Transitioning from an all-in-one solution to a best-of-breed: a challenge?

February 21, 2023

Author: Legalsense

More and more law firms around the world are moving from an all-in-one or ERP system to a best-of-breed environment. Transitioning is a challenge for any law firm, but switching from an all-in-one application to an environment with separate subcomponents can raise some concerns. Does that make the transition more difficult? Not at all. In fact, with the right preparation, you can reap the benefits of the switch. Continue reading to find out what they are.

The difference between all-in-one and best-of-breed

Suppose a law firm needs new office software. It can choose between a traditional all-in-one package or a best-of-breed solution. An all-in-one system provides processes and functionalities such as CRM, time tracking, and document management in a single package. On the other hand, a best-of-breed environment consists of online (SaaS) subcomponents from different providers, such as Legalsense, that are linked together. One way to do this is to use APIs. These subcomponents are applications that focus on a single business process. Because of this focus, these applications are often better developed and more user-friendly than an all-in-one package.

Because law firms deal with a number of parties in a best-of-breed environment, a transition can feel more challenging: for the end user (will I have access to all the different applications?) and for the project group (will all the providers work together smoothly?). Our experience can help overcome these concerns.

Benefits versus drawbacks

The law firms we have transitioned to a best-of-breed environment so far have indicated that their concerns were unfounded. The providers - often well-established specialists with a reputation to uphold - have worked well together. The APIs in use are now so well developed that interfacing is no longer a problem. And this has significant advantages. For example, an end user may have to work with multiple applications, but this is outweighed by their simplicity and intuitive use, which makes work much easier.

Otherwise, some important steps won't change at all. Even if you switch to a new working environment, you will still create your documents in Word. There is another advantage to using best-of-breed: If you are not satisfied with a particular provider or subcomponent, this type of environment makes it easy to drop the underperforming component. Additionally, the maintenance of your ICT will be greatly reduced because it will all be running in the cloud.

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Three reasons to choose legal software in a best-of-breed environment


1. Harness the power of integration

While Legalsense as a PMS system focuses on managing your timekeeping and billing processes, as well as your clients and matter management, other SaaS providers take care of other aspects of your practice. These include CRM, document management, bookkeeping, and compliance. Based on your personal choice of providers and tools, you can combine everything into a comprehensive solution that best suits your practice.

2. Working and collaborating in Microsoft 365

An increasing number of law firms want to seamlessly integrate Microsoft 365 with their practice management system. In a best-of-breed environment with a PMS as SaaS, this is possible. For example, Legalsense runs in a browser, so it works seamlessly with Microsoft 365 applications. Some practice management systems work with their own mail system, making it impossible to interface with Microsoft Outlook. If you want to take full advantage of MS 365, this should be carefully considered when choosing a PMS.

3. Practice management powered by Business Intelligence (BI)

What is your cost per jurisdiction? Which practice groups generate the most margin? Where is time being wasted? Etc. You can make informed decisions about these, and other questions based on well-designed business intelligence (BI) reports. Most practice management systems run standard reports. If you want more in-depth information, a BI tool - linked to your PMS in a best-of-breed environment - can provide the answers you're looking for. 

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