NetDocuments, the leading cloud content management platform for legal professionals, today announced that Am Law 200-ranked law firm Ice Miller successfully implemented the NetDocuments native cloud platform, replacing its existing, aging, client-server system. With over 340 legal professionals in seven offices advising clients on all aspects of complex legal issues across more than 20 practice areas, having a secure, flexible, and future-proofed document and email management technology was paramount to the firm’s productivity and streamlined legal services delivery.
Ice Miller, which began its search for a new document and email management technology several months prior to the pandemic, was set on replacing an outdated, administratively taxing, and instable, client-server system. “As a firm, we embraced the idea of moving to the cloud. We know that the cloud is more secure, not less secure, than what we can deliver internally, and that a mission critical system like document management belongs in the cloud,” stated Steve Johnson, Ice Miller’s Director of IT Applications.
The firm’s document management system (DMS) review and selection process were extensive and included more than 65 people within the firm, ranging from attorneys to support staff and partners. Johnson added: “Document management was truly the software that required more feedback and buy-in from the firm than anything else we were going to do. We understood how vital user buy-in, and technology adoption are, especially with a new DMS.”
Critical factors that Ice Miller valued with NetDocuments as part of the selection included the native cloud architecture, the platform’s ease of use, and how it is built around the attorneys’ and users’ daily routine.
“In terms of selection, NetDocuments has been purposefully built from the ground up as a native cloud application. The fact that NetDocuments has always been in the cloud is a huge differentiator,” added Johnson.
Once the decision was made to select NetDocuments, IT Director Johnson and his team recognized the importance of choosing the right implementation partner as part of a successful roll-out. “Based on our past experience working with Kraft Kennedy, and their impressive track record helping other law firms roll-out NetDocuments, the decision to partner with them was an easy one.”
The initial platform design sessions kicked-off in February 2020 and were formally put on hold due to the pandemic. When the firm re-engaged with Kraft Kennedy last August, the initial expectations remained the same with timing for the project, and a second round of design meetings with specific practice groups pending. Overall, the transition to remote work, and the implementation of NetDocuments, despite operating within the pandemic-driven restrictions, was seamless and continued full steam ahead. Johnson added: “In retrospect, getting the design sessions done in person pre-pandemic, was extremely beneficial and eased the DMS transition based on familiarity and agreement on scope and strategy.”
Managing Change, Maximizing Results
According to Steve Johnson, the overall success of the DMS switch project was a combination of having the firm’s internal teams intimately involved in the technology selection and testing, as well as invested in the design process. “This, combined with switching to a cloud platform and a solid cloud architecture and friendly, easy to use interface, paired with an experienced implementation partner with a best practices playbook, made our move to NetDocuments very manageable and an overwhelming success.”
Kelly Kautsky, project manager at Ice Miller, and integral to the firm’s NetDocuments implementation noted Kraft Kennedy’s prediction of immediate user adoption. “For me, the highlight of the NetDocuments roll-out was accurately predicted by Kraft Kennedy, noting … ’at Go-Live, the majority of the firm will start using NetDocuments (adding documents, editing documents, etc.) with little to no assistance’. It was absolutely true – we had a great Go-Live with many happy users.”
Indeed, the change management concerns often associated with a DMS switch proved unfounded: The firm had 90% user adoption within the first few days of going live on NetDocuments, and the number of related service desk calls dropped dramatically within the first week.
On day one with NetDocuments, the firm saved 1,400 documents and filed 12,000 emails, compared to an average of 2,000 documents and emails combined in their legacy DMS. After four days, the firm had saved more than 4,700 documents and filed 37,000+ emails within NetDocuments.
In terms of ‘out of the gate’ user adoption, more than 90% of the 600+ platform users were up and running within the first three days of initial training and set up.
“We are very excited to welcome Ice Miller to NetDocuments and help them embrace our platform as the foundational software for legal professionals and where they do their work,” stated Josh Baxter, NetDocuments CEO. “Currently, more than 3,200 customers leverage the NetDocuments cloud for their single source of truth and the central hub for working inspired."