A successful ‘open heart surgery’ for Simply Conveyancing
Investment in LexisNexis Visualfiles at Simply Conveyancing is underscored by the firm’s mantra of ‘continuous improvement’. For a firm that’s scaling rapidly both organically and through acquisition – embedding advanced case management capability is critical for business efficiency, profitability and growth.
Furthermore, with the amount of data the firm generates, technology must sit at the heart of the operation to enable a data-driven approach to business, which is now indispensable in today’s remote and hybrid working environment. Simply Conveyancing offers a range of specialist legal services – encompassing everything from buying and selling, remortgages, lease extensions and equity release through to transfer of equity.
Open heart surgery
Simply Conveyancing moved to Visualfiles in October last year. Illustrating the enormous importance and success of this endeavour, Paul Tennant, CIO, Simply Conveyancing, highlights: “essentially we performed open heart surgery on the business by replacing our incumbent case management system with Visualfiles. And yet, despite the complex nature of this project, the roll out was smooth and relatively painless. This is entirely down to the fact that we took the pain upfront, rigorously testing workflows and proactively looking for issues, so that when the transition actually happened, there was minimum fuss. And that’s exactly what happened. Our success is a real testament to the dedication of the teams of both our organisations working together as one to achieve the same goal.”
Today, Simply Conveyancing has a user-friendly, quicker and smarter case management system that is used by over 190 lawyers, legal assistants and support staff. Of course, go-live is only the first step in Simply Conveyancing’s continuous improvement journey. The firm will endlessly finetune its workflows and re-engineer processes for incremental efficiency gains and scalability. From a technical standpoint, Visualfiles is a lot more sophisticated and intuitive at the backend and breaks down the typical barriers to moving and sharing data internally and with external systems. For example, Simply Conveyancing is using the unique Visualfiles software developers kit (SDK) to create an integration between the case management system and eConvey – the firm’s client portal – soon to be extended to use Pro2SQL. Today, clients and estate agents are able to view their case progress in near-real-time in eConvey and the business’ agency portal.
Integrations for a unified environment
The firm is also utilising a number of out-of-the-box solutions and integrations. Tennant says: “we’ve perfectly got the capability of doing our own integrations and indeed in my previous firm, we did that too. The question is, why reinvent the wheel when you can easily do it out-of-the-box and turbocharge the project timeline? Starting from scratch gives us no advantage. In addition to the core platform itself, it’s these in-house development capabilities that Visualfiles offers that makes this case management system truly an asset.”
Simply Conveyancing is integrating its instance of Visualfiles with that of Pirie Palmann’s, the Peterborough-based firm that it acquired in October 2021. Once complete, the whole business will operate on a single Visuafiles environment, in a unified manner.
Already, Simply Conveyancing is looking to leverage Visualfiles to develop more advanced cost and pricing-related functionality. For instance, the firm is exploring the budgeting tool offered within Visualfiles that will provide the firm capability to assess cost against matter time. Over time, the insight gathered from such data will greatly assist the firm in more accurate matter budgeting.
Simon Farthing, commercial and marketing director of LexisNexis Enterprise Solutions, comments: “the essence of Visualfiles is that the case management system is a ‘solution’ in the truest sense of the word – i.e., it helps firms to address the problems that they uniquely face as individual organisations so that they can work in the way that is suitable for them. Visualfiles isn’t prescriptive – it’s an ‘open’ architecture and is supported by tools such as the Accelerators and SDK to allow firms to configure the system to their needs, and expand its core capability through internal and external, third-party integrations to make the case management system whatever they want it to be.”
LexisNexis has structured the Visualfiles project for Simply Conveyancing as a knowledge transfer programme, which is underpinned by a partnership-led approach. As a result, while the LexisNexis team is always there to guide Simply Conveyancing in customising Visualfiles, over time the firm will attain a level of independence by being able to make improvements in the case management system and derive increased value from the investment.
Tennant concludes: “this project hasn’t been just about paying vast amounts of professional services fees to LexisNexis. We are working in partnership to meet the goals of this ongoing project, but already just in a few months we have gained enough of an understanding of the technology to be able to make most of the enhancements ourselves. Few vendors share their expertise in this manner with customers.”