Thorntons Law PMS Tender and Selection

Below is another example of one of our core products, PMS reviews

Scottish law firm Thorntons Solicitors engaged the legal IT consultants at Lights-On Consulting to assist with selecting a new Practice Management System (PMS), as support for Thornton’s existing system was coming to an end. Managing end of life software is always a challenge, and never more so than when it affects the main system on which a law firm is run.

Pain Points Analysis

For every PMS selection project, Lights-On Consulting always recommends carrying out a Pain Points Analysis.  This is an opportunity for a cross-section of people within the law firm to tell Lights-On about the incumbent product.  We find out what works, what could be improved and what would be desirable features in the new product.  We also use this opportunity to discuss the current processes that are solely determined by the existing product.  We discuss any ‘wouldn’t it be nice if’ ideas that can be investigated within more modern practice management systems.

The Pain Points Analysis is a crucial step to ensuring a successful tender process.

In-depth consultation

Lights-On Consulting spoke to around 50 Thorntons staff via remote calls and used structured questions to ensure consistency.  This virtual approach was originally required due to Covid restrictions but has proven to work well for our clients.

Lights-On Consulting gained a deep understanding of Thornton’s current system and established what was required from a new PMS to support the needs of the firm both now and in the future.

We collated this information into a concise report and presented it to Thorntons’ Leadership team.  The report was also used as a reference point for the project team to use throughout the tendering process; it gave the whole team a benchmark and an understanding of what the firm expected from a PMS.

Supplier showcase – showing the art of the possible

Following the Pain Points Analysis, Lights-On Consulting identified vendors whose products fitted the desires and aims of Thorntons and facilitated the vendor presentations.

During the virtual presentations from the suppliers, Thorntons was shown ‘the art of the possible’.  This was an opportunity for the suppliers to show their product in its best possible light.  Following the extensive Pain Points Analysis, Thorntons had clear criteria of essential requirements and some ‘nice to haves’.  It also allowed Thorntons to question the feasibility of the product to cope with their specific scenarios.

For a firm of Thorntons size there were, on average, 10 people who attended each of the supplier demonstrations, allowing representation and voice from all critical areas of the business.

Refining to two preferred suppliers

After Thorntons had selected its two preferred suppliers the team needed to look at the two products in greater detail.  We shaped the sessions around the Pain Points Analysis and the key requirements identified by Thorntons from that analysis.

These sessions allow the suppliers to show off products in the best possible light.  They also served as an opportunity to discuss the practical applications of the product and enabled the team at Thorntons to get a feel for the people behind the products.

Our involvement at this stage was instrumental.  We remained objective throughout and documented the minutiae of all the detail that was asked by Thorntons and answered by suppliers.  This enabled clear, consistent record-keeping to refer to as needed.

The final decision

At the end of the product deep dives with the preferred suppliers, Lights-On facilitated discussions with the Thorntons team and took the team through our tried and tested scoring system.  This is an in-depth, proven analysis that delves deep and gets to the crux of a mammoth project like a PMS and helps to support the client’s decision as to which vendor to select.

“The PMS market appears to be wide however, whilst digging deeper, it soon became apparent that there were few suppliers that could match the particular requirements of our firm. The Lights-On team brought their expertise to the project and were able to narrow the field quickly and efficiently. The Lights-On approach is very thorough which is essential given the lifespan of the solution in which we’re investing.

Andrew Getley, Innovation Manager

“Lights-On Consulting managed to focus our attention on the differentiators between the various systems which eased the process considerably. We’re confident that the decision reached will be the best for our Firm and Lights-On were instrumental in guiding us there in the shortest possible time. Their expertise in this field is second to none.

Graeme Brown, Chief Financial Officer