Monday, November 23, 2009

LexisNexis: Is the Empire Crumbling?

John Heckman publishes the Does It Compute blog. Today he posted an interesting article on the fading light that is the Lexis Nexis software group. Here's what he has to say:
In the wake of LexisNexis’ acquisition of Time Matters, it projected an empire-building strategy around acquired legal software. In short order, Lexis acquired PCLaw, Juris, Concordance and CaseMap to add to HotDocs, which it had previously acquired. It announced a “privileged” relation with NetDocuments. This gave it solutions to almost any legal software need.

But two years after each acquisition, Lexis canned the principles of the acquired software programs (with the sole exception of HotDocs), that is, the people with the vision who had developed the programs to the point that they were worth acquiring. In the past five years, Lexis has regularly announced new management and product champions announced that it would do better. This has all been reminiscent of the recent Mac ads about the announcement of new versions of Windows: this time all the problems are fixed, “trust me.” The fact is that the Practice Management division of LexisNexis (in its various incarnations) has not had “very effective management team in place” (to quote a recent listserv post) since they got rid of Bob Butler.

Last year, Lexis broke off its relationship with NetDocuments, which apparently had not “met its numbers.” This week, it announced it was selling HotDocs to British-based CapSoft, one of the largest providers of HotDocs solutions. Although HotDocs had for years been the market leader in document assembly, recently it has been losing ground to competing products such as Exari and DealBuilder.

In addition, in a move that left me (and a lot of other people) scratching my head, Lexis is now re-positioning PCLaw as the “entry level” practice management program. So if you call Lexis sales and tell them you are a small firm (3-5 users) and want practice management they will suggest PCLaw, NOT Time Matters. PCLaw is a great time/billing/accounting program, but this is simply weird. Does this mean that PCLaw will get additional resources (which would be a good thing) or will Lexis change its corporate mind a year from now?

Whatever all this means, it is certainly not indicative of a cohesive product strategy.
Interesting thoughts. Please click here to read the original article.

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