Stuart Whittle (Business Services and Innovations Director), Kevin Brown (IT Director) and Sarah-Jane Howitt (Marketing Director) were interviewed shortly after Atlas (known internally in Weightmans as "Nimbus") went live. We spoke to them about Weightmans’ digital transformation implementation strategy, and how this was kicked-off with Atlas. We also explore the impact on their knowledge management and search experience.
In the interview, it was highlighted that the current platform for communicating and sharing data at Weightmans had become outdated and was no longer fit for purpose. All three agreed that the firm needed to continue their investment in technology in order to improve the efficiency in how the firm collaborates and shares information.
Weightmans LLP is a top 45 UK law firm acting for a range of public organisations, private companies and individuals. The firm consists of 1,300 people working from eight offices across the UK.
Weightmans prides itself on its innovation strategy, utilising new and emerging technologies in order to become agile in a very dynamic market.
The Atlas Digital Workspace includes out-of-the-box communications, collaboration and knowledge capabilities for end-users, management and IT. Atlas defines a new digital workspace platform category known as a "Knowledge Productivity Platform".
Atlas is installed within the customer's Microsoft 365 (Office 365) tenant and Azure infrastructure, leveraging existing Microsoft 365 licenses, security/compliance settings, Active Directory and more.
The platform fully supports Microsoft Teams, Yammer, SharePoint Online, Microsoft Groups, Planner, OneNote, Power Apps, Power BI and much more.
Sarah-Jane stated that a lot of their employees have resorted to sharing information over email, resulting in a lack of understanding of whether communication had landed with its intended recipient or had even been acted upon. What seems to be the case is that much of the knowledge distributed across Weightmans hasn’t been used as fully as intended, may not have reached the right audience and has a tendency to get lost in the sheer volume of email traffic that its people have to deal with on a daily basis, both internal and external.
Kevin added that it is a constant challenge at Weightmans to find the right data or insight as the current system is poor at helping the user find what they need. “We are trying to create a place where people can collaborate digitally”, Kevin said. “We really want to remove the firm-wide reliance on network shares, duplications and out-of-date documents. Our aim is to help our people to manage their documents more effectively so that they retain their relevance and are accessible within our teams.”
Knowledge and Search with Atlas: Stuart and Kevin discuss the initial outcomes with Atlas, the expectations and how it has changed the user experience.
Stuart sees Atlas as a core business platform for their digital transformation. He commented on how they want to utilise a platform that is easy for their 1,300 staff to use. They are aiming to create something which will encourage the collaboration and sharing of information, albeit securely, across all parts of the firm.
Sarah-Jane, responsible for the firm’s communications (amongst other things), cited a vision of a central hub where everyone has access to the right information at the right time. Sarah-Jane wants it to be the resource “everyone logs on to first thing in the morning and simply know everything they need to know for that day.”
Stuart added that, with Atlas, the vision is to deliver a solution that will continue to serve their knowledge and communication needs long into the future.
The aim is for Nimbus [Atlas] to be the resource
“everyone logs on to first thing in the morning and simply know
everything they need to know for that day.”
“We really want to remove the firm-wide reliance on network shares, duplications and out-of-date documents. Our aim is to help our people to manage their documents more effectively so that they retain their relevance and are accessible within our teams.”
“I’m excited to get to a point where we win the hearts and minds of people for Atlas to be the place where they want to go, because they find it useful.”
“We weren’t quite sure what the possibilities were with this kind of tech transformation, and I am pleasantly surprised at how quick and easy the Atlas platform is in refining searches and enabling me to find the information I need within seconds. A lot of that has come from the workshops we’ve had with ClearPeople.”
Weightmans conducted a series of meetings and demonstrations with a number of different platform providers. Following the approach of ClearPeople’s team and Atlas’ unique capabilities, Weightmans chose Atlas as its dedicated Office 365 digital workspace platform to deliver on their vision of a firm-wide hub. Atlas was successfully launched a few days before the interview.
A key USP for Stuart in this process was Atlas’ ability to find pertinent information immediately, saving hours of previously wasted time. “We weren’t quite sure what the possibilities were with this kind of transformation, and I am pleasantly surprised as to how quick and easy the Atlas platform is in refining searches and enabling me to find the information I need within seconds. A lot of that has come from the workshops we’ve had with ClearPeople.”
It is the hope of Stuart, Sarah-Jane and Kevin that Atlas will see many of Weightmans’ 1,300 staff move from being passive consumers of published information to being active contributors within the new platform. The engagement and updating of knowledge and information can then become a collaborative team effort, rather than the burden falling on a few within the firm.
With the early successes already apparent, all three interviewees are hopeful that Atlas will enable Weightmans to provide a platform that will better benefit their colleagues’ client facing work and individual performance.
Sarah-Jane concluded the discussion by saying: “I’m excited to get to a point where we win the hearts and minds of people for Atlas to be the place where they want to go, because they find it useful. We just have to get enough people using it to begin with so they realise how invaluable the platform is to the firm and our engagement and collaboration strategy going forward.”
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In this other "Atlas Case Study Series" episode, listen to Vicky, Head of Digital Transformation at Osborne, talk about Atlas and her vision and digital transformation strategy.