For many years, Colin Biggers & Paisley relied on an in-house intranet built atop an old version of SharePoint. SharePoint was essentially a platform to publish internal documents and notices and more of a storage repository. As the practice updated its technology stack, its IT team quickly realised that the SharePoint system was not connecting efficiently to its new core systems: Elite 3E practice management, iManage Cloud document management, and InterAction contact management system. Many processes had remained manual, costing them time and money. The practice needed a streamlined and modernised solution.
Aderant was a name the practice’s CIO, Sam Sofianos, recognised. He had heard about Handshake’s out-of-the-box knowledge management intranet which both complements and extends SharePoint’s capabilities.
A benefit for Colin Biggers & Paisley was that Handshake’s technology could bring all its data into one centralised place. They did not have to start over with a new foundational system, since at its core, Handshake builds upon and enhances SharePoint’s native capabilities. Handshake also provides pre-configured connectors to Elite 3E, iManage Cloud, and InterAction, which makes accessing information from those platforms and centralising it into a new intranet effortless. The practice purchased Handshake in December 2019.
Successful Integration and Implementation
Aderant moved swiftly to get the rollout planning underway. Working with Aderant’s Professional Services team allowed Sofianos and the team to keep up with the aggressive project timeline. Ultimately, Colin Biggers & Paisley chose a phased approach to the Handshake implementation and deployed the software to selected practice groups, one at a time. As the process moved through each practice group, individuals were trained to be content contributors.
While core tech systems can vary, Handshake is designed to connect all sources of data, regardless of PMS. Implementing Handshake did require the practice to update some of its core platforms to ensure a smooth transition. However, once all systems were updated and Handshake was in place, it allowed for a seamless connection and transfer of data between multiple sources within the practice.
Collaborating with Aderant to Complete Deployment
Though an in-person implementation was initially planned, COVID restrictions changed the approach. Sofianos worked remotely with Aderant’s Professional Services team throughout the entire process. Collaborating with Aderant in the cloud propelled the project forward and reinforced the practice’s need for both a single source of truth for practice data and an efficient way to communicate across multiple offices.
Aderant’s technical professionals guided Sofianos and his team through the integration process to bring Elite, iManage, and InterAction data into Handshake. These well-tested and heavily utilised connectors presented no issues throughout the integration process.
The entire rollout process, including updates to the various business systems, took approximately twelve months from inception to completion. This was longer than a typical Handshake implementation for a practice of Colin Biggers & Paisley’s size because internally the IT team was juggling practice-wide priorities for a shift to work-from-home in conjunction with the Handshake rollout. Despite the number of internal projects underway at the practice, the project moved forward and was completed successfully.
The practice’s niche IT and development team collaborated closely with Aderant Professional Services to customise Handshake. The Aderant team empowered the practice ensuring that it had all the training and tools needed to move forward. By the end of the Handshake installation, the practice’s technical staff was fully equipped to manage the technology on an ongoing basis without having to lean substantially on Aderant.
Making a Difference – Handshake speeds up processes and data access
Sofianos reported that Handshake has substantially increased the speed of the practice’s processes and data access. SharePoint by its very nature is persona-driven, meaning that people are given rights to access data that is relevant to their role. Managing partners and leaders often want to see information at a practice or practice area level, including month-to-date/year-to-date reporting. Because Handshake connects the practice’s users to the financial/accounting, document management, and contact management systems, their IT team can deliver combinations of data to the practice’s end-users.
Feedback from leaders in the practice on Handshake’s financial data presentation capabilities has been very positive. The system is accessible, containing links to recent matters, Twitter feeds, and access to client contacts, documents, and financial information regarding budgets and billing. Being able to surface relevant data quickly on a personalised level has saved the practice’s lawyers time that would otherwise be devoted to sorting through folders and documents.
From a technical support standpoint, Handshake has significantly reduced email traffic. IT can now disseminate information by posting directly to the intranet. Sofianos feels more confident that messages are reaching their intended audiences, versus being lost in the depths of someone’s inbox. Additionally, for the IT team at Colin Biggers & Paisley, it was great to have something that worked well “out-of-the-box.” That was a huge determining factor in Sofianos’s search for a solution, and Handshake certainly delivered.
The Future with Handshake
The new Handshake intranet is still evolving, and Aderant continues to enhance and extend the technology’s functionality. The practice’s next goal is to integrate Microsoft Teams into the solution.
Sofianos remarked that Handshake has been a great solution for Colin Biggers & Paisley. His team has been impressed with the speed of implementation and rich functionality. The practice’s partnership with Aderant has been strong, especially with its technical team. The practice has developed a great rapport with Aderant, and they look forward to continuing to build upon Handshake and discovering other ways that it can benefit the practice.
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