Views from Across the Pond: A Week with European Professional Services IT Leaders

I have just returned from an exciting week of iManage EMEA CIO meetings, partner briefings and a user group meeting with nearly 200 attendees in London. We were very pleased to have participants from many of the leading legal, accounting and financial services firms and select corporate legal departments from almost every country in Europe, and even some from the Middle East.

From our meetings with these leaders, we identified a handful of emerging trends:

User-centric design is key. IT execs agree that we need to get better at designing software that today’s professionals want to use. Firms are under increasing economic pressure, and IT is being tasked with moving faster to improve user productivity and remove obstacles to getting work done. IT organizations are focused on simplifying the lawyers’ experience with technology, eliminating bottlenecks and integrating task flows between systems to better serve customers. Our next-generation user experience, project White Rabbit, is garnering tremendous interest in Europe as it has in the U.S., as the first fresh approach to addressing the professional user experience in more than 10 years.

Interest in the cloud is growing, but CIOs recognize that not all clouds are equal. In the U.K. in particular, we see an increased interest in recognition of the benefits of the cloud. But in parallel we also see a preference for specific cloud architectures. Most IT executives agree that professionals need solutions that work both when connected and disconnected. As a result, they need cloud solutions that provide the capability to operate equally well with content stored in the cloud and also on-premises, as most firms agree that some clients will not wish to have their content managed in any cloud environment. We see continued reluctance from Continental Europe, especially in light of the recent ”Schrems” decision.

The time is now. We heard a new phrase from more than one IT executive this past week. ”Move faster” is the phrase being whispered in IT professional’s ears by managing partners and senior lawyers. There is a sense of urgency in identifying and moving to more modern solutions. Firms that, for years, have not been interested in discussing “document management,” are all of a sudden talking about finding a next-generation solution. If you have not seen the work we have been developing for a new experience for the new professional, now is your time to get familiar with the new iManage.

CIOs are seeing the impact of the new iManage. We were gratified to hear CIOs tell us that they felt so much has changed for the positive since the buyout. iManage is proving we are back to delivering innovative high-quality work product management solutions. The highlights include our new desktop clients, which have a modern look and feel (version 9.3, available in November); key usability enhancements that improve search and email management; and more.
I know that I and the rest of the iManage team are looking forward to our next round of CIO meetings, partner briefings and customer meetings when we head to Australia later this month.