Reinforcing business continuity post COVID: lessons professional services firms have learnt

There is nothing like a global pandemic to test organisations’ business continuity plans, and when whole countries locked down almost overnight earlier this year, it exposed the gaps in their provisions – something I touched on in my last blog.

How well-equipped were staff to work from home, in reality? How easy was it for them to access the latest client and engagement/project/matter information, collaborate and maintain productivity, when whole teams were dispersed suddenly?

While some were quick to improvise, many professional services firms were caught on the hop. Not all staff had laptops; nor secure access to files stored at the office. Many had to resort to workarounds to pass files back and forth in order to progress client work. All the while, IT departments and information compliance teams have had the huge headache of how they might bring everything back together if and when ‘normal practice’ resumes.

As that process begins – as businesses continue to reopen, and managers map out a post-pandemic workplace (which supports social distancing, and caters for those team members with underlying health conditions/who may be shielding vulnerable people at home) – firms are looking with a new sense of purpose at where their business continuity provisions fell short and how to plug any gaps.

Speed matters

BUT this is not a time to map out ambitious IT projects with two-year timeframes. As the COVID lockdown highlighted, successful adaptation is about speed – and Repstor, harnessing the familiar MS 365 tools people already use every day, is perfectly geared up to facilitate this.

When Kari Vislosky, Canada’s VP of People Solutions at Baker Tilly, recently reflected on the rapid transition towards remote work during lockdown, she described it as an exercise in ‘getting the job done’ – in contrast to the usual process of assessing all the options from every angle. In the light of COVID, she notes, the firm will be reviewing its relationships with technology.

Baker Tilley is far from alone in this, something we’ll  come onto in our next article – a reflection on the accelerated digital transformation and platform consolidation efforts the pandemic has inspired.

De-risk staff turnover or unavailability by freeing email’s treasures

Success relies on making it ‘trivially’ easy for colleagues to capture, share & find the latest discussions or documents linked to a client activity as part of routine behaviour

As lockdown continues to ease and employees return to the workplace in some capacity, managers must consider what happens next. This is in an industry where, already, a 20 per cent annual staff turnover is not uncommon – and many employees will have been reviewing their priorities and future options over the last few months, just as employers must now rethink the workplace.

All of this exposes firms’ dependence on email as the primary means of discussing client engagements/projects/legal matters and sharing associated documents. As soon as someone moves on, or isn’t available for any reason, any important correspondence with a client or information about the latest status of an account or decision is rendered inaccessible to anyone not included in the most recent email thread.

Transformation that harnesses the way people work already

When there are so many new and dynamic collaboration platforms and tools to choose from, it seems incredible that email remains as prominent as it does today for passing files back and forth. Yet this is the reality. The practice speaks volumes about the way users work habitually, and what comes most naturally to them. This is something organisations need to try to work with, rather than against, as they strive towards more productive and reliable collaboration.

Too often, content management solutions require that users engage take special action, or open a new window to store the latest version of a document or information from the associated narrative -so that its contents become accessible to authorised colleagues. If this interrupts that person’s immediate activity, some level of resistance is inevitable. This is especially true as long as individuals are able to quickly search back through their own email inbox to find whatever it is they need.

Filing content in context

To get users on board with consistent, shared-access document and email filing, firms need to make it ‘trivially easy’ for them to comply with the desired default method. For the content to be meaningful and useful for any authorised user, meanwhile, documents need to be stored along with the latest commentary: in other words, the email threads accompanying the latest attachments.

Microsoft 365 paves the way for exactly that. Boosted by Repstor technology, it enables and encourages users to store project-related emails and attached documents in preferred shared file stores without having to leave the familiar environment of Outlook.

Better still, machine learning helps the system to recognise related email threads, so the appropriate folder is flagged automatically as the destination repository.

Why not see for yourself?

Failing to tighten up email activity is not an option. As long as valuable information is locked in individuals’ personal email folders, productivity will be compromised.

