CMS Austria is the technical headquarters for 11 European branches of global law firm CMS. To be more competitive, the firm needed a comprehensive document management strategy and a new platform. Responding to the needs of their international business, market and client base, the firm launched iManage Work 10 in the Cloud with a campaign to boost user adoption. Now, the firm can bid for more business and their lawyers are working more efficiently than ever before.

Part of the international CMS network, CMS Austria provides legal services to clients across Europe from 11 regional offices. The Vienna headquarters houses 75 lawyers who specialize in issues relating to cross-border business and regulations. The team primarily focuses on mergers and acquisitions, finance, real estate, building, labor, tax, intellectual property, IT, and procurement law, supporting clients through every step of the legal process.

The challenge

One user experience across the business

CMS Austria has a lot to offer clients — specialist knowledge, seamless legal services
in Austria and across Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). But without a comprehensive
document management strategy and platform, the firm wasn’t eligible to compete for
certain types of legal matters and risked losing business to competitors.

“Clients want assurance that their data is secure. Without a robust approach to document
management, we weren’t just eliminated from tenders and request for proposals (RFPs)
— completing audits for existing clients was difficult too,” explained Thomas Kroupa,
Head of IT at CMS Austria.

The Vienna branch of CMS acts as a digital headquarters for 11 offices across CEE.
When the IT team began looking for a document management solution for the firm,
which coincided with Kroupa starting work at the office, they worked closely with the
firm’s management team to define a central strategy to streamline the transformation.

“We want to operate as one entity, but that means factoring in different time zones,
government policies, and regional data protection regulations that impact how we share
documents,” shared Jelena Bosnjak, Head of Business Development, Marketing and
Communications. “We needed to define one user experience that balances client needs
with how lawyers prefer to work, and then roll it out in a smart way to maximize user
adoption,” Kroupa added.

iManage isn’t just a great document management solution, it’s been the catalyst for company-wide transformation and helped us define best practices and higher standards around managing and protecting our knowledge assets.

Thomas Kroupa, Head of IT at CMS Autria

The solution

Modern knowledge work platform supports company-wide efficiency

To mitigate the complexity and risk of connection issues that come with on-premises infrastructure, the firm decided to adopt a cloud solution for all offices across CEE. They selected iManage Work 10 in the Cloud and worked with iManage partner, IRIS Nederland, to implement and integrate the platform with backend databases and its practice management system, jurXpert.

“iManage is the go-to solution for law firms. We were impressed with how easy it is to integrate it with other systems,” said Kroupa. “Some of our legacy technology is notoriously difficult to modernize, but everything works well with iManage.” CMS Austria defined standard workflows for 320 employees and worked with IRIS Nederland to ensure iManage supported them. This blueprint for adoption has been gradually rolled out to all locations to streamline working practices and establish company-wide efficiency.

“We wanted to work in the smartest way possible, which meant empowering all 320 employees,” explained Bosnjak. “After initial gaps in communication, we realized that involving staff was key to driving adoption, and we nominated super users to encourage peer learning.”

Centralizing on one solution simplifies collaboration
Feedback from lawyers, such as Gentscho Pavlov, co-manager and CEE partner at the Sofia office, has been positive. Pavlov said features such as “quick file,” which helps to store emails in the right place quickly, and “my favorites,” a button that enables one-click access to each lawyer’s most-used folders are popular, along with secure, anytime access via the mobile app.

“Time is everything in our business. iManage means we can move quickly through the chores and focus on more important tasks,” said Pavlov. “Organizations who still rely on lawyers creating folders for their documents are missing an opportunity to be more efficient and reduce human error.”

The team also implemented iManage Drive and iManage Share to simplify collaboration with external partners and interns, who can work with clients without needing full access to systems and data. Compared to the multiple channels the firm was previously using to share documents with clients, centralizing on one solution is much easier to manage. The new “need to know” and “deny by default” policies also help keep data secure and protect sensitive matters with ethical walls.

iManage Threat Manager is used to monitor access to information. While super users are expected to access more files than other employees, CMS Austria can ensure that compliance rules are fulfilled — especially if the employee is due to leave the company.

Business Outcomes

Winning more business, serving clients better

With iManage Work 10 in the Cloud, lawyers have a secure, highly available platform supporting client work. Collaborating and searching for documents is quicker and easier, and the staff like the user-friendly interface and channel structure that CMS Austria has
rolled out.

“iManage has great features that make our life easier. For example, iManage Share lets us collaborate and share documents securely with clients, quickly and intuitively,” commented Kroupa. “Matters are also enriched with metadata, which makes it much simpler for lawyers and assistants to find what they’re looking for.”

And as for competing in tenders, CMS Austria is now free to submit more bids for new client work, safe in the knowledge it has a trusted, reliable document management system protecting its data.

“iManage makes us more attractive to clients, more efficient, and helps us streamline
operations across 11 regions,” said Bosnjak.

“Finally, user adoption has been great. Finding super users who are genuinely excited to use the platform instead of nominating them made a huge difference to getting the support structures properly in place for our new system and has been the biggest organizational challenge,” Kroupa added.

Automation and standardization are also driving greater productivity, which in turn empowers lawyers to increase their billable hours. And the firm is saving on operating costs too. Pavlov reported that the firm spends less on storage for physical copies of documents because they no longer need to be printed — they are safe in the iManage Cloud. The firm also saves on printing, paper, and ink.

“iManage has transformed our approach to document management. It enhances security, helps us comply with GDPR, and enables better governance,” revealed Pavlov. “But it also integrates seamlessly with other systems, helps identify threats, and makes the team more productive. By taking a strict approach and defining standard processes, we’re building good habits that result in better serving our clients.”

Looking ahead

As CMS Austria continues to onboard more employees to iManage, the firm is also considering enhancing security with iManage Security Policy Manager — which
simplifies creating ethical walls — and rolling out iManage Records Manager to simplify and standardize retention.

“The broad range of iManage solutions is making us think harder about issues such as data retention. It’s not just a great document management solution, it’s been
the catalyst for company-wide transformation and helped us define best practices and higher standards around managing and protecting our knowledge assets,” said Kroupa.

How we can help

First of all, thank you for reading our blog. We are more than happy to share our thoughts on digital business transformation topics, feel free to subscribe to our newsletter if you haven’t already.

At IRIS, we understand like no other that information is the source of every organization and therefor requires intelligent, future-proof solutions which meet the needs of organizations and their users. That’s why we successfully deliver information management solutions to enterprises and professional services firms for over 25 years now. Our team of certified information professionals has the experience and expertise to support you with digital transformation projects from start to finish, to drive long-term business value.

Our information management solutions to help our clients establish new ways of working are based on main 3 components:

  1. Content services: get a grip on all data to gain value from your business content – and the information it withholds.
  2. Privacy & Data Protection: protect your business, reputation, and your clients with robust technology without impacting the workflow of your team.
  3. Workflow Automation: replace manual processes with automated ones to improve efficiency, reduce errors and costs, and increase consistency.

About the author

Rachelle Beugels
Rachelle BeugelsOnline Marketeer

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