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What We Have Learned from 2013 – and How It Affects You in 2014

Experience is a great teacher. That has certainly been true for NFS during 2013, as we have gained a tremendous level of knowledge and perspectives as a result of the implementations we have undertaken during the past year. What we have seen – and are increasingly seeing – are the game changers in the meeting room and space management area, driving new best practice approaches.

Here Are the Top Seven Technology Developments That We’ve Seen:

  • Increasing adoption of video conference technology for national and international meetings.
  • Outlook and Exchange integration for more efficient meeting planning.
  • Self service for a range of room booking and service provision activities.
  • A growing demand for mobile delivery for both booking and service provision.
  • Greater emphasis on better space utilisation, based on implementing more robust booking rules.
  • Some adoption of flexible working to drive better space utilisation and reduce costs.
  • Greater involvement of the Facilities team in decisions relating to space planning and management, based around improved utilisation metrics.

We are global suppliers of the Rendezvous meeting room software solution to organizations that include DLA Piper LLP; Lowenstein Sandler LLP; and Norton Rose Fulbright LLP, all together with over 100 offices worldwide. We’ve also seen how space management technology is being enthusiastically adopted by law firms across the USA, Europe and Africa.

The experiences gained from the new deployments and existing clients points to a number of best practices which could be very valuable to senior managers in the Facilities and Administration functions of law firms. The approaches are relevant for a single office as well as global multi-location organisations.

If you would like more details of our Best Practice Guide, please email Peter Carter here.

And now let’s move from the theory to see how it is put into the practice…

Spanning Time Zones in the US

Last year, NFS implemented the Rendezvous meeting room booking solution for leading US law firms that included Lowenstein Sandler LLP. A representative of that firm said: “We have been able to unify the booking procedures that previously existed across several offices.Having a central system is efficient and beneficial to all, allowing multi-location video calls to be quickly and easily scheduled.”

Not only has Rendezvous allowed all locations, regardless of time zone, to use a central system for the entire firm, but it also greatly improved the communication within the organization as it relates to meeting confirmations, notifications and updates to different departments, like Audio Visual and Catering.

Natalie AppletonNatalie Appleton, Head of NFS US Operations with extensive experience in the legal sector comments: “2013 was a truly exciting year for the NFS US team.We engaged with many global law firms and provided our clients with our Rendezvous software, a robust and truly feature rich solution, replacing first generation scheduling solutions or in-house developed software, including MS Outlook based solutions.”

“Functionality from multi-property booking to granular level reporting, now being demanded by law firms, will help our clients make more informed decisions on important activities like office relocation.”

The Uk Does It All

We have also seen merger activity in the UK, the most recent being the merger of Wragge & Co LLP with Laurence Graham, to create a significant new player with a UK and international presence.

In London and the UK the company will have a stronger platform from which to pursue growth and meet the needs of a diverse client base. It will have offices in ten locations: Birmingham, Brussels, Dubai, Guangzhou, London, Monaco, Moscow, Munich, Paris and Singapore, plus trusted networks across the world.

When we complete the implementation of our new Workspace platform for Wragge Laurence Graham & Co in 2014, our latest Rendezvous Workspace solution will help them continue the huge success they saw in 2013, where they were the only law firm to feature on the Best Workplaces in the UK list.

“Once Rendezvous was installed, it was surprisingly easy to use – especially for a mature non-techie like me,” says Caroline Kennedy, Reception Manager at Wragge & Co LLP.”We’ve cut phone calls by a third, which means much more time for quality service for staff and visiting clients.”

Larger Firms choosing to stand on their own, like DLA Piper LLP, a user of Rendezvous in the US at over 35 locations, implemented our Workspace platform to manage global video meetings during 2013. This ability to book multi-location, multi time-zone meetings with full connectivity to the core VC scheduling environment will offer a much more efficient and integrated solution for multi-office meetings, one of the fastest growth segments of the legal meetings market.DLA Piper LLP is extending the NFS scheduling technology to European offices as part of a global rollout in 2014.

Michael Farino, Hospitality Manager at the New York office of DLA Piper LLP comments: “Rendezvous has been a great tool for us in a very busy New York conference facility and we are now taking the steps to extend how we use the software at the global level and with new functionality like Rendezvous Mobile.”

Global and independent organisations of all sizes have different space management needs.Michelmores LLP, for example, use functionality like seamless MS Outlook integration as well as delivery of service critical information on a mobile platform.This helps the firm with both a more efficient booking process for legal staff and also better client services, driven by a more dynamic delivery of last minute meeting changes to providers of services, using mobile technology such as the iPhone and iPad.

How Is Rendezvous Evolving in 2014?

In addition to the trends suggested above, NFS are evolving Rendezvous to support meetings management in a more generic sense. The evolution is best captured in the diagram shown here, which we have called the Rendezvous Ecosystem. This reflects:

  • Market trends
  • Demands from our clients in terms of functionality
  • Integration
  • Reporting tools
  • Extended meeting management services.

Our aim as a leading provider of space management solutions to law firms is to ensure that our Rendezvous platform evolves to deliver the changes in the way meeting are booked, managed and serviced in the future.

A Message from Luis De Souza, Nfs Chief Executive Officer

We are seeing some really exciting changes in the business process now being adopted within the legal market, where we currently have a number of forces at work.

Firstly, more pressures on meeting space and costs are driving better utilisation and, more importantly, a greater demand for better information on space demand and profile of usage. These factors will ensure better space planning decisions are made.

Secondly, with the new generation of more tech savvy lawyers, the drive for more self service facilities for meeting booking and planning, whilst increasingly using mobile technology, is likely to see a steep rise in the next few years.

Thirdly, as room scheduling technology is better integrated with core facilities management and event planning solutions, law firms will be better equipped to streamline the organisation and deliver a better meeting experience, irrespective of where the meeting participants are located.

We would welcome your comments and feedback on our vision of the evolving meetings management area. Specifically, we would really like to understand how your firm is looking at significant developments such as the adoption and roll out of video conferencing for multi-location meetings.

As we see an improving economic picture internationally, maybe it’s time for us to ask the question: Are we ready to take a fresh look at our business?

Our Clients in the Legal Sector

  • What is the most important challenge you have with space management within your firm? I am happy to respond and offer you some perspectives, based on working with many law firms internationally. Email me here
  • Please take five minutes to complete our survey and your name will be entered into a draw to win a two night stay in luxury hotel either in London, Cape Town or New York. Find the survey here
  • To see our recent White Paper, The challenges of traditional controls in space management, click here
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