In a move that will undoubtedly create more than a few shockwaves across the legal IT market, Tikit has announced a worldwide partnership agreement with cloud-based document management system provider NetDocuments.

Tikit, which has a longstanding relationship with DMS market leader iManage, has entered into a full global partnership with NetDocuments, to include sales, implementation and support across its global network.

According to Tikit’s CEO Katherine Ainley, the deal is a reflection of Tikit’s strategy and heritage of bringing leading edge products to market and offering customer choice. She told Legal IT Insider: “It’s quite clear that cloud technology is at a tipping point and we are seeing compelling need for more breadth in this space.

“We pride ourselves in looking at our customers differently; in looking at their ecosystem and building a partnership with them and looking for the right solution. This is about finding the right solutions and taking that holistic view.

“The benefit is two-way: it will be great for us and for NetDocuments. It’s all about being able to give law firms choice regardless of what they want their document management system to look like. We wanted to be able to offer the right solutions across the market and across the different sizes and technology strategies.”

The move will no doubt be unwelcomed by iManage, which has worked with Tikit for over 15 years and has recently enhanced its own cloud offering. iManage in July 2015 completed a management buyout from HP, since when it has been investing heavily in developing and upgrading its solutions. One attendee at iManage’s ConnectLive user conference said: “All the feedback that came out of the iManage conference was extremely positive. If Tikit was going to do this they should have done it 18 months ago, before iManage fully got its cloud offering off the ground.”

However, Ainley said: “As far as we’re concerned this doesn’t change our relationship with iManage and the key thing is that we will continue to support our customers. Our view is simply that for different clients there will be a different solution.

“All our partners form a fundamental part of Tikit’s ongoing strategy and we look forward to offering our customers the benefits of the new partnership with NetDocuments.”

iManage today (22 June) sent out a statement as follows: “With the recent iManage ConnectLive event and renewed energy and focus, iManage has an extremely vibrant and growing partner ecosystem.  Since becoming an independent company, we have added over 20 new partners across all regions.  You may have been notified that Tikit has added a competitive DMS product to its sales offering. Katherine Ainley stated “Our existing partnership arrangements will continue without change. Tikit remains committed to iManage as a product. Our clients and prospects should be assured that our partnership announcement with NetDocuments will have no impact on our support or on-going commitment to iManage. We will continue to actively promote iManage across the market. We have no plans to proactively target our iManage customers to migrate them to NetDocuments.”  

Tikit, which is part of BT Group, has more than 1,450 law firm clients globally, including 90 of the UK’s top 100 law firms, over 600 UK mid-market firms, and 250 US firms including over 60 Am Law firms. NetDocuments, which is headquartered in Utah and has begun its own global expansion, such as the opening of a data centre in Australia in 2015, will work with Tikit across its global network.

Matt Duncan, CEO at NetDocuments said, “We are thrilled about our partnership with Tikit. Tikit is trusted by nearly 1,500 legal customers around the globe, and our new partnership will accelerate the adoption of cloud-based document and email management globally. Tikit’s expertise in the legal market combined with NetDocuments’ modern technology platform will help clients stay ahead in today’s ever-changing legal and business landscape.”