Options and Strategies for the best Time Matters Support.
Time Matters, by LexisNexis, is a legal practice management software platform. Time Matters focuses on “front-office” practice management functionality, including client and case management, calendaring, tasks, notes, billing and more. Its a solid product on its own, and offers more customization than any other legal software we’ve worked with. Its so useful and customizable, in fact, that there are many solo consultants and consulting groups that make their living implementing, training on and customizing Time Matters for law firms. But between LexisNexis, the community of Time Matters consultants, IT consultants: it can be confusing to determine how to best get time matters support. Who should you call when you need time matters support? What about training? What about hosting?
In this post, we’ll cover your options and offer strategies to get the best Time Matters Support.
Related: Time Matters – an Uptime Review
The LexisNexis Software Ecosystem
First, a quick review of where Time Matters lives in the world of legal software. LexisNexis has a portfolio of legal software products designed to meet the needs of a variety of sizes and types of law firms. Not every law practice needs every feature of every application–and to that end LexisNexis offers a variety of products that meet different needs and work together. Since Time Matters is designed to manage your front-office–but not your accounting–Time Matters integrates LexisNexis’ other accounting software systems, including:
- PCLaw, for small law firms, and
- Juris, for midsize and larger law firms.
Time Matters can (and often is) used as a completely stand-alone practice management platform, or can be used in conjunction with PCLaw or Juris for accounting.
What Makes Time Matters Great (yet tricky to support)
Time Matters is very powerful and does a lot. It has many benefits over other applications in the space, but probably its most notable feature is how deeply customizable the software is.
From customizing the front-end, such as matter screens or reports, to customizing the back-end, and creating custom database queries, workflows and events, Time Matters is one of the most customizable practice management apps on the market. The downside (if you can call it that) is: It also requires some customization on the outset. Unlike other legal software that’s fairly ready-to-go out of the box: Time Matters needs some setup, customization and implementation before it can be usable. So much so that LexisNexis will only sell it via its consulting channel: Through a specialized Time Matters consultant that can implement and customize the application for you.
An analogy: Suppose you want a new cabinet from Ikea. But Ikea knows that setting up the cabinet yourself, if you’re not properly trained, would be a nightmare. So Ikea only sells you the cabinet if you also, at the same time hire a certified Ikea installer. Its kinda like that.
To address this challenge, and the broader challenge of providing a broad scope of support options to consumers of LexisNexis software products, LexisNexis developed their Certified Independent Consultant (CIC) program. Within this program, software and IT experts can become trained and certified on LexisNexis products, such as Time Matters. For some products (such as PCLaw), getting these additional professional/consulting services are optional. For Time Matters: its required to buy it.
Getting Time Matters
Time Matters is owned and sold by LexisNexis. You can buy it directly from LexisNexis, or from a Certified Independent Consultant, as described above. Once you have it, you’ll need to determine who is best suited to help you implement it, and how and where to host it (on your law firm’s servers or in a private cloud).
You’ll also want to subscribe to the Time Matters Annual Maintenance Plan (AMP), an annual subscription that gives you access to the latest version and update for Time Matters, as well as support and training resources.
Time Matters Support Options
As a user of Time Matters, you have three distinct avenues for obtaining Time Matters support. You can use one or any combination of the three, depending on how your firm uses Time Matters and the level of support your firm needs.
When you purchase Time Matters and keep up your Annual Maintenance Plan (AMP), you are entitled to product support directly from LexisNexis. This support includes help desk support and access to the Time Matters online knowledge base and training materials. This Time Matters support option is a good fit when your firm’s support needs are occasional, and are usually limited to “how do I” questions or quick fixes. Especially considering its included int he cost of your AMP–I always recommend a firm take advantage of this method, in addition to others as necessary.
2. Certified Independent Consultants (CIC’s)
There are also many third-party consulting and professional service groups out there: LexisNexis’s network of Certified Independent Consultants. As described above, these are legal software and technology professionals that have obtained the training and certification necessary to support, implement and (in some cases) customize Time Matters. CIC’s are sometimes consulting firms, sometimes independent/solo consultants. CIC’s often excel at more of the in-depth, hands-on Time Matters support services, especially implementing TIme Matters into your firm’s processes and workflow, training your staff and customizing Time Matters to work the way your firm does. While day-to-day support for Time Matters is provided by LexisNexis as part of an AMP–many law firms still retain their CIC to provide Time Matters support exclusively, even though they’re entitled to support from LexisNexis directly.
CIC’s do charge for their service (as they should), so be sure to budget accordingly.
3. Private Cloud
Finally, there’s a private cloud. A private cloud is the new alternative to owning and managing onsite servers and IT. A private cloud will host your Time Matters, other legal software, documents and email on a single platform that your firm can access anywhere… all without the headaches of managing onsite IT. The right legal-centric private cloud platform will be engineered specifically to host Time Matters, and all necessary TIme Matters support, updates and maintenance will be included in the service.
A legal-centric Private Cloud is a good fit if your firm needs to be mobile, needs the enhanced security of the Cloud, wants to get out of the business of managing server and It, and: wants their IT, hosting and Time Matters support rolled into a single package, delivered by a single provider. The right private cloud platform will include:
- Time Matters hosting, support and maintenance/updates
- Hosting for your other legal and business software
- Microsoft Office – built-in, for each user
- Exchange email – for each user
- Unlimited IT and software support
- Local antivirus and network support
- Storage for your Time Matters database, documents and other data
A legal-centric private cloud solution is a great fit for many law firms. A word of advice, should you go down this path: Make sure your chosen private cloud vendor is authorized to host Time Matters and has experience hosting, supporting and maintaining the software.
Closing the Loop
Again, I’m not necessarily saying that any one of these options are better than the others–in fact your Time Matters support strategy may contain a combination of two or all three of these options. It really does come down the specific needs of your law firm. I encourage you to explore your options. Talk to one or more LexisNexis Certified Independent Consultants. Talk to one or more Private Cloud providers. Do more research online, or talk to colleages of yours that also use Time Matters.
Good luck–whatever strategy you develop for Time Matters support.