We’ll be showing just how easy it is to transform email and document storage with Microsoft 365 in conjunction with Repstor technology in our next bite-sized webinar on July 30th. Register here.

Ask the Microsoft Teams Experts: What steer should we give our people on using the Files feature in Microsoft Teams?

Since working remotely during the lockdown, our people are using Teams more ambitiously by the day, but from an information governance perspective we’re becoming concerned about what happens to all the content that’s being stored in the Files area. How can we make sure this doesn’t conflict with or supersede the documents and information held in our central systems of record?

 One of the most common concerns we come across as organisations embrace MS Teams is what new chaos this might create for established information governance models and default document management systems. Certainly, no legal department or professional services firm wants to revert to a situation where files are distributed all over the place, with no visibility or version control.

The good news is that Repstor enables the best of both worlds: the ability to harness all that’s good and exciting about the Files feature of Teams while preserving full information compliance at a core systems level.

Here are three quick pointers:

  1. Embrace the Files feature: it’s a fantastic support for remote working.

Where co-workers are dispersed across distance, it may not be as easy to access and use internal document management systems as when everyone is in the office. But if everyone is using Teams, the Files area of the platform becomes a very useful default place for capturing and keeping all content that colleagues are working on or discussing – including attachments that have been added to chats. What’s more, Teams is optimised for remote working and for collaborating on/co-authoring documents – so it would be missing a trick not to take advantage of the facility. If the document concerned happens to be a huge file running to hundreds of pages, Teams allows for edits to be shared without the need to re-circulate every new version in full.

  1. Any content that touches Teams is automatically stored in Files, so there’s only one place to look.

Anything routed to or through Teams leaves a footprint in Files – whether that’s an email circulated via Teams, or documents associated with a task in Planner (assuming Planner has been linked with Teams – something we strongly recommend). This makes light work of auditing, and of content reconciliation with central systems of record. That’s provided there is integration between Teams and core document management systems. This is where Repstor comes in.

  1. Repstor software closes the loop, keeping content in sync.

The key to facilitating all of the above, while maintaining information governance, is to integrate Teams with established document management systems/central systems of record. Repstor’s software can ensure this, closing the loop so that the latest updated files are reflected back at base. Better still, we can enable this in a number of different ways – offering organisations maximum flexibility in line with their particular needs and circumstances.

I explain these options in our Microsoft Teams Bite-Sized Webinars, part of a current series of short, practical sessions designed to help firms get the best from the platform. Sign up here to find out

Re-imagining professional services post COVID: from continued remote working to the rise of the ‘flexible contingent workforce’

The COVID-19 lockdown has been a good test of professional services firms’ ability to work dynamically and productively from anywhere. Whether engaged in accounting, auditing, risk management, tax advisory, business consulting or legal services, teams have had to pull together remotely to deliver what’s needed – efficiently, and confidently. And on the whole, firms have probably managed this better than they expected to – drawing on tools like Microsoft Teams and associated collaboration tools to keep everything coordinated and under control.

But the extreme conditions of the last three months have highlighted some problem areas too, and provided food for thought as firms approach the post-lockdown return to work. As in most other business sectors, the realisation is dawning that the familiar workplace and modes of working of old will not and cannot be reinstated – something McKinsey and others have been mulling over in some detail.

Dynamic team assembly

The big rethink is not just about the physical design of workspaces; it also involves the make-up of teams. Now that professional services firms have proven their ability to maintain service levels over distance, and as the economy languishes in the doldrums, the case for being able to deploy resources flexibly and scale-ably has become stronger and more urgent. The better equipped teams are to collaborate and perform remotely, the more sense it makes to draw on experts as and when needs arise – harnessing third-party and freelance talent to fill specific gaps, while allowing the core business to stay nimble and agile.

KPMG, a long-standing customer of Repstor, has been reflecting a lot on the future for professional services value chain and has arrived at exactly this conclusion. It talks about the growing importance of the ‘flexible contingent workforce’, for enabling new service agility and rapid scalability.

