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CRM shake up: Bakers becomes first Intapp DealCloud law firm client

Added on the 13th Mar 2019 at 9:37 am
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Baker McKenzie has become the first law firm client of Intapp’s newly-acquired professional services deal and client relationship management system DealCloud, we can reveal, in a move that is likely to lead to a further shakeup of the legal CRM market.

Bakers, which will swap out LexisNexis InterAction, is already a client of Intapp’s professional services platform, which it uses for new business intake, experience management, conflicts management, time recording, confidentiality management, workflow and data integration.

The DealCloud integration, which Intapp’s president Dan Tacone tells us is substantially built, will see the CRM and business development platform auto populated by the likes of Intake and Open Experience, remedying the perennial CRM issue that fee-earners don’t have the time – or lack the inclination – to enter details about their clients into the system. It also integrates with the Microsoft Office stack.

DealCloud, which was acquired by Intapp in August 2018, specialises in CRM and deal management for investment banking and private equity firms and while its acquisition was part of a play by Intapp to expand its offering outside of legal, it was clear at the outset that it would sell the concept of a professional services CRM back to its law firm client base.

Speaking to Legal IT Insider, global chief operating officer Jason Marty (pictured) said: “We have seen a shift among law firms towards enterprise software. I’ve been sceptical of CRM systems, but we’ve had a different experience and in DealCloud there is a new approach.

“It’s been developed for financial institutions and professionals managing groups across entities where work is referred and done in a professional context and not a linear way. DealCloud gives you views across the various sectors and practices and locations and role types, which by itself is attractive but then Intapp provides the integration.”

Intapp’s conflicts solution is integrated with external corporate information from Dun & Bradstreet and Marty said: “It gives you many configurable angles on your data,” adding, “We don’t have to populate it, it’s much more than a CRM.”

It should be noted that while native integration and automation of data entry is an obvious selling point for DealCloud, mainstream legal CRMs including LexisNexis Interaction and OnePlace both say they automate data entry and Introhive, which syncs contacts and activities from Outlook and other business systems to the CRM, is making good headway – including entering partnership with the likes of Tikit and Wilson Allen (formerly Wilson Legal Solutions.)

It is unclear how much data Bakers will be able to import from other systems into DealCloud, but Marty said: “Historical data almost doesn’t matter, it’s what we do from now.”

DealCloud – as you’d guess from the label on the tin – is cloud-based and in certain jurisdictions data will have to be excluded or anonymised. But it does mean that partners in many if not most jurisdictions will, on the way to a meeting, be able to call up client details and create notes in the system on the go.

The target go-live on the first set of clients is this summer. While DealCloud is new to the legal sector Marty said: “DealCloud lives in 400 institutions, it’s not like we’re buying new software.”

Bakers, which in the year ending June 2018 generated $2.9bn, has long looked outside of mainstream legal systems and was one of the first law firms to buy SAP, which it rolled out in December 2014, after supplementing SAP with Fulcrum GT’s Pro Billing for Legal. As we revealed last week, the firm will also this month (17 March) begin rolling out ServiceNow to streamline the requests coming into its global professional business support function.

DealCloud and ServiceNow are part of a three-year efficiency drive at Bakers known as PBS21, which is seeing the firm focus on the creation of more efficient processes and avoidance of reinventing the wheel.

In a release out later today (13 March) Dan Surowiec, Bakers’ chief information officer, says: “A key reason for our decision to choose DealCloud is its purpose-built architecture. Traditional CRM platforms are based on the sales department pipeline model, which doesn’t align with the way leading law firms like Baker McKenzie operate to develop client relationships. With DealCloud, we will have a solution built specifically for our needs giving a single, all-encompassing view of clients, people networks, and prospects.”

The CRM market has long been dominated by LexisNexis InterAction, but as we first revealed in March 2016, OnePlace – a Salesforce based CRM – won Bird & Bird as a client and has gone on to win firms including Reed Smith, DAC Beachcroft and Howard Kennedy as well as hiring highly rated sales director Gareth Thomas from iManage RAVN.

Speaking to Legal IT Insider, Tacone said: “When you think of a CRM you think of companies with sales team that sell things. Law firms don’t view themselves as sellers of anything. They are providing valuable legal and strategy advice to clients based on their expertise globally. They are advisers, not sales people, so their needs are different than a firm that would be a candidate for Salesforce.”

He adds: “Baker McKenzie has spent a lot of money on branding to position themselves as a single global firm and has amassed a wonderful brand with practices across the globe. Part of PBS21 is that they want to serve clients in a more global way and to do that you have to have a 360 degree view of a client, including what work they’ve done, or are pitching to them, or what other firms are doing that they should be doing.

“Every firm you talk to says ‘the lawyers just aren’t going to use it. The reason is because we’re asking them to enter data – they don’t have time for that.’ In the past, marketing would do it from a pitch. But with our platform we’re gathering rich data that’s informing the system. Our experience capability tracks who knows who and what and has done what kind of work – that’s important and can feed into DealCloud. It can update the information so if a lawyer is doing a pitch in Italy, that goes right into the system and that experience is captured: the type of work and client is captured and doesn’t need to be re-keyed.”

We will be writing an article about the CRM market for the March Orange Rag, please contact editor caroline.hill@liti.co.uk to be involved

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