Moving Time Matters to the Cloud – From the Perspective of a Law Firm Advisor
Time Matters is a powerful, popular legal practice management solution used by law firms the world over. A LexisNexis product, Time Matters helps law firms manage their clients, cases, calendars, documents billing and more. I work with hundreds of law firms, many of them are looking to implement their first case management solution… others are looking to find a better practice management solution than what they have today. Many of these firms are evaluating some of the more mature, robust practice management solutions like Time Matters. Many of those firms wonder if they can move Time Matters to the Cloud.
When I help law firms identify the best option(s) for their practice, I’ll often ask questions like:
- What level of case management do they need?
- What kind of calendaring do they need? (Basic, or rules-based?)
- Do they need to customize matter intake and matter screens?
- Do they need to create and customize workflows?
The answers to these questions often lead the law firm to Time Matters as best fit. But–in the era of cloud computing and so many cloud-based (online, web-based) legal practice management apps–many law firms wonder if they can have the power and flexibility of a system like Time Matters, but also the benefits of cloud computing.
Related: Time Matters – an Uptime Review
Life’s Better in the Cloud
Today, law firms large and small are enjoying the cloud. And why not, cloud computing brings a number of significant benefits to law firms:
- The ability to work anywhere, from any device.
- Getting out of the business of managing servers and IT.
- Significantly better cybersecurity (versus a server sitting, unmanaged, in a law firm’s coat closet.)
- A centralized computing platform for firms with multiple offices or remote employees.
- A more predictable, pay-as-you-go cost model.
Leaving many law firms to wonder: Can you have your cake and eat it to? Can you move Time Matters to the cloud?
Moving Time Matters to the Cloud
Yes, you can move Time Matters to the Cloud. A law firm can accomplish this with something called a Private Cloud.
A Private Cloud is a fully-hosted, full-managed IT platform that provides all of the same functions your onsite server does (and more). A Private Cloud will host your legal software, documents, email and more: And allows law firms to ditch their servers and get their other essential technology services (email, antivirus, IT support) on a single system, from a single provider.
Specifically, private cloud will provide:
- Hosting for Time Matters, along with the firm’s other legal and productivity software.
- Support for the firm’s software, such as Time Matters, including installation of software updates and troubleshooting.
- The latest version of Microsoft Office, for each user.
- Hosted Exchange – business-grade email for the entire firm.
- IT help desk – for when the firm’s users need help with the cloud, their computers, software, peripherals and so forth.
- SQL Server – the database engine/software that Time Matters runs on.
The Cloud Migration Process – What We Learned
When you move hundreds of law firms to a private cloud: You learn a lot. You learn the technical nuances and caveats (and how to avoid them). You learn how to best plan and coordinate moving an entire law firm from onsite servers to a hosted cloud environment.
When evaluating and selecting a Private Cloud provider, its important to select one that has a deep understanding of Time Matters: how it works, how to move it and how to make sure everything is running properly once moved. Having worked with many law firms that have moved their Time Matters to the cloud, our experience is that the onboarding process should be carefully planned, prepared and executed:
- Discovery Process: The cloud provider should learn and thoroughly understand your firms technology environment.
- Planning and Coordination: The migration plan should be carefully scheduled, coordinated and communicated with your firm.
- Build: Next your private cloud provider will build a your cloud environment tailored to your software and your firm.
- Data collection: Your cloud provider should have a systematic process to acquire and transfer your data to their cloud.
- Cutover: Going live: Your cloud provider should execute a near-seamless transition from on-premise to the cloud.
- Training and Support: After the cutover, your cloud provider should be available for when your team needs help.
Legal Software Support – What We Learned
As a legal technology advisor I’ve been party to many law-firm-in-the-cloud success stories. Unfortunately I’ve also heard many horror stories: law firms that went with inexperienced cloud providers, perhaps the cheapest option and perhaps an IT/cloud company that had little or no experience working with law firms and legal software. Its important to work with a cloud service provider that services hundreds of law firms. Ideally: only law firms.
A “generalist,” or non-legal specific cloud service provider will make sure your cloud server is online and that you’re users can log into in… and that’s about it. That’s where their support obligation will end. A legal-centric cloud service provider will be intimately familiar with the software your firm uses, like Time Matters. They’ll know how to install it, support it and fix it when it breaks. They’ll be comfortable applying updates when new versions are released.
This is vitally important to selecting a cloud service provider. The last thing you want when faced with a software problem is the IT company or cloud service provider blaming the software… and the software company blaming your cloud platform. (Been there before? Its a nightmare.)
From the Perspective of a Law Firm (Like Yours)
In our experience, when done right, the transition to the cloud is not only painless, but, as our clients share with us: life after moving to the cloud was everything they hoped it would be. They can work from anywhere. They can scale their users up and down as necessary. Reliability is high, security is high, problems are few.
Related: All Uptime Legal Reviews
Closing the Loop
Time Matters remains one of the most powerful, flexible Legal Practice Management applications in the market today, even amidst the new, web-based case management apps. While these more simplistic web-based apps are a good fit for some firms: Many firms, especially firms of 5 staff or larger, need a more sophisticated solution. I often caution law firms against abandoning their current software just to move to the cloud. Cloud computing brings many benefits to law firms, but you can have your cake and eat it too: You can move your TIme Matters, and the rest of your firm, to the cloud.
If you’d like to learn more, I invite you to download our Private Cloud Due Diligence Checklist for law firms, or learn more about our Private Cloud service below.
Happy cloud computing.