Others have described this as described as a shift to a ’liquid workforce’ with up to 30 per cent of the US workforce already thought to be contingent, ‘on-demand’ workers.

In the wake of COVID-19, given that offices won’t be able to operate at full capacity or support hot-desking as they may done previously, it is anticipated that between 10-30 per cent of the professional services workforce (most typically 20 per cent) will need to be resourced remotely. Many professional services firms have had to furlough people during the lockdown and it’s expected that not all of these professionals will return to work. Yet to fulfil client engagements firms will need the flexibility to plug in external consultants to scale up resources on demand, or fill gaps in expertise.

The shifting priorities of professionals

Professionals themselves have new expectations, too. JLL, a real estate specialist and client of Repstor, confirmed this in a recent poll of its employees – whose results it compared with a similar survey a year earlier. Among 1,300 professionals, some 40 per cent were now looking to move house (versus 20 per cent last year), citing Internet broadband speed and the need for a designated home workspace as chief reasons for upgrading their home. Post-COVID, a large majority of JLL employees said they would prefer to work from home at least 3-4 days a week from now on.

Having experienced an alternative work-life balance over the last three months, a lot of professionals are rethinking their priorities in this way, and their employers will need to accommodate their evolving needs to hang on to valued talent. Especially if any house moves involve professionals relocating away from cities and seeking to renegotiate their terms of work.

Whatever the eventual mix of talent, the immediate practical challenge for professional services firms is how to manage more diverse teams securely, as collaboration extends beyond not just physical boundaries but potentially also beyond organisational firewalls – as contingent workforces are formed. This isn’t just about managing projects and critical documents in secure, traceable and compliant ways. It is also about being able to on-board associates/subcontractors quickly, so they can hit the ground running.

The conversations we’re having with professional services firms today, as we help them to make this more dynamic future a reality, are inspiring. I’ll be sharing more of these insights as well as practical solutions over this new series of blogs.

To join the conversation, and share your latest thinking on the future of the professional services firm, why not comment below or get in touch.

Repstor: Our pedigree in Professional Services

Repstor’s people are experienced experts in optimising Microsoft 365 and MS Teams productivity and information control for professional services firms and legal teams. We are also frequent home workers, so we practise what we preach. Our software is used extensively by two of the Big 4 consultancies, 50% of the top 10 professional services firms, and numerous law practices and corporate legal departments across the UK and beyond.

Enhancing document & email management from within Outlook

Meet users where they are, using investments you’ve already made, by harnessing the latest Microsoft 365 capabilities for intuitive, compliant content interaction & management

 For weeks now I have been singing the praises of Microsoft Teams and how so many businesses are successfully capitalising on it as their teamwork hub. At the same time we are cognisant that while so many are comfortable working in collaboration applications like Teams, there is still a set of users, who continue to be email focused and need access to all their information within Outlook.

For these businesses, they have realised that by asking users to open and move between multiple applications to find what they need, or to store a document where they’re supposed to, can have one of two negative effects. Either it slows productivity, interrupting the current flow of work. Or it prompts some level of resistance or even rebellion – users opting for easier workarounds, such as sharing the latest version of a document by email – causing content chaos.

One window on content, one familiar way of working

A very simple way to avoid workarounds or a drop in productivity is to make Outlook the front-end to wider content management – whether that’s in relation to legal matters, client engagements or some other form of project management.

Strong integration – between the tools that people use routinely every day and other document and information sources – is a great time-saver and compliance aid. If it’s second nature to call up and re-file content within the main application people use in their work and communications, there is no reason for users to do anything else. If, by extension, users can readily collaborate on documents using Microsoft 365 and automatically return the latest version to the central repository, why wouldn’t they?

This is about achieving information compliance by finding and empowering users where they are – without a sharp learning curve, or demanding that people change the way they work. It is also about making the most of existing investments – in both Microsoft 365, and in core document management systems – by blending the two and triggering preferred default behaviour that feels instinctive, easy and helpful to users.

