Even as many law firms have stubbornly stuck with on-premises software to run their practices, the last few years have seen a decided shift towards the cloud. All indications are that the coronavirus crisis has dramatically accelerated that shift, and surveys, such as Clio’s recent Legal Trends Report, have borne that out.
Now, Intapp, a major provider of business applications for larger law firms and financial services firms, is driving another nail in the coffin of on-premises legal software, announcing that as of the start of the new year, it will transition to cloud-based software sales exclusively. Starting in January, Intapp will launch all new subscribers directly on its secure cloud platform.
“Although much of the business world has quickly migrated to cloud-based software, professional and financial services firms have lagged behind,” said Thad Jampol, Intapp’s cofounder and chief product officer. “Intapp is taking the lead in bringing these industries up to date.
“It’s more than managing costs and enhancing operational efficiency,” he continued. “This is about our client firms adopting a modern, technology-enabled model that enables them to better meet their clients’ needs. Legacy, location-dependent services are the past; cloud is the future.”
That said, Intapp will continue to service its existing clients with on-premise software and support them as they get ready to migrate to cloud applications. No client will be left behind, Jampol told me in an interview earlier this week, and whether they are fully terrestrial or hybrid, Intapp will continued to support them.
He said that many law firms have been urging Intapp to take this step, and he believes that even the firms “that are not both feet in the cloud” will see this as the right decision for the company.
Most firms understand that they should sooner or later move their business technology to the cloud, Jampol said. By being public and unambiguous in its support for cloud technology, Intapp will help spur them to make that move, he believes.
Jampol emphasized the benefits of cloud-based software. It is always up to date with the latest features. It is highly secure — made even more so by the fact that Intapp provides isolated data storage and customer-managed encryption keys. It is less expensive to operate and maintain. And it promotes collaboration.
“We think this is the right answer for all businesses, but specifically for our audience, because they are so knowledge-centric,” Jampol said.
While Intapp had been considering such a move since long before the pandemic, “COVID did create a clarity in that dialogue,” he said. Customers told the company that they saw this as an important watershed moment and that those who might have been reluctant to change before the pandemic are now more open to it.
One outcome of the pandemic, Jampol said, is that many in law firms have come to realize that “work is not where we do it, it’s what we do.”
I asked Jampol what he sees as the timeline for large law firms to move fully to the cloud. “You’ll never get 100% adoption,” he said. “But when will the vast majority of the Am Law 100 be cloud first? I think that will be a lot sooner than people think. And we’re betting on it.”