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Law firm describes 24 month ‘heart transplant’ replacing legacy practice management system

Law firm Trowers and Hamlins LLP is planning to rip out and replace its legacy practice management system, a process which has been described as akin to a ‘heart transplant’.

Speaking to Computing recently, Richard Elson, director of IS at the firm, explained why the project was deemed necessary.

“Top of our agenda is a strategy for centralising all of our systems across two data centres. Given the regions we operate in, we have historically had to have geographically disperse systems. Back in the days when some of those systems were implemented, connectivity wasn’t what it is today. So it was necessary for systems performance to have those systems in specific parts of the world.

“In addition, our legacy practice management system, which has served us really well, but it is a single currency practise management system, is now relatively inefficient.

“Besides the efficiency and access standpoint, having multiple currencies and then having lots of organisation around those currencies, means that it’s very hard to maintain a contiguous data set. So we have been working on the platform side of that for a whole. The components of that are harmonising around two data centres for the whole world. And putting in place connectivity, and infrastructure to support a virtualised desktop such that all of our systems can be single instance.

“We’ve done that for example with our CRM system, email and a number of other systems.

“Directly on our agenda right now is planning for a replacement of that legacy practice management system, to a system which is multi-currency, and which will be placed in two data centres with combined failover. That’s a project of many months, probably 18-24 months, and a lot of resource.

“Because it’s so central, someone’s likened it to a heart transplant. Replacing your practise management system requires huge effort, particularly from finance and technology. So we’ve got a combined team. That will be our central project over the next 24 months,” he said.

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