It’s what we do

This is Repstor’s bread and butter, and it’s kept us very busy during the COVID lockdown as organisations have looked for quick and easy ways to enable deeper collaboration, both on- and offline, using tools they already have.

Learn more at our next bite-sized webinar

It’s something we’ll be unpacking at our next practical, bite-sized webinar: “Transform Email & Document Management in Microsoft 365 – Introducing new MS 365 features”, on July 2nd 2020.

In this short, high-impact session, we’ll highlight new and meaningful capabilities within M365 for email and document management that users should be leveraging. These include improved version control and document comparison features, support for offline content access, and powerful search.

Via a quick demo, we’ll show how to expose these capabilities within the familiar Outlook environment and as part of workflow. We’ll also demonstrate how Repstor technology nudges M365 email and document management best practices, and promotes predictive, compliant filing.

See you on July 2nd.

Contact Repstor Today

Ask the Microsoft Teams experts: How far can we go with external collaboration workspaces?

Our employees are becoming quite adept at using Teams now, and want to go a bit further in using the platform to collaborate externally with clients and partners – but how wise is this, how far can Teams take them, and how do we keep control?

 As more and more organisations are discovering, Teams has a lot more to it as a communication platform than might first appear. If project, engagement or matter leads want to use it to collaborate and share content with external parties such as clients or service partners via a dedicated ‘workspace’, they’re discovering that all of that is possible within the parameters of Teams. The only thing holding them back from doing more of this is a concern that internal team members might inadvertently breach privacy or security policy, by sharing something they shouldn’t or leaving something exposed, out in the ether, for the long term.

The good news is that Repstor’s software sharpens organisations’ control – and visibility – over external collaboration activity, giving managers the assurance that employees can maximise their productivity and the client/partner experience without risk to information compliance.

Here are 3 pointers on using Teams to create external collaboration workspaces with confidence:

  1. Don’t hold back: it’s what Teams was designed for.

What I mean by this is that, even out of the box, MS Teams readily supports rich, secure collaboration, with some fantastic capabilities and the option to decide who can find and join teams, both internally and externally. It really is the modern way to support productive working across extended teams or client/partner ecosystems. In 2020, it makes no business sense to buy special bespoke document-sharing or ‘deal room’ platforms for such purposes when MS 365 and enhanced capabilities from Repstor already provide everything companies need for a fraction of the price.

  1. Repstor software enhances Teams’ controls for added peace of mind.

With the extensive collaboration facilities provided in Teams comes responsibility – to ensure that sensitive client or project/matter-specific information is visible and accessible only as appropriate. Repstor software provides discrete controls over who can set up a collaboration workspace, and what the privacy, visibility and access parameters are. This helps to prevent users being added carelessly. We make it very easy to establish any boundaries, locking down workspaces to specific groups of people.

This, in turn, increases the confidence in using Teams for external collaboration. And the more that people use Teams-based workspaces to collaborate, the less likely they are to circulate sensitive content over email – content that could hang around indefinitely and be forwarded ad infinitum. Rather, defaulting to Teams-based collaboration workspaces should encourage people to share live links to the correct, latest content, which is stored centrally and locked down securely. This gives internal owners more control which version of a document team members see, in addition to the ability to remove links or retire/remove content once its immediate value has expired.

  1. Repstor provides a clear audit trail of all content access & editing activity.

Ensuring information compliance and building trust in Teams also requires that project/engagement/matters leads can readily see what people are looking at; which versions of content have been accessed; and when and by whom any updates were made. Repstor provides clear, at-a-glance visibility of who has accessed and edited content, enhancing auditability. Although activity is monitored within Teams as standard, Repstor makes it easier to ‘surface’ and display that information so that those responsible don’t have to spend time hunting for it.

I expand these and other points in our Microsoft Teams Bite-Sized Webinars. Sign up here to find out more.

Ask the Microsoft Teams experts: How do we curb information & team duplication?

