Is Outlook the New Operating System?

By: omi

DPS Software recently announced the launch of Outlook Office – a new case and matter management system operating entirely within Microsoft Outlook™. This brings together four essential tools: a powerful Case Management system; a versatile system for previewing accounts, an integrated phone system capable of recording telephone attendance notes against matters, and digital dictation; all inside an already familiar Email-based user-interface – Microsoft Outlook™.

Email as a form of communication is increasing hugely within the legal practice and the vast majority of fee earners already use Outlook as a part of their daily work. The first port of call at the beginning of the working day for most users is their Email, regardless of their level of IT expertise.

With Outlook Office the action of logging into their Email automatically gives them access to their case tasks, file history, template letters, phone attendance notes, digital dictation, and case workflows. They also have an immediate dashboard showing them what work they need to do today, this week, this month, to hit targets set by the practice for time recording and billing.

With Outlook Office, legal practitioners, inevitably comfortable with the Outlook interface, do not need to adapt to a different interface to work on their case files. Outlook Office enables then to preview cases and the documents against cases just as they would preview emails. A case file can be entirely within Outlook, minimising the need for product training. Processing a File Opening Form is as accessible and as customary a routine as checking your Inbox – from the same screen, in the same file, in the same programme.

Outlook Office is designed to make things more convenient, it will save time and enable more work to be handled in a more manageable way.

Adrian Bullock, of Shepherd Harris & Co., Enfield, one of the firms beta testing the software, claims that Outlook Office has eliminated the need to alternate between separate email and case management case management programmes on your Desktop. Outlook Office automatically creates an audit trail for every event related to a case file. This means that everything is now integrated. Outlook Office breaks down unnecessary boundaries.

“DPS has made this ambitious prospect a reality by making the biggest advancement in the legal software market in years. Outlook Office essentially works in the background of your Email agent – in fact, it is ‘almost invisible.’”

These subtle changes make Outlook Office stand out. Fiona Woolf, the President of the Law Society, has suggested that legal software is most effective when it is ‘almost invisible’ (Law Society Guide to Legal Software Suppliers 2007). DPS has made this ambitious prospect a reality by making the biggest advancement in the legal software market in years. Outlook Office essentially works in the background of your Email agent – in fact, it is ‘almost invisible.’

Indeed, the primary concern at DPS is that existing methods of work are not altered. Outlook Office ensures that the work of legal practitioners is not drastically changed by the inception of IT in the workplace, but that your workload and existing methods become more manageable. Outlook Office builds on DPS’ primary advantage – all supplied packages can be tailored to your specific needs.

This versatile software combines case management with the phone, digital dictation, task, web and text messaging services, and includes a full-power document assembly engine. Emails, letters and documents to be assembled against cases can be produced quickly and easily. The Outlook Office case management system integrates incoming and outgoing emails against cases with no user intervention. It will even mark incoming emails in the fee earners inbox as being on file or not. Most importantly, all of these features are operable within Outlook, itself a familiar and powerful software package.

“The question now, therefore, is not whether or not to introduce case management into the legal practice, but how to implement it.”

The question now, therefore, is not whether or not to introduce case management into the legal practice, but how to implement it. DPS’ solution is a turning point for the legal software market, providing a method which will no doubt eventually become standardised within every legal practice.

Outlook Office builds on DPS’ reputation for powerful, innovative and user-friendly products, while acknowledging the need to adapt and advance with ever-changing technology. DPS’ vast technical experience and enduring success, with over 20 years of experience, has established the firm as a leader in the legal software market. DPS Outlook Office takes One Office, already acknowledged as the most complete case management software available on the market (Law Society Guide to Legal Software Suppliers 2007), a significant step further.

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