ContactNet has been rebranded as 3E Business Development Data Engine as per comments below.