In their rush to be productive while working remotely we’ve noticed that people can end up creating multiple teams related to the same projects or topics and reinventing the wheel when related information already exists in central systems. What would you suggest?

We hear this a lot, too. While it’s fantastic that Teams is so intuitive and easy to use it can mean that, in their enthusiasm to get going, people create new teams related to a project or matter when perfectly good ones already exist. This could result in Teams holding hidden silos of information and/or people sharing wrong versions of content. It may not occur to them that they could simply import and work with the latest approved information and documents as stored in central SAP, Dynamics or project/practice management systems.

Why give users the task of creating and defining new Teams, when the latest, approved information already resides in established systems of record? Repstor’s native Office 365-based solutions remove the temptation to reinvent the wheel, by providing seamless integration with common content repositories and allowing easy, controlled importing of information from original internal sources to aid and streamline the set-up of teams.

Here are 3 benefits of maximising content integration & import options to ease teams’ creation, using Repstor software:

  1. The efficiency and control of carrying across the right names, descriptions, codes, settings and look & feel.

If someone has already done all the hard work of assigning the right people; naming, coding and describing a project or matter; and putting in place appropriate collaboration and security parameters, it makes no sense to start from scratch when creating a ‘team’ to aid associated remote working.

With Repstor, you can simply link a team with the back-office system that contains all the client or project information and any related settings and import them across into Teams. We also bring across a list of all the related metadata, setting out the type of service the project comes under, who the lead partners are, the correct descriptions and client/case coding, plus any access restrictions and even the right ‘branding’ (logos, colour schemes, etc).

  1. Accelerated teams set up.

Once existing project or case/matter-related information has been imported, those who are accountable can decide whether to create linked teams at the outset that are ready to go, or wait until someone wants to initiate a related collaboration discussion or sharing forum. Then too, they can have everything ready for them – in the form of a template with all of the necessary parameters pre-determined. This reduces the risk of ‘rogue’ settings being introduced and saves the time of having to seek approval for a new team.

Repstor supports great flexibility in the make-up of teams, from the channels and tabs involved, to the way each team looks, to the privacy and security settings. So, the templates are a productivity aid, rather than a curb of creative freedom.

  1. Easy, multi-dimensional navigation making existing teams easier to find.

The rich, standardised metadata which our software carries across when it imports project information from core business systems makes it much easier for remote workers to check for existing teams before they set up a new collaboration or discussion forum.

It’s easy to slice and dice this information, too. All information linked to a team becomes readily searchable by any element of the metadata and is presented via a graphical dashboard, making it easy to look up teams by service, client/project code, lead partner, and so on. It’s also possible to call up an at-a-glance hierarchy of professional services engagements or legal matters by client.

I’ll be expanding on these points in a new Microsoft Teams Bite-Sized Webinar. Sign up here to find out more.

Ask the Microsoft Teams experts: How do we optimise task management in Teams and MS Planner?

As Teams-based collaboration gathers pace among our remote workers, what’s the best way to allocate and manage tasks so we can maintain progress against client work or other projects?

 This is a great question, and one with a happy answer in the form of Teams’ great companion tool, MS Planner.

Although Planner isn’t an inherent part of Teams, the two applications work fantastically well together so that intuitive, at-a-glance, ad-hoc task management becomes a natural part of routine Teams-based collaboration.

Repstor’s native Office 365-based solutions add to this ease of use, enabling instant task set-up as Teams are created and making light work of task allocation, status monitoring, and the issue of notifications as deadlines approach.

Here are 4 handy tips for capitalising on the combined benefits of Teams & Planner:

  1. Recognise the value of Planner.

Most teams, whether created around a given client or a particular project, will have tasks associated with them. So it is logical to have a means of organising this activity – with the ability to quickly call up status views, and automatically flag up outstanding activities.

Reliance on email for assigning and following up on tasks can be cumbersome and inefficient. MS Planner makes light work of ad-hoc task management and is a natural companion to MS Teams. Repstor joins the two seamlessly and boosts their combined impact.

