How Morae Global’s Phoenix Business Solutions supported McCabe Curwood to fully combine their Document and Email Management System in iManage’s modern Work 10 Cloud

by Chris Davis, Director, Phoenix Business Solutions Asia Pacific

In a bid to expand internationally, tap into new markets, reduce costs, provide a better service for clients and combine forces against today’s unsettled economy, numerous law firms are choosing to merge their practices. In fact, 2018 was the busiest year for mergers since 2001, with 72 mergers completed, up from 65 in 2017.

One such merger was with two top Australian law firms, McCabes and Curwoods, which merged to become McCabe Curwood in July 2018. Following the agreement to merge, there were a number of systems and processes earmarked for consolidation and a refresh. During the review process, both parties identified the document and email management system (DMS) supporting the businesses with Client/Matter management as an area that required merging and centralising.

As McCabes had been using iManage for approximately eight years, it was decided that McCabe Curwood would proceed with iManage as their SaaS platform of choice. It was also decided that Phoenix Business Solutions, a Morae Global Corporation company and the leading global, information and document management specialist, would be used for its expertise to oversee and support McCabe Curwood’s migration to the cloud.

Chris Davis, Director of Asia Pacific, Phoenix Business Solutions, explains: “We recognised that McCabe Curwood was in an extremely strong position to move to the cloud and embark on this project. We proposed a three-stage approach to the project to reduce the change management overhead on the business and technology team – this included a technical upgrade for McCabes’ existing on-premise iManage server in readiness for the Work 10 platform; migrating McCabes to the cloud, and supporting Curwoods with its data migration planning and readiness activities to import its users to the iManage Cloud.”

The aim of the project was to deliver a fully combined DMS in iManage’s modern Work 10 Cloud, with a united platform underpinning the business that could continue to mature over time, supporting the business stakeholders, clients and strategic goals of the organisation.

Migrating to the cloud

Just a few years ago, the idea of migrating a law firm’s DMS to the cloud was in many cases met with suspicion, uncertainty or outright dismissal by its senior management. Today, alongside data security, the cloud is one of the most discussed topics amongst law firms, so McCabe Curwood recognised that it was the right time for the firm to take the leap.

Brad Allen, CIO of McCabe Curwood, added: “With so much change already happening within the merger of the two firms, we knew that it was also the right time for us to migrate our DMS to the cloud, to provide a more flexible and integrated approach for all of our users. We needed our lawyers to be able to access documents on the move, wherever they were, on any device, which moving to the cloud would enable them to do.”

Once McCabes’ existing DMS had been upgraded to iManage Work 10, the design and planning phase of moving to the cloud commenced. At this stage, Phoenix’s project team were involved in ensuring all hardware had been provisioned and that prerequisites were met, and subsequently built an implementation plan and project schedule to ensure the project would run smoothly and within the agreed timescales and budget.

After a successful migration, Phoenix delivered post go-live support, both on-site and remotely, and user training which supported the change management process.

The next step: migrating Curwoods’ content 

Once McCabes’ successful migration to the cloud was complete, the next step was for Curwoods’ content to also be migrated to iManage Cloud from its legacy platform. Brad Allen explains: “As Curwoods had previously been using a different DMS to iManage, we knew that this would be a bigger task. However, the Phoenix project team clearly explained the steps they would take and reassured us that, of all of the processes that would need to be changed as a result of the merger, the steps involved in migrating our current content to iManage Cloud and ensuring our users were sufficiently trained, would be simple and seamless.”

After the migration design document was agreed, Phoenix began working on the development of migration scripts and mapping and migrated Curwood’s production content into the new iManage Work Cloud for McCabe Curwood. On completion, McCabe Curwood was successfully operating its DMS in unity on iManage Work 10 Cloud.

Leveraging the benefits of the cloud

McCabe Curwood has already seen numerous benefits of operating in the cloud. From an IT perspective, the move to the cloud has drastically reduced the burden on its IT infrastructure, and the firm has been able to demonstrate to its clients that their data is highly secure and that its DMS conforms to their compliance requirements. Additionally, the team at McCabe Curwood have been able to work much more efficiently on the go; of all of the IT changes that were implemented, the move to iManage Work 10 Cloud has been the best received.

Chris Davis continues: “The project ran incredibly well. The DMS migration was a key component of a wider, complex integration project, the objective of which was to get all staff working across the same set of IT systems within 12 months following the merger of the two firms. It was essential that the multiple project workstreams across a broad array of IT systems were kept in step with each other.”

Brad Allen adds: “Working closely with the McCabe Curwood integration team, Phoenix managed the project within the broader scope of work and very effectively navigated the challenges arising from the inter-dependency with other IT systems within our environment which were undergoing significant changes of their own. The entire project completed with minimal downtime for our users. The cutover from on-premise to cloud went so smoothly that our staff were blissfully unaware that the major change had taken place.” 

Looking to the future, Allen explains the future plans for the law firm. “We are keen to further leverage the benefits of migrating to the cloud and start exploring the possibilities that iManage RAVN presents in the areas of automation and knowledge management. It’s an exciting time for McCabe Curwood and we’re looking forward to seeing how we can continue to be efficient, be secure and be smart.”