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Legal software supplier taken over? Should you stay or should you go?

legal software supplier taken overHas your legal software supplier been taken over?

Legal software company takeovers are not new. In the current economic climate, however, the pace of takeovers has increased and there are now fewer independent suppliers to choose from. So, if you’ve recently received this sort of news, what can you expect?

Initially, you will receive some form of notification of the fact brimming with reassurances.

Beware false promises.

They will tell you that nothing will change: business as usual; no price hikes; continued support.

Don’t be fooled by all that blather. Takeovers are all about profitability and economies of scale. No software company in the world is going to market and support two very similar products – that’s just not business common sense. Start to ask yourself where you will stand when inevitable change does come.

End of the world?

Not quite. But it will be the end of life for your current software. You may receive a notice to this effect which means you will either have to change to the new supplier’s system or leave. You may be told you have no option but to remain due to the terms of your contract. They may offer you price incentives to keep you sweet – they probably won’t last. Whatever the case, rest assured that things will change and eventually pressure will be applied.

Pressure? What pressure?

This can take many forms. Price and contractual obligation threats are usually right up there at the start. If that’s the case, ask yourself whether you really want to be wedded to that kind of organisation. Maybe it’s time for you to give your notice to quit and look elsewhere. That could turn things nasty – after all, the whole point of a takeover is to buy new business and clients that the supplier did not have before. Stick to your guns.

Support and relationships.

When two organisations merge, cost savings rise to the top of the agenda. Streamlining and staffing cuts may remove the people with whom you forged strong business relationships. Worse, essential updates and support for your existing software will probably tail off.

What can you do?

It’s back to the big question; should you stay or should you go? If you stay, be in no doubt that you will be changing your software sooner or later with all the upheaval and retraining that entails. If you opt for a new supplier, that will involve change too. However, at least you will have a supplier that you have chosen rather than one foisted upon you.

It’s also a question of deciding whether to go for a large corporate with an indifferent attitude or a small independent that values you, your people and your business. Do you wish to be a big fish in a small pond or vice-versa?

There is still a number of highly regarded, staunchly independent suppliers in the legal software marketplace which pride themselves on being your trusted advisor. Look out for the ones which show genuine concern about you and which can facilitate the switch with ease. That way, your business will be in safe hands.

If your legal software supplier has been taken over and you wish to look at your options, contact us on 0345 2020 578 or innovate@lawware.co.uk.

Mike O’Donnell, LawWare Ltd.

February 2021.

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