  1. Use Repstor technology to pre-create tasks during Teams set-up.

Repstor’s software enhances Office 365 productivity, by making it easier and more instinctive to store, access and link content as it is created or brought into play across the Microsoft business software suite. We’re experts in Teams, and we love MS Planner – particularly the way it helps to keep Teams activity organised and well-paced, to sustain momentum and drive results.

One of the ways we add value for users is by inviting/prompting use of MS Planner as part of each new team’s set-up. With Repstor, team owners can automatically add common tasks linked to common types of team activity within an organisation, using pre-existing templates. In a legal matter management context, that might be routine tasks associated with high-volume workloads such as conveyancing. In professional services, it could be the steps required as part of an audit.

For people collaborating on documents frequently, an ad-hoc task management solution is normally much more appropriate than a dedicated, formal project/task management system.

  1. Use different task views to assign tasks easily.

We also make it easy to assign tasks to individual team members, exploiting Planner’s intuitive ‘drag and drop’ functionality. Managers/team owners can quickly look up current task allocations, due dates and the activity status, and balance workloads by assigning new tasks to those with less on their plate.

Rather than hoping team members have made their own notes about task deadlines and have added them to their calendars from initial email requests, Planner integrated with Teams – and boosted by Repstor – can ensure that timely prompts are issued to the people involved, keeping tasks and broader projects or client cases on track.

  1. Drill down into Planner’s analytics to see how tasks are progressing.

To see how workloads are progressing, team or task owners can use Planner’s analytics feature to see how close the team is to its goals. They can slice and dice performance information into different views too – to see where certain tasks, topics or people are up to at any given time.

With Repstor’s ability to designate tasks at the outset – and require that team members tick off their tasks as they complete them, and that notifications are issued when deadlines or next steps are due, we can help you maintain progress and ensure that teams deliver results reliably, time after time.

We know first-hand what an impact Teams + Planner can have on productivity and task organisation, because we use these tools every day at Repstor – where our people are used to collaborating and co-developing software at distance.

I’ll be expanding on these points in a new Microsoft Teams Bite-Sized Webinar on Tuesday 19th of May.  Register here to book your place.

Ask the Microsoft Teams experts: Should we be worried about external over-sharing?

Teams’ use has really taken off in our organisation since the lockdown, but we’re concerned that home-based workers using the platform to chat or share files with clients or external contractors may be exposing us to risk – if sensitive information is discussed or exposed beyone the boundaries of our business.  What’s the best way forward

This is an issue that will chime with many companies at the moment. Progressing projects, negotiating or renewing contracts, or discussing new requirements are among the numerous bases for discussions and information/file-sharing with external parties, and Teams is ideal for all of this.

Here’s what we suggest to keep employees’ externally-facing activities within safe boundaries, without curbing people’s productivity:

  1. Be confident that Teams is the right platform for all collaboration.

One of the great advantages of MS Teams is that it provides secure support for all kinds of collaboration activities – internal, external or a blend of both – via a platform which most businesses already have. A platform that is highly intuitive to use – hence Teams’ phenomenal success and still-soaring popularity for everyday business communications.

We would certainly advocate using Office 365/Teams over special third-party portals for all forms of collaboration and content sharing. But that’s as long as some basic boundaries can be set to protect employees – and the company – against unwitting ‘leaks’ of sensitive information or documents.

  1. Build in ‘boundaries’ from the outset.

Although MS Teams’ default setting is for internal collaboration only, it’s very easy to switch those settings with a couple of clicks, giving users more freedom than might be palatable when it comes to inviting or adding external users to new or existing chat/content-sharing groups.

Through our software we support a number of easy-to-configuration options, allowing organisations to strike the right balance between user freedom and risk prevention.

The most conservative/’safest’ option is to pre-determine who can create certain types of team, and who can be added to them – and how. Another possibility is to require an approvals process each time a new member asks to join or is added to a team, as an extra step to make sure that external collaborators aren’t added to discussions or project groups by accident.

