Products, Programs and People: Eric Sugden on Technology
The VANTAGE 2106: Worldwide Conference is underway in Nashville, Tenn. this week, and Eric Sugden, Chief Technology Officer, Elite, presented his technology vision at yesterday’s keynote to the more than 1,100 customers in attendance. We caught-up with Eric after his talk to hear more about the future of Elite.
Legal Current: In your keynote you talked about the product roadmap. Can you share what some of the highlights for 2016?
Eric Sugden: As an organization, we’ve been getting ready for the 3E to Enterprise migration to make sure we have the right products available, programs in place and enough highly skilled people to make it all come together. As we focus on product, we and continue to standardize our software and minimize customization, to ensure the faster, out-of-the-box application our customers want.
And while we’ve done a lot of work on standardizing the software, we’ve also begun work to standardize the 3E environment. The way we are going to do that is to offer a 3E Cloud version where Elite completely manages the 3E operations in a public cloud deployment model, making Enterprise Progression to 3E even easier, since there is no capital outlay, no hardware to manage and the monitoring and upgrades are all performed by Elite personnel in a well-defined standard environment. It’s a huge time savings for the decision making process, as well as the application.
LC: A few years ago there was a big emphasis and concern about security in law firms. Is security still the first question asked when applications transition to the cloud?
ES: What customers first ask about today is access. And there are plenty of tools to access 3E data through a firm management portal which will support data uploads, downloads, reporting and system admin functionality.
While security is vital, customers realize they are actually more secure in the cloud. Who better to protect your data than the industry hardened data centers in the Microsoft Azure Cloud? This includes security compliance with SOC2, ISO and PCI standards. When you compare hosting it with Microsoft to maintaining your own data security, it’s actually a financial and systems relief to most customers.
We believe Elite is on the cutting edge of bringing large-law financial systems to the cloud, driven by demand from CIOs across the legal industries who are moving more and more of their critical systems to the public cloud. We have established an architecture council that will tap into this insight and keep us moving in a direction that supports our customers’ needs.
LC: What other applications are moving to the cloud?
ES: We are reconstructing eBillingHub and bringing it to the Azure cloud as well. Our goal is to increase the performance and scale of EBH as that service continues to grow and add more law firms and e-billing vendors. The new version of EBH will also have improved security features and data residency options which will enable law firms to choose the country of residence for their data.
LC: What other technology work have you been doing this year?
ES: We are also taking a holistic approach to what the next generation of the 3E interface will look like. This year, we’ve started up the project of switching from Silverlight to a new UX technology – most likely HTML 5, which is what Workspace is using. We’re undergoing a complete end-to-end review of the interface and getting a lot of user feedback into how we can improve the application to make it faster and easier to use. As a matter of fact, we’re conducting tests here at VANTAGE, in our User Experience area, which will help drive the new 3E design.