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Trending… LexisNexis to exit the PMS market with sale of LexisOne

Added on the 17th Jan 2019 at 6:00 pm
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It’s been rumoured for a while but we can confirm for the first time that LexisNexis is to exit the practice management system market with the sale of enterprise resource planning system LexisOne, which is being acquired by Dynamics 365 gold partner SAGlobal.

The sale will be a blow to early law firm adopters of the Microsoft Dynamics 365-based ERP, which has, despite the success stories surrounding its flagship law firm customer Fieldfisher, failed to gain significant traction in the legal sector, with one CIO recently commenting quite simply, “Dynamics is not proven.”

The sale comes despite very considerable investment in LexisOne by LexisNexis, which at the end of 2015 opened a Leeds-based R&D facility intended to be the UK hub of product development for LexisOne. While the Leeds office is also the hub for long-established case management system Visualfiles, at the time the Leeds office opened, enterprise solutions general manager Andy Sparkes said: “This is part of our investment in and commitment to LexisOne.”

Nonetheless Browne Jacobson, which selected LexisOne in 2014, has endured a prolonged and difficult implementation, and Wedlake Bell, which selected LexisOne in 2014, in February last year announced that it had reversed that decision and selected Thomson Reuters Elite 3E.

While Wedlake Bell’s managing partner refused to be drawn at the time on the reasons for the reversal, it came in the wake of a wholesale rewrite of LexisOne that saw it change – post its selection by Wedlake Bell – from being a Microsoft AX on premises solution to a native Azure SaaS offering built on Dynamics 365.

It is not known whether listed law firm Gateley, which we revealed last June had selected LexisOne but hadn’t signed, has now inked that deal.

Firms will inevitably be asking how SAGlobal will be able to succeed where Lexis has failed. However, the company is a gold certified worldwide Microsoft Dynamics 365 implementation partner and is the only Dynamics 365 partner able to offer CRM, ERP and HCP to professional services firms. It has been significantly ramping up its legal capability and last year joined forces with 360 Vertical Solutions.

The combined company, which has around 600 employees operating out of offices in 18 countries around the world, operates as SAGlobal, albeit that it retains the Legal360 brand name.

The sale will further shake up the legal PMS market, following the news that Oracle is to launch a dedicated legal PMS, and given the wholesale restructure by Thomson Reuters that has left many in the market confused as to how its legal tech division Elite is operating post restructure.

Given that LexisNexis’ parent RELX Group is listed, Lexis, which declined to comment, can be expected to notify the stock exchange of the sale imminently.

52 Comments

  1. The one with a hole says:

    It’s just a matter of time until the other disastrous Dynamics experiment gives up as well

      • The one with a hole says:

        talk to any owning firm – Simply does not work, poor functionality, poor integration between CRM & SharePoint, fails to reliably track emails, very slow to operate with clunking user interface, regular platform outages, disaffected user base – major problems moving between versions (v1 to cx is a throw away/start again).

        Very hard and costly to get even the basics working – requires dramatic increases staffing needs in finance & it teams.

        In summary costs a fortune whilst adding no business value – prediction most owning firms will move away on renewal.

  2. Neil Cameron says:

    What timing – one PMS in, and one (potentially) out.

    As I said in my post on the new Oracle PMS last week:

    “The journey from ERP to PMS is fraught with difficulties and dangers – ever since Norton Rose thought they could implement D&B Millennium as a finance system in the 1990s – by taking a world class generic accounting system and adding the legal bits’. Those ‘legal bits’ can be hugely complex and often take much longer to build in than anticipated – ask LexisNexis.”

    It was always going to be a harder job than they anticipated – at one stage they did appear to committing the right degree of planning and resources into it, but that seems to have waned. It now sounds like senior management has just lost patience with the extending timescales, concomitant costs and slow sales.

    The shift to Azure was badly handled and wrong-footed some of their customers, and this will have reduced the number of satisfied reference sites, which will – in turn – have made it more difficult to sell.

    Customers will be worried; but one supposes that selling it off is better for them than LexisNexis shutting it down.

    The key issues, as always in such instances, are (a) whether SAG have, or will acquire, sufficient legal expertise to finish it off, support & develop it, and sell to the legal profession, and (b) how long they themselves will be willing to commit to the product if it does not fulfil their sales & revenue expectations.

    A further conundrum, is what law firms that rely on case management will do now that LexisOne has been split off from its hitherto strategic stablemate, Visualfiles…

    • Vin says:

      Neil I think you’re out dated on your info. Last time I saw a demo the two had no integration and were treated as seperate products. The suggestion was for us to integrate the two internally via APIs. Visfiles was great but Lexis1 was far from.