  1. Provide clear prompts for team creators.

Rather than rely on users keeping Teams settings as they are (defaulting to internal use only), it is a good idea to make access permissions an explicit part of a team’s set-up process. That is, each time someone creates a new team chat or content-sharing group, they must specify its purpose and user boundaries – including whether the team is for internal participation only, or whether external visibility, membership and sharing is acceptable.

Our software supports a good level of granularity in this respect, encouraging a team’s creator/owners to consider up front what will happen in a team and what sensitivities might apply, before they decide how open to make the current group activity.

In summary, the optimal way to approach external sharing is to make it intuitive and seamless for team creators/owners to configure policies that manage external access sufficiently discretely to keep sensitive information and content safe, yet without hampering productivity.

Certainly Office365/Teams, in combination with Repstor’s solutions, offers all of the controls organisations need, without the need to invest in separate, dedicated content-sharing services potentially costing 10s of £s per Gb of storage capacity.

I’ll be expanding on these points in our new Microsoft Teams Bite-Sized Webinar Series. Take a look here and find a webinar to suit you.

Digital transformation of the legal function has never been more urgent

As legal teams adapt to the ‘New Normal’, the urgency around digital transformation of everyday processes is starker than ever.

In particular there is now a heightened need for dispersed teams to be able to collaborate productively and efficiently from home – using tools they already have. It’s why we are seeing so many legal professionals embrace platforms like Microsoft 365 – including MS Teams and MS Planner – more broadly. It’s proving the ideal means to collectively organise and process matters in a secure and managed way.

We know this is happening, because of the very high levels of interest in our current bite-sized webinar series. Each week, our CTO Fergus Wilson provides practical tips on using Teams to maximum effect for remote collaboration during the ongoing lockdown. (A recent session addressing a common question from legal teams can be played back here.)

Introducing Panoram: our exciting new legal digital transformation partner

In the current state of market upheaval, the announcement of Repstor’s partnership with Panoram – an exciting new legal digital services start-up – could not be timelier.

Panoram is a brand new legal transformation specialist, which has deliberately brought forward its business launch during the Covid-19 lockdown, in response to the growing sense of urgency around digital transformation in the sector.

Poignantly, Panoram shares Repstor’s belief that harnessing existing technology investments is the surest way to adapting to the current climate with enhanced content management & collaboration; to enabling new digital ways of working immediately, and without disruption to everyday activity.

It’s why Repstor was the obvious technology partner for matter lifecycle management. Panoram will recommend and implement Repstor Custodian for Legal™ as its default matter management offering, linked to Microsoft 365 (the Office 365 subscription service). Custodian for Legal is ideal for corporate legal departments and law firms anxious to accelerate their digital transformation initiatives, because it builds on a software investment many legal teams have already made. It’s no coincidence that the software has become a firm favourite for transforming matter-related document and email management, as well as legal matter-based collaboration.

A meeting of minds: legal visionaries & technology heavyweights

Panoram’s founders are respected experts in legal technology and legal practice. They include Rick Seabrook, a digital transformation leader and formerly a Partner at Accenture. He believes strongly that law firms and in-house legal teams have no choice but to embrace digital technologies and new delivery models if they want to survive, and stay relevant and agile.

Another co-founder Greg Wildisen, is a technology visionary who, before Panoram, co-launched the European arm of AI automation software company Neota Logic with Rick. And Martin Bonney, one of the world’s leading eDiscovery managed services experts, brings over 25 years’ experience gained in ‘magic circle’ law firms, eDiscovery service providers, and global consulting organisations.

At Repstor, we’re delighted at this obvious, timely and powerful match. Panoram offers a unique combination of law firm heritage, deep digital/technology expertise, and independence (because the company isn’t owned by an IT vendor or a law firm). Together, our two companies offer something very special – which this market is clearly hungering for.