Affinity's Steve Best Featured in TechnoLawyer
Yesterday's TechnoLawyer community AQ (answers to questions) email featured Affinity's Steve Best responding to a question about the stability of practice management software. Steve correctly notes that what users perceive as software bugs are more often environmental problems with local network hardware or issues with one or more of the computers on the network. Most practice management software, such as Amicus Attorney and Time Matters (the two programs mentioned in the TechnoLawyer email), are databases running over a network. One bad network card or cable anywhere on the network can wreak havoc with any networked database, including practice management software, causing the software to behave unpredictably and leading to possible data loss or corruption. Steve's advice for those experience stability problems with their existing practice management software is to find and correct the source of the problem rather than pay the high cost of switching to a different practice management application. A certified consultant in that software can best help resolve these issues. Here is the text of Steve's comment:
As a certified consultant for both Amicus Attorney AND Time Matters, I think it is incredibly important to advise everyone that BOTH products essentially do the same thing. They are both fantastic products! Each, of course, has strengths and each, of course, has weaknesses. Mr. Gann complains that Amicus Attorney is unstable, but the fact is that Amicus Attorney is typically a very stable product and my company has proudly installed it in hundreds of firms and supported it for over 10 years. The truth of the matter is that Amicus Attorney, Time Matters and all central database software products can be sensitive to their environment. Because they are reliant on a stable network, any failure on the part of the software is just exposing possible problems on your network. It is much more common to find an environmental problem on the network than to find a bug in a software. In the grand equation, software is the constant; the network, servers and workstations are the variables. Software developers do the very best they can to ensure a stable product. Even the best results in a test or BETA environment couldn't possibly catch every single glitch or bug (yes bugs do exist ... don't get me wrong). I am a FIRM believer in NOT switching from one software product to another based upon stability alone. My good friend and colleague Debbie Foster often reminds us that EVERY software product has ten problems. She correctly advocates the "devil you know theory," and it absolutely applies to software. Switching from one software product for another trades the first software's ten problems for ten different problems. Honestly, if your refrigerator doesn't keep food cold, don't blame the souring milk. I would, quite frankly, stick with what you have until you have mastered every nuance of the product and embraced its best features. And, get the best training you can. If you then feel that you've simply outgrown the product, investigate switching, hire a consultant to help you (don't balk at hiring a consultant ... we are experts ... remember clients don't need lawyers, they can represent themselves, but they hire you because you are an expert ... so practice what you preach ...), and above all do your due diligence. I've gone to firms that abandoned Amicus for Time Matters and went back, and I've worked with firms that left Time Matters for Amicus and switched back. And, kudos to all of you for having case management software. And before you switch, check the software system requirements, evaluate your network, your virus detection software and the like. In all honesty, if Amicus is unstable on your network, what makes you think Time Matters will run any better (and vice versa)?If you are not a member of the TechnoLawyer community, you should be. Join here and sign up for useful emails such as the weekly AQ email.