      In my eyes as ITD I would assess a product not on a stablemate as you refer to it (sounds like they tried to set up 3 standalone products as opposed to stablemates though?) but rather on its ability to fulfill our requirements. Lexis have been stale within the market due to the investment in Lexis 1 at the expense of solid leading products(Interaction CRM/ Visfiles). Sad to hear they have quit in their attempts to crack new markets. They should have stayed with CMS/CRM where they are proven as a supplier.

  3. NC says:

    Not altogether a surprise. They couldn’t get critical mass needed and struggled to integrate InterAction leaving any potential customer with a forced Hybrid cloud/on-premise model.

    With TRE ditching 3E, and Peppermint struggling to scale the Dynamics CRM engine into a PMS, Champagne bottles must be popping at Aderant.

    • SJ says:

      Hi NC, really interested in your comment about TRE ditching 3e. Is this confirmed? Source? Thanks, SJ

    • SJ says:

      Hi NC, I am really interested in your comment about 3e. Is that confirmed? Source? Thanks, SJ

    • Huh? says:

      TRE ditching 3E??? or was it more TR ditching TRE?

    • The one with a hole says:

      Aderant is hardly a nirvana!

      Here’s to hoping this causes the suppliers to innovate. Complacency due to lack of competition is bad for consumers.

      Had LexNex been focused on their core strengths they would not be in this mess with ERP. The champagne bottles will be popping at aderant but not on their own merit more of the appalling attempt by LexNex in their ERP pursuit.

      Does this mean they place focus on developing Visualfiles and Interaction? Long overdue refresh in the products would be welcomed. Concerning we never hear of LexNex in the press? What’s going on with them?

  4. Ian M says:

    LexisNexis obviously are not a software house. Given that Visualfiles is still by far the best case management system out there so I can’t imagine them being quick to put that on the market.

    The PMS to ERP journey is difficult no matter what resource is behind you. A bad acquisition for SA IMO.

    LexisNexis should have sold ERP yonks ago rather than plod on with a poor investment.

  5. ANO says:

    Wow, comments on LTI pages, must be big news! Curious comment about VisFiles Neil was it ever a LOne bedfellow? Strikes me it allows the shackles to be removed. VisFiles as a best of breed that can now work with any PMS again!

    • Anon says:

      I’d always thought MatterSphere gave VF a run for it’s money. What makes it better?

    • Neil Cameron says:

      Not ‘bedfellow’, the word I used was ‘stablemate’. They weren’t integrated, but LexisNexis always held out the promise that they would be – and some firms I think selected LexisOne on that basis…

  6. Steve Dobson says:

    A complete lack of class here from the Rag. Is it more important to be first with the news or respect people who’s life might be affected by news they have not had? It’s worse that you will have been asked to wait because of that and still went ahead.

    • Charles Christian says:

      The Insider is and always has been an independent publication – as we say on our “Tell Us Your News” page… If you want to vet anything we write about you before we print it, forget it – we do not submit to copy controls.

    • Caroline Hill says:

      It’s difficult to comment on this publicly for a number of reasons but we made very significant compromises on timing.

      • Steve Dobson says:

        Charles, Caroline,

        No issues with the content and agree your work works because it’s not repressed. However, waiting less than 24 hours and not having people have a sleepless night not knowing what the next day brings was a choice under your control. Your standing in the market did not need it and maybe if there is a next time you might pause and think about who the news really impacts. I respect you both, but can’t on this one.

    • Tom says:

      LIT (orange rag) are a business. It’s quite obvious with the spin on their articles there is a profit to be made here, have a read through some of the statements they make about successes in products at firms is on the back of payments made to them. I know as I have been at 2 firms they have published ‘PR’ about which gave glowing praise to sub standard suppliers at the expense of other firms being blocked from the truth. He who pays the piper plays the tune comes to mind. Charles is about as impartial as a Spurs fan watching the London derby. Big supporter of LIT but there is an air of dancing jubilantly at what’s perceived by Caroline and company as a failure in this post. Why not post helpful things and get in touch with serious firms discussing their IT innovations to trigger conversations between Legal software users as opposed to picking and choosing irrelevant ‘big’ wins. No IT leader needs to know about a 10 user firm taking on a printer integration.

