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Perth law firm wards off Dropbox with SaaS content management system

Adam Bender | Sept. 23, 2013
NetDocuments lets Lavan Legal attorneys work anywhere, anytime.

Implementation of NetDocuments has been smooth so far, said Marcello. The IT director said he was particularly relieved when there were no problems transitioning a team that included four senior partners. "Litigators can be quite difficult at times ... but that went really well."

Change management has been the biggest hurdle, he said.

"People have worked on other systems at other law firms [and] some have worked on the same system for ten years, and of course that's ingrained in them," Marcello said. "You have to very tactfully make them understand that there could be better ways to do things."

Taking a SaaS approach
Lavan Legal had seriously considered a rival document platform, Autonomy iManage, which is used by a majority of law firms in Australia, said Marcello. However, Marcello said he ended up choosing NetDocuments largely because of the benefits offered by the cloud, Marcello said.

While Autonomy can take advantage of a private cloud, it is not software-as-a-service (SaaS) like NetDocuments, he said. The upfront costs of Autonomy would have outweighed the ongoing subscription costs of NetDocuments, and Autonomy would have required Lavan to add capacity and storage infrastructure, he said.

By choosing a SaaS platform in NetDocuments, Marcello believes he has bolstered the security around Lavan's important documents, he said.

"I can't and don't have a dedicated security person because we can't afford that," he said. By outsourcing document management, Lavan has gained the vendor's security resources and expertise, he said.

"If the Chinese government really wanted to get into NetDocuments, I don't know if they're going to be stopped. But having said that, NetDocuments is going to have a much better chance of stopping them than I am."

Using a SaaS service also means more frequent and easier upgrades. "NetDocuments in particular do updates pretty much every three months," he said. "You get the latest software with pretty much no pain and no cost."

"A risk would certainly be that the cloud-based supplier goes bust," he said. However, Lavan has protected against this by keeping a local service with copies of documents and emails. "If there was a major disaster or unexpected event ... we've still got all of our documents."

Keeping a local copy also gives Lavan freedom to change vendors in the future, he said.

"If we want to move to another document management system, we can migrate those ourselves. We're not relying on this third party. We're not over a barrel. We can't be coerced or blackmailed."



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