July 10, 2015

Martyn Wells, IT Director at Wright Hassall LLP shares a comic anecdote on the firm's recent BigHand rollout

I thought it was worthwhile sharing a little more wisdom from our office "board of quotes" to précis a short piece on a digital dictation implementation. A little light hearted Friday miscellany if you will, and one of my favourites from our collection.

"So, who have you had success with, and who have you not had sex with?"

A (remaining anonymous) colleague of mine posed this question to David Jones and Sam Bentley from BigHand over lunch in the very early days of our due diligence foreplay into their digital dictation solution. I am grateful that the team at BigHand saw the funny side and consequently, that little inadvertent slip of the tongue created the seed of an excellent working relationship.

We'd reached the limits of functionality of the previous incumbents' dictation solution; we just couldn't go forward to where we wanted to be. We wanted to refresh the speech platform, but we wanted some degree of autonomous dictation. Integration with our document management system? Yes, please. Workflows, yep. We had to have speech recognition. Could we have mobility please, through as iOS client? We demand a responsive support team that works crazy hours. Oh, and it needs to be attractively priced too. Am I asking too much?

A quick scan of the market and some basic due diligence all pointed to BigHand. Emphatically and categorically. They were (very nearly) peerless in the market. So I read their marketing blurb. "84% of the Top 200 law firms...". I checked the LawTech Insider list; they concurred. I ticked all the boxes on our requirements list off. It was like "nobody gets fired for buying IBM"; a boilerplate solution.

Yet somewhere deep inside there was natural hesitation. Were BigHand over-exposed in the market place? Would complacency drive product under-investment? Wouldn't their staff be bored with their accolades? Why would they be interested in making us a decent commercial offer? How could we be sure they were committed to their roadmap? How were they going to take on the plethora of OS based speech recognition technologies?

All I got in reply were solid answers to all the questions I asked. It was clear BigHand knew the market, inside and out. They knew the threats, and their opportunities; it seemed we were one of them. They were open about weakness. I still scratched my head. It couldn't really be that good, could it? I was, for a change, cynical. Why the uneasiness?

The next morning, I was logging on to my laptop, when it punched me very, very hard in the face. Not the laptop literally punching me (I'm sure it is tempted at times), just a realisation. The realisation. There in front of me was a 90% market share that I had never been nervous of. I had never questioned. I had never thought Microsoft might be over exposed with Windows. On the desktop. On the server. Office. The proverbial penny dropped. 

Fast forward four months from my colleague's inadvertent faux-pas. On the hottest day of the year last week we implemented BigHand. All of it. SmartNote. Server-side Speech Recognition. Mobile dictation. Worksite integration. It was a well-managed and elegantly delivered implementation. The training was excellent. The implementation supports next to no other I have experienced in 25 years; an out-of-hours consultant interrupted his evening in the sunshine to head inside the pub, plug in his phone and charger, and spend three hours until last orders online helping us resolve the inevitable last-minute panic. Truly exceptional and I am grateful to all of the team from BigHand and WH for all of their hard work.

In our first week since go-live we've already seen over 2.5 days of back-to-back talk time. 1,000 dictations, 32% of which have passed through speech recognition. "So, who have you had success with, and who have you not had sex with?" 

I guess we just lost our BigHand cherry.

If you would like to know more about how BigHand's technology can improve your organisation's efficiency, please contact one of the team.