      • Caroline Hill says:

        Sounds like you’re not really that familiar with LITI Tom, but take a look at this article setting out how we work https://www.legaltechnology.com/latest-news/legal-tech-circa-2018-and-what-you-can-expect-from-legal-it-insider/
        We’re lucky to have massive support from the vendor community, who understand that at times we will write negative articles, but that that supporting a publication with integrity has value in itself. I set up the Legal IT Newswire so that if we miss things people can self load their own press releases that are published on the site and shared on social media. If at times you think we get it wrong feel free to pick up the phone, all my contact details are available on the site.

      • Charles Christian says:

        “Charles is about as impartial as a Spurs fan watching the London derby” – I can assure you I’ve never knowingly watched a game of football in my life. Of course I have my bete noires – which were quite clearly going to be car crashes from the moment they were first rolled out of the garage – and I can’t resist pointing this out when they inevitably do crash and burn – but that’s because I can take an objective viewpoint and am not working in a law firm embroiled in the toxic soup of partnership politics. As for making money on the back of payments, I’d have retired years ago if that was the case. We’ve always been strictly against pay-to-play/payola/advertorial – I fear you are confusing the Insider with other publications. The trouble with being an objective publication is we sometimes have to write stuff other people find objectionable.

      • Spot On says:

        Spot on – Sadly the Orange Rag has developers a rather sensational tabloid style of reporting in recent years. As such it has largely lost its way as a quality thought provoking magazine.

        Full of tittle tattle and biased news

        It’s very noticeable that after every negative article the vendor becomes a sponsorship vendor and what a surprise no more negative articles

        Most people just view the orange rag for what it is – a low level gossip and scandal rag

        • Caroline Hill says:

          Hehe, thanks for taking the time to comment ‘Spot On’, whoever you are.

        • Charles Christian says:

          Actually when I launched the Insider in 1995 I always intended it to be a gossip and scandal rag featuring sensational tabloid style reporting and full of tittle tattle – a cross between Private Eye and The Register – that’s why nearly 25 years on people still read it whereas at least a dozen wannabe quality thought provoking legal magazines have come… and then gone to join the choir eternal. As for “sponsorship vendors” – nope, you’re confusing us with other publications. But there again I appreciate you are only a sock-puppet troll.

  7. Andy Stokes says:

    With the Oracle PMS news last week, and now the news about LexisNexis (LN) LexisOne, then interesting times certainly lie ahead in 2019. Forget AI and innovation, at present many firms with ‘end of life’ systems just need some ‘debit,credit, pkonk!’ in place, and they face a few hard decisions. Or do they?

    Given that the 2 (but let’s be generous and say 3) main head-to-head competitor PMS products out there have an 80% overlap on functionality – and that the mantra of one CFO I’ve worked with when faced with a potential issue was always “Can we still record time and bill it? That’s alright then!” then it’s not as though there are no viable systems out there that can get the basics done well. But to paraphrase something I mentioned to a firm yesterday, “The main deciding factor at the moment may not be who’s got the most amount of bling bolted on to make it look pretty for the lawyers, but rather which supplier out of the few realistic options has any resource available to implement a system before sunset arrives for you”. There is little doubt that ‘the main players’ are being successful in the mid-tier right now, but also that they are perhaps struggling to get the level of well experienced personnel in place to get any more projects over the line in a timely manner for late entrants to the ‘sunset club’. At present the main PMS suppliers seem more than happy to work with 3rd parties (something which is certainly not always the case when they have slack capacity) and perhaps if I were 10 years younger and not looking at my own sunset then I’d certainly be looking to take on and train up more staff at the present time.

    Looking ahead it may be that such resource constraints at the main competitors may well force firms to look wider and beyond the obvious choices, so it’s perhaps a good time for Oracle to enter the market; which makes LNs decision to be selling off LexisOne at this point of time even more of an interesting conundrum to unpick. Certainly the changes of direction with the product will not have helped, but one would think that LNs deep corporate pockets could have weathered those storms and kept them in a market which is buoyant with potential earnings although struggling to get resources in place for main competitor offerings.

  8. NCYC says:

    Think we are all too quick to hit the negative button. Earlier in the month Oracle come to market and the comments are very much along the lines of “it wont work”. This story breaks and its all about “failure”. Yet we call out for change and new toys… sounds a little hypocritical. If you want new things you have to broaden your mind and accept some level of compromise.

    Whether you feel LexisNexis has failed or succeeded with ERP. At least they introduced a new concept to the market. Yes maybe that’s been an under estimation of how hard that would be (or looking at the comments, how hard others would make it). But you can’t argue they have had success (unless your only judgement is critical mass). They introduced the concept of a ground up public cloud based platform capable of running a law firm practice as software as a service, a concept of continuous updates (rather than massive upgrade paths) and a concept that changed the implementation model bring law firms closer to the implementation team.

