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Why one US law firm switched from iManage to Worldox

Added on the 25th Apr 2012 at 6:17 pm

Guest article by Steve Swaney, Director of Information Technology, Smith, Currie & Hancock LLP

Smith, Currie & Hancock LLP is nationally recognized for its work focused on legal issues facing the construction industry. Based in Atlanta, we have eight offices throughout the United States. As Director of Information Technology, I was recently involved in Smith Currie’s decision to convert to the Worldox Document Management System (DMS), from Autonomy’s iManage system.

Three horse race ?

Over time, we had grown dissatisfied with the technical and customer support we were receiving from Autonomy, so we started considering other options. We looked at several vendors, including the incumbent Autonomy, Worldox and NetDocuments, which is a web-based DMS. Of the three, we kept hearing positive feedback about Worldox from World Software Corporation, so we were keen to investigate that one further.

If we were going to stay with Autonomy iManage, we knew were going to need to upgrade our server hardware significantly, due to the requirements of the software. We did not want to do this because of its complexity and expense. Regarding NetDocuments, we had concerns specifically about bandwidth and third-party integration between its cloud-based DMS and our other desktop applications. For a number of reasons, it was clear that cloud products like NetDocuments were not right for us.

In reviewing our options, we saw that Worldox would be a powerful platform that would work just as well as Autonomy iManage for Smith Currie’s particular needs, and it would be easy to use and maintain. Worldox was rich in key features, such as email management and document security, and our early experience indicated that they provided the superior technical support we had been lacking in our experience with Autonomy iManage. And even with less expensive hardware requirements than Autonomy’s, it could also be scaled up to support all eight of our offices.

After vetting Worldox within our IT department, we approached the firm’s technology committee and presented them with an overview of the program and the case for buying it. Everyone ultimately agreed that Worldox was the best choice, and we moved forward to purchase it in November 2010.

Following our decision to convert to Worldox, we were ready to move forward immediately because we had already carried out an Exchange upgrade. We were able to repurpose our existing server as the Worldox indexer, because it did not require a new, high-powered server. We started upgrade testing just a few weeks after that. Then, after installing and implementing a pilot program in mid-January 2011, we began conducting training. One week before converting the Atlanta office, our largest location, we trained everyone on the software. The staff training was completed in one week. The conversion from iManage to Worldox was done over a single weekend, handled expertly by my team in collaboration with Rob Nagy, World Software’s professional services manager, and Worldox Systems integrator David Moon of Lan-Tech Inc.

After a seamless installation and document migration, we noticed several improvements immediately. One of these was the file organization. With iManage, the staff members had been saving documents in folders according to who authored the document. This caused problems because if lawyers or staff left the firm, their documents were still stored under their names which over time it was hard to find documents properly. Worldox’s Workspaces feature enabled our users  to arrange documents according to client and matter, while the underlying folder structure was still organized by author, so we had the best of both worlds.

Another improvement was Worldox’s email management system, which has been enormously helpful. Since some of our users save massive amounts of emails, so we needed an efficient way to manage them. About one-quarter of the staff is now taking advantage of the email management feature and finds it very useful, and we anticipate more people adopting it in the near future.

Set it and forget it

Concerning setup, each office has its own repository, and the staff is taking advantage of the document sharing features Worldox affords. All offices are interconnected, allowing staff to see other users’ files and even edit them, using version control to preserve previous renditions of the document. Version control is especially popular with our lawyers and staff. Worldox allows us to “set it and forget it” and doesn’t require a lot of administration behind the scenes. Moreover, Worldox is simple without being scaled down, and it is versatile and feature-rich.

In addition to all the features we gained by converting to Worldox, we also solved our initial problem of technical support. Worldox customer support is positive, responsive and knowledgeable. Our phone calls and emails are returned promptly, and each member of their staff knows the software inside and out. In every respect, Worldox has provided the answers to our challenges and has made our firm more productive on a daily basis.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Bizarre bizarre bizarre, like reading an article from the 90s

  2. Geoff says:

    iManage has has been able to organise documents by client and matter for years. As a reseller of WorkSite we certainly had some issues getting the new Autonomy IDOL indexer implemented correctly after Autonomy acquired iNterwoven/iManage. Intial revs were a bit rough but it’s smooth as butter now. IDOL needs a properly speced server but thereafter it’s terrific. It sounds like the key to this clients dissatisfaction is poor account management and support. Was it direct with iManage or through a reseller?

  3. Q. says:

    I have been using iManage 8.2 through 9.0, and it does require a lot of admin energy to manage it. If you have the right tools and staff, then it seems like a smooth operation. I am now at a smaller firm, and I am finding it difficult to manage since I an by far not an expert. As for support, I have seen a bit of what is being discussed here. My initial email request took 3 days to be responded to, but initial follow-up emails have been prompt. Not all organizations and products are 100% satisfactory, so I would have though that the CIO at this firm should have communicated the firm’s frustrations with the account rep.

  4. Ben says:

    This does seem like an odd and backwards step. Worldox is great for a smaller firm, but iManage is far more robust and scalable and, if SETUP CORRECTLY (which it would seem theirs was not), is flawless. It does require proper care and feeding, but, that’s why the entire “ecosystem” of partners exist – and that care and feeding is still less expensive than a costly conversion to a different product. As far as the comment regarding need for new, powerful hardware – is he joking? Hardware is seriously cheap these days and everyone is virtualized (making it even cheaper to add an incremental “server,” really), so, that comment is indeed bizarre.

  5. Not Ben says:

    Ben, how has working for iManage been going for you?

  6. Not Not Been says:

    Not Been,

    How is working for Worldox treating YOU?

    Rather than diminish someone else’s comment try contributing something worthwhile to the discussion.

    If you knew anything about the nature of how Worldox is architected you would know that it is not even in the same class as Worksite. It doesn’t come close to being as scalable and robust as Worksite. Heck, the profile/text indexer runs on a workstation class machine for gods sake. Try doing anything customized with that ISYS database and see how it works out for you. Also, it is easy for users of Worldox to get around using the DMS. This makes it a nightmare for the IT staff. Worksite is architected in a manner that makes it very difficult for the user to circumvent. May not sound like much but it becomes a big deal very quickly.

    If you are looking for a entry level DMS for a smaller firm Worldox may be the answer. If you are looking for a best in class DMS that is scalable and offers additional options like records management and content management, Worksite is the best option.

  7. Greg says:

    I will concur with Ben and Geoff on this. iManage/interwoven/whatever has all the of features and much more scalability.

    The note about suddenly being able to manage by matter was very surprising. If you have any idea about long-term legal document management you will plan for the fact that lawyers come and go and matters will be transferred between attorneys.

    In addition, the nicest feature of iManage was being able to set up workspaces with virtual folders that assigned document metadata based upon the folder selected. I’m now trying to replicate that functionality in SharePoint Document Libraries.

    Gregory Smith

Any Comment?