Legacy systems at top ten global law firm CMS made it difficult for the entire organization to act as one. When the firm's corporate/M&A practice challenged IT to deliver a new global collaboration tool, they chose OutSystems to deliver the “My CMS” mobile app in record time. Employees now find it easier to find the expertise and information needed for their work. OutSystems is now being used in multiple projects to accelerate the firm's digital transformation, including innovative customer-facing mobile apps that help CMS deliver more value to customers.
17 member firms and 75 offices
8,000+ staff to use new mobile app
5 months to deliver “My CMS”
Now delivering mobile apps for customers
"We used OutSystems for a successful global project, and we are now starting to use OutSystems to accelerate the firm's digital transformation, globalize and integrate the business, and deliver more value to customers."
Legacy Systems Made it Hard for CMS to Act as One
Challenge - Ranked as a Top 10 Global Law Firm, CMS operates in 70 cities in 43 countries and with 75 offices worldwide. Having grown through a series of mergers—including the coming together of CMS, Nabarro, and Olswang in 2017—CMS inevitably had a very diverse IT landscape. A mixture of legacy systems made it difficult for CMS to act as one firm. To support continued rapid growth, while at the same time providing more value to clients, the firm needed to pool resources, and accelerate innovation.
CMS Legal Services is the firm’s central services center, based in Frankfurt. Its mission includes providing technology services and solutions to enable organizational change and business innovation. Integration and standardization of the firm’s systems and processes are central to that mission.
In the past, CMS IT had typically relied on customized off-the-shelf applications. Development, or customization, followed a waterfall implementation approach. Even though substantial progress had been made in IT's ability to serve the global business, there was much more that could be done to improve agility.
"We were too slow to deliver solutions. Partly that was due to a lack of standardization and low-levels of reuse. Too often, that resulted not just in slow delivery, but the deployment of systems that were hard to use, replicate, and change."
In 2018, the corporate/M&A practice challenged Hélder's team to deliver a mobile app that would help staff find relevant expertise and improve collaboration across the global organization. Until then, the practice had been using a custom-built solution, but that lacked an accompanying mobile app and was comparatively hard to use or improve.
OutSystems Provides a Platform for Innovation
Solution - Hélder knew OutSystems from previous projects as IT Director for CMS in Portugal, and based on that experience, he knew that a low-code approach could improve agility, and help overcome the problems of slow delivery, limited reuse, and hard-to-change deployments.
Following a competitive tender, CMS selected OutSystems to build the new mobile app. Flexibility was the overriding selection criterion, as Hélder explains, "OutSystems provides us with a platform that we can use for a whole variety of web and mobile development projects. Compared to hand-coding, it’s more flexible, and it makes it easier to reuse and replicate solutions, and integrate multiple data sources."
In January 2019, CMS commenced an "envision" exercise with OutSystems and set out the following objectives for the new application:
- Enable users to find partners and lawyers using a wide range of criteria, including location, expertise, sector, and languages.
- Share information on publications, events, rankings, newsletters, panel agreements, and transactions.
- Ensure data availability, privacy, and security.
- Provide access anytime, anywhere—by web or mobile application.
- Deliver a great user experience, irrespective of device/screen format.
What also became clear was that the app would need a backend integration layer to connect to multiple information sources across the organization, including intranet, website, active directory, and others.