    Both the market leaders (TRE/Aderant) have had their fair share of challenged implementations and have both been sold numerous times over. Look at them now.. PS its taken 20-30 years to get there.

    Perhaps before we slap down the idea of ERP, Oracle, Microsoft or SAP as a failure or will never work, we should look at whether we are ready/able to actually embrace such systems, change or indeed vendors. Or perhaps we are the limited factor to new entrants to the market! What do we need to do to adapt and to make these concepts work… or do we stick with the dinosaur model!

    Maybe some of the consultants that sit between the tech vendors and firms need to help to educate the market more and look to the future and how new concepts and tech can enable firms to do things differently rather than get hooked up on whether the system can post a disbursement (not going to really change the world with that feature are we)!

    It’s a shame that LexisNexis have sold, at least they have acknowledged they cant get to the next step. SA Global have a sound pedigree with Microsoft and have made in roads to the legal world with their CRM acquisition so having a HR and finance solution completes that circle. Perhaps with the increased resources, the evolution of ERP in legal could make a stride forward. Perhaps one day they will even crack that disbursement issue too!

    • Impartial says:

      Agreed!

      We’re all too scared to be brave and take these emerging platforms seriously and embrace new technology. Let’s all play it safe and move from our sun-setting system to something else that is already at least 10 years old because it’s what everyone else does!

      • Charles Christian says:

        If only some of the systems were only 10 years old – there are plenty that have 20 years on the clock

        • Impartial says:

          I was being kind. The two “main players” have ageing systems with plenty of flaws, and failed implementations. But their entrenched in the marketplace. So hard for new entrants to get any traction.

          • Charles Christian says:

            What you say is perfectly true – it’s the legal IT equivalent of nobody ever got fired for buying IBM – nobody ever got fired for buying Elite even tho there are cheaper more modern systems that’ll do the job just as well. LexisOne was an attempt to do this but – as has been mentioned before – LexisNexis are not software developers – they are a company that has bought software development companies and then hoped… well maybe that the magic would rub off on them? As for Elite – well the original (Unix) Enterprise system was developed a quarter of a century ago.

  9. Michael Cohen says:

    I’ll have you know LexisOne is a great product with a fantastic team behind it. This author is an incredulous, frankly clueless in regards to the current Legal market. ERP shall forever continue to persist. Glory to LexisOne

  10. Russell says:

    Not a surprise – they are bespoke site specific customisations of bespoke platforms on top of a generic ERP system. If you wait another year or two Microsoft will also likely bring out a version that they can’t upgrade or another ERP platform and they will be in a dead end. People always underestimate the requirements of market specialist systems and why it takes years (if not decades) to build applications that meet those needs. It is also a must to be in control of your underlying features and technology when you need to extend them and not paying half your revenue o somebody else also helps… Rant over for today 🙂

    • Paper Bag says:

      Someone who knows nothing about the product they are commenting on. You are out of date and touch…

      Rant off

      • Russell says:

        So true paper bag – I’ve only developed specialist ERP systems for the last 20 years, worked with many SAP and Dynamics and CRM sites, have seen developments on Microsoft platforms that are end of lived or upgrade routes cut on many occasions. But your right, let’s dismiss other peoples comments out of hand without knowing anything 😉

        • Get you, Mr Expert says:

          Read the headline – LexisOne… not CRM, not SAP.. and one assumes you are only talking dynamics on prem.. as LexisOne is D365..

          I revert to my earlier point

  11. David Baskerville says:

    It is certainly the case that a “two horse race” is not healthy and will eventually lead to stagnation, lack of innovation and lack of business advantages for adopting firms. Such a market inadvertently could lead to a similar “aggressive” market we see in the DMS space.

    It will take time, but I hope that SAGlobal and Oracle can become contenders and are able to offer something both relevant and different.

    A lot of the comments have been focused on the opportunities for Aderant / TRE but I would have also thought this would also be seen as good opportunity for the “traditional” Single Supplier solution providers who have quietly been moving into larger firms, converting many of the larger Axxia & Envision sites onto their platforms and are much more relevant in the “Top 200” than is often reported.

  12. NC says:

    Many of these comments relate to the availability or otherwise of PMS solutions in the legal market. Perhaps the real answer would be for the regulators to stop law firms acting as pseudo banks, collecting client monies on account and instead forcing them to run their affairs like a normal PLC. Granted the ‘interest’ revenue stream would be shot to bits but they would more than likely recover that by not having to buy over expensive monopolised accounting solutions and the associated cost of running them.

