The latest incarnation of Tikit’s Template Management System (TMS v6.0) was released on Thursday at their launch event at the BT Tower, London. The Insider was present at the launch (see also video clip of interview with Tikit’s Mark Garnish) and here are some of our first thoughts…
• No-code template design – which means template creators can develop their own templates out-of-the-box without the assistance of developers – and developers can concentrate on other projects
• Uses latest native features of Microsoft Office 2010/2013 – if the functioning already exists in Word, Tikit will employ it rather than use third-party or proprietory technology
• Built in Windows Workflow
• Native DMS connectivity for all major systems
• Time recording integration – with Carpe Diem
• We were also childishly impressed by the translation-function and the <click> to convert from English to Arabic, Chinese or French!
Template Management has traditionally been about helping firms manage multiple templates across multiple languages in multiple offices. Tikit have a good reputation for this, with plenty of firms in the top 100 using their software, including 6 in the top 20. One of the difficulties with template deployment in general is that most firms want so much from their standard templates including integration with document management systems, CRM system and even PMS systems. When they want to provide several options to users, sometimes involving complex VBA or C# dialogues, they need to get developers involved to provide the functionality required. This restricts firms when it comes to rolling out new versions of Office (and many firms are upgrading to Office 2010 or 2013 now) as they cannot take advantage of the latest native features of Office without redeveloping their templates – often at great expense.
Tikit have addressed this issue with their “no code” approach to template development in TMS v6. They claim to have reduced deployment times of template solutions by in excess of 75%. Clearly these claims are difficult to validate but judging by the estimates given by audience members at the launch and the demonstration we saw of a new, fairly complex template being created from scratch (even allowing for Word crashing midway through the demo) the early signals are that they have achieved their aim.
Whilst TMS v6 still supports traditional dialogues (albeit using XAML based form design rather than traditional Winforms), Tikit have made extensive use of the native Office content controls and the MS Office task pane. This is a new approach which allows users to take advantage of the latest features of MS Office whilst retaining control of their templates. Tikit carried out focus meetings early in 2012 to ask firms how they wanted to use MS Office if there weren’t any restrictions and this was one of the key findings.
The flexibility of TMS v6 is based around Tikit’s use of Windows Workflow allowing users to determine how their template workflow should be designed – again all without code.
One really interesting part of their demonstration included sending a document to a client (or other party) who doesn’t have TMS. In the example we saw it was a simple contact form where the client provided additional contact data or corrected erroneous information and then emailed the form back to the sender. TMS was able to detect what data had changed and then (subject to permission) update the central record. This would be particularly useful for keeping CRM systems updated without re-keying data.
Unsurprisingly, given Tikit’s recent promotion of a new way of time recording (capturing time as the work is done rather than immediately afterwards or at the end of the day/week), TMS v6 integrates directly with Carpe Diem. TMS v6 has an “activity” as part of its workflow which allows users to automatically post time spent as a result of creating a document. This reduces the time taken to capture the details and makes sure that time is captured immediately.
TMS v6 includes native connectivity to any document management system with specific additional connectors for iManage and InterAction and several more planned including SharePoint.
We understand one UK top 30 firm has already implemented TMS and that two more are expected to follow over the next few weeks, including one that is making it part of its Windows 8/Office 2013 rollout.
COMMENT: (1) Although this is an all-new product compared with TMS 5.5 – Tikit felt it would not be possible to achieve what they wanted merely by tinkering with the old system – for users on support contracts, it is available as a standard upgrade. (Yes, you don’t have to buy the software again.) And, Tikit are also saying they have no plans to end-of-life 5.5.
(2) Tikit are keen to stress TMS is not intended to be a document assembly/document automation tool but admit users can perform many of the tasks some law firms are currently only able to achieve with products, such as HotDocs. And, with TMS, it can be achieved by a Word user rather than a specialist document assembly developer.
(3) Some of the delegates we spoke to at the launch reckoned the latest version of TMS could make inroads into the US and give the likes of Microsystems and Legal MacPac a run for their money.
(4) Oh – and the view from the top of BT Tower is pretty good. If you get a chance to get to one of the events that Tikit hold there, you should go (see second part of the video).