SOS Connect by Solicitors Own Software Ltd. prides itself in being a fully focused Legal Software that is well-integrated across many of the key areas of Law practiced in the UK. Having been in the Legal Software domain for the last 30 years, the system offers several modules such as Business Process Management, Workflows, Matter Management, Legal Accounts and Reporting. Since the management buyout in 1987, SOS Connect has been growing at a very steady rate. The company has been able to focus on key requirements for robust legal software.
SOS Connect is built on Progress database which supports Microsoft Cluster Manager MSCS. The system is therefore a Desktop Install and will require a server to run. The application has been integrated with third party software such as Oyez Forms, Laserforms, Bighand Dictation and MOJ RTA Portal. SOS Connect is a powerful system that can be further adapted to user requirements. Where required the system can be further developed by SOS developers to suit user needs. SOS Connect is well integrated with Microsoft Office and enables emails to be linked to matters with time recording from within Outlook itself.
SOS Connect have focused on some keys areas of law, such as Personal Injury, Conveyancing, Probate, Crime, Family, Commercial and Debt. The Personal Injury Module and has been integrated with claimsportal.org.uk. This means that users can seamlessly interact with the Claims Portal and effectively manage their work, saving time and duplication. Workflows have been carefully thought out and seem to be well presented. User can easily modify workflows and further build on them. SOS Connect also offer a Client Web Portal where users can log in and track the progress on their matters.
There seems to be some lack of uniformity in the User Interface. The main screens have embedded fields, yet outlook does use fields (other than in the File option section). Again in the Legal Accounts module there is a different older style UI and icons. This cannot be good for user experience and is definitely an area for improvement. There is the option for a Cloud hosted version of SOS Connect, however this version does not provide an enhanced user experience when compared to a desktop version. Of course, the usual benefits of cloud hosted software may be welcomed by more and more firms in the future. SOS Connect can be costly at install and to further develop the software to tailor it to your firm’s needs and requirements. For this reason, it may not be cost effective for the smaller firms.
Support and training
SOS Connect offer a few training options such as On-site training, which can be useful at system implementation. They also offer on-going training and are SRA CPD accredited. SOS Connect has an in-house support team with the added benefit of being experienced in the legal domain and can therefore relate with legal users and their issues. The support system also offers a web-based progress tracking system, so that users can see progression at all times. Where required, the support team are able to log into the client’s system remotely and address the problem effectively.
SOS Connect has always concentrated on the mid-sized firms and in doing so they have been very successful at providing a focused service. The future may very well be that SOS Connect continues with what they are good at. However, a key fact to note is that many small firms are adopting Cloud Systems, mainly for the reason that solutions are affordable and quick to get started and go. Tomorrow, as these firms become mid-sized, they will be looking for more powerful cloud based systems and will therefore be more likely to steer away from traditional desktop install systems such as the current SOS Connect package.
SOS Connect is a powerful desktop system and should be a good choice for those firms looking for an efficient system without cloud capabilities. Clients already using the system seem to be content with all that it offers in terms of Business Process Management, Workflows, Matter Management, Legal Accounts and Reporting along with standard letters and templates. It does not seem to be a good fit for the dynamic users who require integration with Web APIs, the agility to work from a mobile/tablet app and those who seek a system that they can tweak and customise themselves without the need of getting expensive, hourly-charged developers involved.