A while back I re-visited Web/SaaS/Cloud based practice management (PM) system options. I came to the conclusion that web based PM apps aren’t yet the compelling alternative that some would have us believe. Don’t get me wrong, I like small web based utilities that provide an on-demand service, such as Google Googles, and I also have started to explore use of a much larger web based system, Infusionsoft, for it’s easy to use and superior solution to automated follow-up sequences.
If you are in the mode of considering PM system alternatives I suggest you undertake the following exercise. First, list all the features and things you can and should be doing with proven PM programs such as Time Matters or the PM alternative. Next calculate your costs over the next three years.
I believe you will find that the web apps just aren’t there yet with the same functionality as Time Matters. You might say, ‘Yes but web apps cost less and I am don’t use all of the features.’ Well then, you might want to consider the true cost of PM software either on-site and on-line and be sure to factor in the ’lost opportunity’ cost of not fully using the features provided.
An exec from a major Cloud based system executive recently stated cloud based PM is $50.-$150. per user per month depending on the options selected. The post acquisition cost of Lexis’ PM software, is roughly $15.00 per user per month for Time Matters under AMP, add roughly 10.00 more per user if you have Billling Matters or PClaw. (This is a blended cost as the first user is about twice as much as each additional user). So bottom line for full functionality the cost is about $15-$25. per user per monh to maintain your existing Lexis PM software (case management and client billing/firm accounting).
Also with Cloud based applications you will still likely maintaing a file server. What does it cost for your PC/Network file server – well not as much as it used to. Premier actually offers a file server (SOS-Small Office Server) for about $150.00 per month. This includes hardware (2.5Mhz, 2.5 Terabytes), software, Server O/S, MS-SQL Express, Installation and on-going maintenance. Thats works out to only $15-30. per user per month for a ten or five user firm.
So, go ahead make your own analysis of the features and associated costs.
1. Make your list of the features your should have available and should be using
2. Make a comparison of the $ x users x # of months and see for yourself.
What are the differences in both price and functionality. The results may surprise you. Please report back and let us know what you have determined.
Regardless of your PM system choice you should also calculate the cost of ‘lost opportunities’. For example, not converting one or more new client opportunities in a given month. Now calculate any recurring ‘lost opportunity’ over 36-60 months. I believe you’ll find that the real cost to your firm lies in less than perfect management, which we are all guilty of.
Your proficiency using a well designed system (0n-site or on-line) will get you closer to effective management and that’s where the real profitability for your practice will be gained. If your system can’t do its job, than neither can you do yours.
Your Comments Are Welcome