Monday, July 12, 2010

Time Matters Software Dying a Slow Death

Time Matter was one of the pioneering case management apps. For years it was at the forefront of the category. Then Lexis Nexis bought, and everything has been downhill from there.

John Heckman used to work for Time Matters. Even after he left the company he continued to push the product, until now. Here is what John haw to say (or write):
I have been involved with Time Matters for about 10 years, 7 of those as a CIC (Certified Independent Consultant). Many people are aware that I was unceremoniously excommunicated from the CIC program by the late unlamented Charlie Rogers just days before the CIC conference in 2007 for criticisms of LexisNexis.

I had drafted an article on the state of LexisNexis in February of that year (2007) and finally published it my blog in February of 2008 as “Acquire, Merge, Destroy.” I published a followup a year later, and numerous articles since then

Sad to say, most of the analysis in those articles has been borne out, and many of the predictions have come about.

Since that time, I have continued to recommend Time Matters as one of the best products on the market. More recently, to the increasing number of people who have asked me about switching, I have advised them to sit tight for a year or two. Their existing software (assuming it is reasonably up to date with a version that supports Windows 7) will perform well for that amount of time, and by then other options may be available, SaaS programs such as Clio or Rocket Matter will have matured and it may be easier to switch (Amicus, for example, recently released a Time Matters conversion option).

However, with the brain drain of Time Matters programmers, including with some programming apparently now being outsourced, with senior Quality Control people having left, I now believe that LexisNexis is no longer capable of maintaining the original quality of Time Matters. The latest fiasco with Service Release 3 for TM 10 was the final nail in the coffin. This is an objective assessment, independent of the more subjective issue of whether the current leadership is adequate to the task or even has the desire to maintain Time Matters at the quality level it was under Bob Butler. Given the number of Time Matters consultants who have more or less surreptitiously been looking around for other options, I believe this assessment is widely shared, if not expressed.

A number of third party vendors have solutions that will make Time Matters work decently, but then you are looking at a significant additional cost on top of the program and maintenance.

I recently received an invoice to renew my Annual Maintenance Plan and was also contacted by email to the same end. Over the past several years, Time Matters’ pricing has become increasingly predatory in an effort to churn additional money out of existing customers who may not be in a position to do anything about it. However, since I do not depend on TM for my daily work, I am not in that position.

In fairness to LexisNexis, predatory pricing seems to be the way the industry is going. Amicus seems to have started down that path as well, and of course if you purchase Word 2010 there is no upgrade pricing from previous versions – the first time this has happened. And don’t forget, Microsoft has about an 80% profit margin on Word and Windows.

I have therefore decided not to renew my maintenance and not to upgrade to TM 11 when it comes out. Sayonara Time Matters.

As a consultant, where do I go from here? For me, that decision is colored by the fact that within the next couple of years I expect to substantially reduce my business, focusing mainly on Worldox and Amicus (I will be 70 in September). If I were 10 years younger, I would probably link up with PracticeMaster and a couple of the SaaS programs in addition to the other software I support.
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Anonymous said...

70! Good Lord! When was that about me picture taken? I'll bet Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin were still alive.

Anonymous said...

Oh, forget it. I see the Heckman attribution now. Gave me quite a jolt, though.

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Anonymous said...

Heckman never worked for Time Matters. He was a certified consultant, meaning he was on the official approved list. As a lawyer you might want to print a correction, LexisNexis likes to give people a hard time.

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