Free Newsletter Free Newsletter

You wouldn’t let it lie: Norton Rose Fulbright goes live on SAP with Fulcrum GT – more comment

Added on the 16th Mar 2018 at 5:34 pm
Share Button

Norton Rose Fulbright has gone live on SAP HANA with Fulcrum Global Technologies, after a project that signed in March 2016 and will ultimately consolidate five profit centres across the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Australia and South Africa.

While South Africa is not scoped in the initial roll out, the remaining sites on 8 October swapped out Aderant and Elite for one instance of SAP in the private cloud, using Fulcrum’s time entry, CRM, matter budgeting, finance and billing and analytics modules. Time entry and CRM are software-as-a-service products.

The go live follows a planning stage that began in around April 2016, with implementation beginning in late August of that year. Just over a year later, NRF has cut over to SAP on time and to budget, although the 3,700-lawyer firm is still within the hypercare period and understandably nervous about counting its chickens before they have hatched.

Just under a month after go-live, the transition is reported by insiders to have been very smooth or “quiet” so far. Silence really is golden in this case, although NRF was experiencing its first month end billing as we went to press.

While it is after go live that the change management really kicks in, speaking to the Orange Rag, Ahmed Shaaban, founder and managing director of Fulcrum GT said: “Partners are now feeling the change but as part of our process we implement change management and training from day one. All the processes are validated, and all the key stakeholders get involved and we run through trials. We pretty much go through dry runs and we did that in May and June to ensure data readiness. We worked very closely with people to make sure we bring together the people and processes.”

As part of its Project 2020 transformation, NRF, which first began looking at SAP in 2014, has established a global shared services back office in Manila, which was announced in May 2016 and houses around 5% of the global business services workforce including much of its IT support function.

In terms of SAP/Fulcrum, Shabaan said: “Everything has gone to time and budget and the processes are in place to provide a truly enterprise solution that spans all countries. What is great about the Fulcrum solution is that it means the localisation of globalisation. It runs with your tax laws in your currency, so the UK has VAT, Australia has different trust rules and although it’s a global platform it operates on a local level.”

Rob Otty (pictured), managing partner, business integration said: “We can confirm that we cutover to our SAP GPMS in early October.  We are currently in the hypercare period of the rollout of the system and as such it is too early to comment on how the system is performing.  We will comment once the hypercare period has completed.”

We’ll bring you more soon.


  1. Anonymous says:

    Well done to the NRF team. Massive project and an amazing achievement. Demonstrates that maybe the legal industry is growing up around ERP.. Linklaters, Bakers, Simmons and Simmons, Fieldfisher, Shoesmith and now NRF all trying broaden their innovation

  2. Say what? says:

    How exactly is shoehorning SAP into use at a law firm considered innovative? Isn’t it actually the OPPOSITE of innovative, rather? It’s like taking a massive step backward in appropriate functionality just to try and show the world that their oddly cobbled-together verein can share basic financials.

    • Say whatnot? says:

      Why don’t you ask Jim Smith how it’s innovative technology that SAP brings. Or did you miss that article?

      If everyone was doing it then it can’t be innovative. Actually, the functionality is light years ahead of the competition based on what I saw recently at ILTA. Looks like existing platforms have held up the industry from keeping with our clients.

      You clearly are either already deeply invested in one of the traditional platforms and look to cover your tracks or you deny the inevitability of the transformation taking on the legal industry despite all the indicators around you. The mergers, the system consolidations, the client mandates, and the permanent presence of the cloud aren’t enough for you. Rather, it’s cryptolocker (think DLA), Blackberry, XML, Silverlight, and Biztalk all chasing the billable hour that rules your world. Good luck with that.

  3. Say whatnot what? says:

    Whoa there big fella, you’re quick to talk trash without providing any substance – sounds like you might be from NRF and trying to defend your purchase – whoops! How much did that fine project cost NRF? I’m not a fan of any particular platform, but, I’m even less of a fan of vanity projects with no real business benefit. “Light years ahead of the competition” – oh really? Right, billing is so innovative.

  4. Alex Young says:

    Not fair or right to call it a vanity project but also too premature to be congratulating NRF/Fulcrum for a job well done or to be announcing the phoenix-like re-emergence of ERP in legal.

    If the point of this was simply to replace legacy PMS processes and systems with SAP (or Dynamics for that matter) without a wider strategy or imagination then we could all rightly question the motives of this project. If this was the case why wouldn’t NRF have simply chosen one of the “traditional platforms” that someone mentions above?

    I’ve never seen their business case but I’m willing to bet that it talks about cross-functional integrated processes, integrated data, dynamic data flows, cloud, managed services etc. As well as global financials and core-PMS it will talk about human capital management, client and supplier management, LPM, information portals, procurement, financial consolidation, treasury, asset management etc. All of this isn’t as relevant or important to every firm but I assume that the global business strategy of NRF says that it is for them.

    The final judgement about success or failure of this programme is not about how well core finance processes or time and billing operates (OK – if these fail then I predict trouble) but more to do with where it goes from here. How well can they take the platform and use it to shape other functions and integrate and embed other processes and information outside of finance and practice management over the next phases? That, I assume, will take time.

    There you go. I’ve run down both points of view from above. But, at least I gave my name for people to aim at.

  5. What Not What Maybe says:

    What about their Epoch implementation? Any news on how the firm is handling that?

    • Ravi Rao says:

      SAP provides enterprise business systems so very innovative for law firms running practice management systems. It’s designed for the optimization of delivering legal services so as the law firms evolve into mature international businesses, their systems need to evolve as well.

      I would never say that SAP knows more about legal operations than Intapp, Elite, Aderant, etc. But if law firm management wants to run a busieness, no one knows more about than SAP. And you should read more about SAP’s innovations, they spend $2B+ in R&D which is more than all the combined revenues of niche law firm software providers.

      • Actually using SAP says:

        it just isn’t very good for law firms. I have no idea why anyone thinks its is. The outs puts are unrefined and counter intuitive. Trying to amend after the fact is painful and the terminology is alien. Just dont do it, its killing us!!!

      • Not Ravi Rao says:

        Ah, yes, spending “$2B+ in R&D which is more than all the combined revenues of niche law firm software providers” must mean that they’ve developed a product worth using…or, maybe not.
        People love to throw around that word “innovative” without any understanding of what innovation is. Perhaps innovation is using an ERP that’s not fit for purpose in a law firm environment.

Any Comment?