with Jonathon Wells, Director of Finance and Operations at Rollits.
At Katchr, we take a partnership approach to all of our relationships, always understanding that no two law firms are entirely alike. Our close working practice is reflected in our drive for constant customer success. We interviewed Jonathon Wells from Rollits to explore their recent migration project and the operational benefits gained from using Katchr.
Rollits were migrating practice management systems, and as a long-standing customer of Katchr, wanted to ensure that the Katchr reporting would continue seamlessly as the underlying data source changed.
Q: You wanted to conduct a migration but the timescale ended up being very short. Why were things so urgent?
A: So, we wanted to do some consolidation of various work types and different categories and things as we migrated, but due to us all working remotely, other priorities being in place, and then probably most importantly, I didn’t contact you until five or six weeks before we went live.
Q: How did you find our response?
A: The first response from everybody, after a gulp at your end was, “I’m not sure, we’ve never done it this way before or this quickly, but we’ll give it a go. I’m sure we can do something.” And then from there, I thought your collective response was excellent. You didn’t make it my problem to do everything. You had a very clear project plan, a good sort of update process where everybody knew what was happening. And it very much felt like you were our trusted partner that made it work and helped us through it.
So, with everything else that was going on with migrating a practice management system, when we’re all working remotely, it was terrific for me to be confident that the management information side… I knew it would work, I thought there would be more teething problems than there were. There were only a very small number. And you basically took care of everything. It was great. So, a big thank you for that.
Q: Any learning outcomes?
A: The obvious one is to talk to you between the early planning and the last-minute cry for help. And I guess if we’d have had that conversation earlier, I probably would have been looking to consolidate and simplify our data fields. We’ll still do that but that’s for a quiet moment.
Q: Is Katchr being used the way you want it to be?
A: Yes, it is definitely. It’s a spectrum of those who absolutely get it and do look at their own dashboard every day, or probably some of them more than once a day. Whereas you’ll get others who only really look at it on the last few days of the month. I’d love for it to be the case that we had billing that dripped through across the month, but 90% of it happens in the last two, maybe three days of the month. So, Katchr is a good way for people to be looking at billing or WIP (Work in Progress).
And from my point of view, I will run reports from the practice management system. But I only run reports that I need, I don’t, in any instance, “double do”. And with the innovation or the changes you made on the debt listing, I will probably next month, change how we work so that that’s the only place we look for the debtor’s information.
So, my preference is to only have one place for people to look for management information. And that one place is reliable, I know it matches the underlying practice management system, and reporting inquiry, performance management is all done from that one version of the truth. And that is a really good selling point for Katchr, from my point of view. So, if I want to change something, or as we will do next month, steer people towards different KPIs or newly presented ones, it’s much easier to do it in that one place than it would be to do it with a bit here, a bit there, something else that somebody does on a spreadsheet every now and again. So, I’ve worked in quite a number of industries and Katchr is one of the best ways that management information is presented that draws from different data sources. I think it’s very good.
Q: Are there any other specific areas where Katchr could remove the need to have off system reporting?
A: The actual MI that’s sent out around the firm, over and above what people get from Katchr is pretty limited, it really is just sort of the profitability things, and I’d love to have that conversation about what you can produce from the P&L module, because ALB is just the very bare bones.
I would like to explore how we could use Katchr to share profitability type information across the partners and for them to self-serve, rather than it just being the monthly profitability pack and any sort of ad hoc analyses that I do.
And then the next project will be sharing P&L type information; if we can build the financials into Katchr, then that might be quite a good route to go down.
I have been doing some sort of high-level profitability analyses. So not doing an accountant thing of apportioning costs upwards, but just starting off with revenue per fee earner per team, bringing in their costs, their salaries, those sorts of things. And just seeing at a gross level, how profitable different types of work or different customers are, or how profitability is per headcount, all those sorts of things. And it’d be really good to be able to do that sort of thing. Not via downloading from one system and manipulating on spreadsheets but coming up with a way for that to actually present decent, consistent information via Katchr. Perhaps a different type of profit analysis to different people.
Q: Do you think Katchr can change the culture of the firm? for example: in respect of billing habits?
A: It’s a bit sort of nudging it and using like the visual representations and things on Katchr can be quite helpful because non-financial people are very receptive to pictures most often. And that’s one of the ways that Katchr works really well.
If I’m a certain type of fee earner, if I’ve got a target of £10,000 revenue a month, to motivate me, I’d probably need two things. One is the actual billing in the month. And then the other one is, I don’t know, maybe a clock face, a pie chart that just represents how much of the month’s billing I’ve done. And in many instances, that very simplistic approach is quite motivating.
Q: Has it reduced reliance on single individual people such as yourself?
A: Yes, it definitely has.
Q: Is Katchr used a lot with fee earner appraisals and one-to-ones or in board meetings, team meetings?
A: Yeah, in normal times it would be used for appraisals. So, if you’re appraising somebody in May, for their work over the last financial year, it’s brilliant for, “Here’s a screenshot that covers everything. Here’s your KPIs, how well you’ve done.”
So, the thing that they see every day, they know that’s the same thing that will be in the appraisals. Rather than, “Oh, look, I’ve got some new reports that you don’t know about that I’m going to appraise you on.”
Q: To conclude, are you satisfied with Katchr?
A: I’m very, very happy with what Katchr does. Another benefit of having you as a partner; we wouldn’t know how to refresh or wouldn’t devote the time to refresh, look and feel and that kind of thing. It feels more like a partnership than, “I’ll just flog you with subscription for a new year and each time we bring out a new product, try and sell it to you and then leave you to your own devices.” And it’s never felt like that with your organisation.