    • Charles Christian says:

      I think I first heard a call to do away with the need to keep separate client accounts – as it meant firms couldn’t use standard business accounts software – in about 1985. Give it another 50 years…

  13. Anthony R says:

    Charles why not run a competition to name failed legal PMS Suppliers over the last 30 years. My starter is QDOS.
    New entrants have got to recognise that it is a very costly business to enter a relatively small market where systems are typically changed every 10-15 years.Also the decision making process can be strange which probably helps new entrants. Look at the wins by SAP a great ERP system especially if you have thousands of products.Law firms have one called time with a number of derivatives such as research,letter writing etc.Lidl couldn’t get SAP to work despite spending 500 million Euros what chance a law firm
    It would be interesting to understand why law firms like NRF, Browne Jacobson,Simmons,Gateley’s,Shoosmiths chose their current PMS.Was it technically driven ie If I implement Dynamics/SAP that will look great on my CV and my wages should double-surely not!

    • Charles Christian says:

      Love it. As for the CV – ooh you cynic. And let’s give credit to those firms and/or their heads of IT who did see a sense. I recall about a couple of years ago one firm swapped out Elite Enterprise but rather than go for 3E, went with SOS.

      • Anthony R says:

        Going from Elite to SOS is that the sublime to the ridiculous or downsizing. It’s horses for courses.I knew one large midlands law firm who were hardware lead and bought a DEC Vax and then started looking for PMS software because the senior partner had a mate who was a DEC broker.Strange but true.

  14. Passer by says:

    It will be very interesting to see the success that SAGlobal will achieve now it has Microsoft’s full cloud suite under one roof, along with the proven ability to deliver Microsoft solutions, and a real commitment to the industry.

    I would argue that both the LexisOne PMS and TRE BD solutions have been hampered by the fact that they were competing head to head with only half of the Microsoft jigsaw puzzle each, plus no real capability to take advantage of the wider stack. Good luck to the LexisOne + Legal360 team at SAGlobal who will now be able to deliver the complete picture for their clients.

    It looks like they still have some experts on this thread they need to convince but I expect firms will be keen to put SAGlobal through their paces when they evaluate their options…

  15. Caroline Hill says:

    Often comments on our stories are dotted all over social media , it’s great to have all thoughts here on the website, thanks for your input, I’ll use the feedback for a bigger piece in the Rag out on 30 January. Any more feedback welcome. My thoughts are that Lexis was really put on the back foot by Microsoft’s switch from AX to Dynamics 365. That led to the eventual loss of Wedlake Bell and many firms aren’t yet ready for a SaaS cloud product. In that sense it is part of a much bigger story.

  16. Reinvention law says:

    This may go against the grain a little but perhaps if we avoided the hype of ‘innovation’ for the sake of it and focussed on making PMS solutions fit for purpose, stable and aligned with core operating system upgrades we wouldn’t need new entrants. For example it is not ‘innovating’ to base a solution on a new Microsoft OS or provide cloud functionality, it is adapting to the ever evolving tech landscape.

    Law firms are not that complex – give us the functions we need and modulise everything else so that the ‘innovators’ can get on with their PR focussed vanity projects if they really want to.

    #reinventionlaw

  17. huh? says:

    are they still moving to Lexisone?

    • huh? says:

      meant Gateley (as per recent post)

      • anon says:

        Well according to the article (posted after this one) by the Gateley IT Director they are. This could of course have been an interview carried out pre-announcement.

        If they haven’t signed they should use the opportunity to run as many of the assurances provided by Lexis to mitigate the risk of being ‘no2’ will be impossible for SAG to honor.

  18. Anthony R says:

    Dear Just an opinion
    The majority of what you suggest makes sense If SA Global can engineer the Lexis product to work with D365 This is a big ask as we don’t know what the state the product is in I can see a lot of fire fighting
    Time will tell whether SA have the resources and deep enough pockets to do so as they won’t be doing it for altruistic reasons
    From a law firm perspective if a supplier can provide a solution which offers one front end to all fee earners which seamlessly integrates the PMS with Word makes far more sense than buying an ERP system like SAP which is great if you are a seriously large manufacturer but a law firm where time and billing is sacrosanct and the GL and PL are straight forward unless all you know is SAP and you have money to burn
    It would be good to have bull**** detector test for those brave souls at the likes of NRF,Simmons,Shoosmiths ,Browne Jacobson, Baker Mackenzie to ascertain would they make the same decision again though they are probably no longer employed at these firms as the so called benefits appear to have evaporated

Any Comment?