Thursday, December 2, 2010

Technology good...Knowing what to do with your data...Priceless

It may seem odd to give a shout out to a competitor, but my hat is off to Jim Tallman, CEO of Datacert. Tallman joined the company a couple years back and has done some things that his predecessors failed to do. Way back in early 2003 there was a clear shift in our market, clients were demanding a single, integrated solution for matter management and e-billing. Their budgets no longer could cover buying and supporting both systems separately nor did people want to deal with the challenges of integrating the two. At that time TyMetrix and some of our competitors made the move to build new platforms to support this market shift or added new capabilities into their existing products. For whatever reason at that time DataCert failed to see or ignored the shift. A few years into the change and in an attempt to catch up to the market they acquired Corprasoft and made a run at creating a “unified” product, Corporate Legal Desktop (CLD) 10. Based on my knowledge, despite heavy marketing their new “unified” product never took off or was accepted by the market.

While I can’t say for certain, it seems that when Tallman joined DC he was able to analyze the landscape and recognized their solutions were not at parity with competitors and to his credit he focused attention on building a new product line that based on what he describes should bring Datacert into some level of parity with the market. Seven years of TyMetrix experience in building, implementing, innovating and improving our platform proves it will still take some time for Datacert’s products to get up to speed, work out the typical kinks in new products and ultimately catch up to where the capabilities and stability of existing platforms are today. But, so far their heading in the right direction by finally getting into the game. My only bone of contention with Mr. Tallman and Datacert is their marketing assertions that they are the first or only e-billing and matter management platform designed to support the needs of the law department from the ground up. Back in 2003 TyMetrix saw the trend and developed the CT TyMetrix360° platform from the ground up for just that purpose. With more than 6 years in the market TyMetrix360° has nearly 400,000 members operating in the collaborative platform and nearly 2 million matters, associated with over $35B in legal spend. I welcome Datacert to the market, the key now will be in successfully transitioning from a landscape of ideation and marketing into one of execution and delivery.

Having delivered a patented, integrated platform over 6 years ago, TyMetrix has found that at this point in time that General Counsel and law department leadership teams are less interested in the bells and whistles of technology for technology’s sake. High performing legal departments are making unprecedented and growing demands for the actionable information and insights technology can bring…if structured and implemented strategically. And, they want this information and insight at their fingertips when they need it most. The demand for reliable benchmarks, meaningful KPIs, and detailed invoice and matter data, combined with data sources beyond what e-Billing and matter management systems can provide (i.e., H.R. data, accounts payable data, document management data, etc.) is growing rapidly. A recent example was the successful launch of the Real Rate Report by CT TyMetrix and General Counsel Roundtable. Providing industry wide insights into the drivers of law firm hourly rates.

It will be interesting to see how the market addresses this new trend. Who will lead and who will follow?

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