Named 2015 UK law firm of the year, Shoosmiths is a law practice with 11 corporate offices, 153 partners, and 736 legal advisors. For more than 15 years their workflow automation process had been split into no less than 13 separate technologies and solutions. The firm needed a single workflow platform that they could move all their existing workflows onto and use for future workflow development.
Shoosmiths had long recognized the importance of workflow in the context of legal case management and had been using workflow automation for over 15 years. During this period, it deployed no less than 13 separate workflow technologies and solutions. As Shane Scott, IS Director at Shoosmiths, says, this fragmented environment was “very inefficient, inhibited client service and is difficult to maintain and administer.”
The firm has implemented Microsoft SharePoint to centralize document management across its 11 offices, implemented SAP as its practice management and financial systems solution and is currently extending the SAP footprint by deploying SAP HR.
“The benefits of having a single workflow platform integrated with SAP and SharePoint was a compelling argument,” says Scott. “We therefore started looking for a new business modelling and workflow platform, that we could move all our existing workflows onto and use as the basis for future workflow development within the business.”
Shoosmiths selected K2 after performing a thorough technical analysis of the capabilities of K2 blackpearl. As part of the program, the firm has taken the opportunity to map and optimize business processes before developing the new workflows in K2. All of the new K2 processes are integrated tightly with Microsoft SharePoint, SAP financial, HR applications and an employee self-service portal, and also include email and SMS automation.
Shoosmiths now has K2-based process workflows in four key areas of its business, with plans to extend this across other HR functions, English conveyancing, clinical negligence case management, and land plot conveyancing.
The use of K2 has contributed toward significant time savings across all areas of Shoosmiths’ business. This has been achieved via a combination of process optimization, document and process automation (using K2) and integration. Within the new conveyancing functions alone, the firm estimates that it is saving up to 60 minutes per case handler per day. This equates to approximately 800 hours per week saved across the function.
Furthermore, the tight integrations between software allow previously manual processes such as contract, completion statements and financial postings to be automated. This again reduces the time to complete the tasks and allows Shoosmiths to provide a better and more responsive service to its clients.
By replacing the legacy workflow technologies with a single platform based on K2 blackpearl, the firm will be able to significantly reduce its annual operating expenditure. According to Scott, “Shoosmiths expects to reduce its software maintenance and licensing costs by about £160,000 a year.”
Given the success of the new workflows, Shoosmiths is now pressing ahead with plans to deploy even more automated processes.