International Law Firm Vieira de Almeida Prepares for a Digital Future with OutSystems

International Law Firm Vieira de Almeida Prepares for a Digital Future with OutSystems

The firm needed to find a more viable solution. After an assessment of other BPM tools, interactions with OutSystems’ partner askblue evidenced that low-code application development was a better way forward.

Leading Portuguese law firm Vieira de Almeida (VdA) wanted to improve the efficiency of key business processes and free-up its lawyers so they could focus more on adding value for their clients. With OutSystems, the firm has designed and implemented case management and workflow tools that automate and accelerate critical legal processes. But more importantly, VdA is working with OutSystems as a platform to prototype and implement new digital initiatives that will help it thrive in a fast-evolving legal landscape.

Breathing New Life into Old Processes

Challenge – Running a fast-growing business can be exhilarating, but rapid growth doesn’t come without challenges. VdA, one of Portugal’s leading law firms, has experienced fast growth first-hand. With a 40-year track record of providing outstanding legal representation and advice, the firm’s services are highly sought after. Just over the last three years, the firm has increased its headcount from 350 to 500, to handle the growing demand registered both domestically and through its overseas partnerships.

Although VdA’s lawyers are experts in their respective areas of legal practice, they still need to carefully follow established legal procedures in meticulous detail.

The firm was burdened with processes that tied up lawyers with routine administrative tasks. For instance, every time one of VdA’s clients had an interaction with the Portuguese courts, lawyers had to retrieve notifications published in Citius—the national online court management system—feed them into the firm’s document management system, create workflow schedules, and assign tasks to individual lawyers.

This repetitive process was an obvious candidate for automation, but the firm’s attempts to increase efficiency using a business process management (BPM) tool had not been very successful. “The BPM suite we had was very difficult to manage and was not user-friendly,” explains Rui Alves, CIO at VdA. The firm needed to find a more viable solution. After an assessment of other BPM tools, interactions with OutSystems’ partner askblue evidenced that low-code application development was a better way forward.

Moving Beyond BPM, with Low-Code

Solution – The greater flexibility of the OutSystems platform was a critical factor in VdA’s decision to switch to low-code rather than continue its BPM project. The firm has ambitious plans to transform its business through digital technology, so the ability to build a wide range of applications and integrate with all kinds of systems would be vital.

We chose OutSystems because it’s not just a BPM tool. It offers us a strong tool to orchestrate complex case management workflows, but it’s also a platform that will enable us to deploy other new initiatives faster and more easily—and within the same technology stack,” says Rui. “We don’t want to have one tool for each process; we want one tool for all our processes, and for the new solutions we intend to build.

Three askblue developers and a project manager took 16 weeks to deliver the process solution for VdA’s litigation practice area, and subsequently built solutions for four other practice areas over the next three months. The new solutions integrate with robotic process automation (RPA) technology from UiPath to automate the manual effort of retrieving court notifications and setting up schedules and workflows. VdA’s lawyers now have a clearer visibility of their pending tasks in each case and have more time to spend delivering value to clients.

This is an exciting step forward for VdA, positioning the firm in a digital leadership role in its market. “This is the first time a Portuguese law firm has successfully applied RPA to its litigation case management application,” says Muriel Faden da Silva, Head of Quality & Innovation at VdA.

Just three months after go-live, 100 lawyers are already using the new system and the feedback has been very positive. “I’ve had a lot of comments about how much faster and easier to use it is compared to the old BPM tool,” says Pedro Pires Fernandes, senior associate from the litigation practice area. “It’s simpler for lawyers to see the deadlines for all the tasks they need to complete, and they no longer have to do any of that upfront data retrieval and input work.

A Platform for Efficiency and Transformation

Results – As lawyers become accustomed to using the new solution, VdA expects to achieve very high efficiency gains. “The integration between our OutSystems applications and the RPA technology will save us several hours every day,” says Rui. “That’s extra time that our lawyers can spend using their expertise to achieve the best outcomes for our clients.”

Making existing processes more efficient is a critical goal for the firm, but Rui has his sights set on longer-term strategic objectives, too. “We’re on a transformation journey—a gradual adoption of digital tools and new ways of working—so integration between applications and having the agility to change what’s already been built is very important,” he explains. “OutSystems gives us those capabilities, as well as the ability to deploy web and mobile apps, which will be essential as our transformation journey continues.

This digital transformation platform will be critical for VdA’s future. Over the next few years, the Portuguese law sector will see competition from new players, such as consulting firms, offering many of the services traditionally provided solely by law firms.

To remain competitive, VdA will need to evolve, but Rui is confident the firm is ready for the challenge. “We have numerous initiatives that we have already implemented and several ones in the pipeline to help transform the way we do business,” he reveals.

OutSystems is set to play an important role in that transformation, giving us a platform to prototype and implement new ideas. This is bigger than just process improvement—with OutSystems we’re now able to innovate more easily, and I’m excited about what we’ll achieve in the future.

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OutSystems Honors 2019 Global Low-Code Innovation Award Winners

OutSystems Honors 2019 Global Low-Code Innovation Award Winners

OutSystems honored the 2019 Low-Code Innovation Awards recipients at its NextStep conference series recently held in Denver and Amsterdam. Winners were named from the Americas, EMEA, and APAC regions and represent a wide variety of industries and innovative low-code use cases.

The OutSystems Innovation Awards recognize, honor, and celebrate the organizations and people that are using OutSystems to make IT dramatically more proactive, productive, and essential to creating business value and driving innovation.

This year’s winners distinguished themselves in their respective categories, displaying unmatched innovation using the OutSystems platform. This year’s Innovation Awards winners and categories are:

Best Digital Transformation

  • BRI Security, with OutSystems partners Phoenix Services and Do iT Lean
  • Colliers International
  • EDP S.A. – Energias de Portugal
  • Powerhouse Retail Solutions, with OutSystems partner Do iT Lean
  • Randon Implementos e Participacoes
  • Schneider Electric

Most Innovative Industry Solution

  • Chevron, with OutSystems partner Do iT Lean
  • Fujitsu GPMO, with OutSystems partner Providit
  • KBC Bank New York, with OutSystems partner Truewind
  • Mercer Portugal, with OutSystems partner askblue
  • Randstad Brazil, with OutSystems partner Digital Alchimia

Most Business Impact

  • Banco Santander Consumer Portugal, with OutSystems partner KPMG
  • GloboSAT
  • Granger Construction, with OutSystems partner Netlink
  • Liberty Insurance
  • Obayashi Road Corp., with OutSystems partner BlueMeme
  • Sispro
  • ZS Associates, with OutSystems partner Netlink

Best Use of Emerging Technology

  • Analytics2Go, with OutSystems partner Digital Alchimia
  • Jeronimo Martins, with OutSystems partner Truewind
  • Wayne Brothers, with OutSystems partner Do iT Lean
  • Sys Manager

Best Legacy Modernization

  • CEABS Servicos
  • EDP Brasil, with OutSystems partner Mind Source Brasil
  • Prosegur Seguridad, with OutSystems partner Babel
  • ShawCor, with OutSystems partner Do iT Lean
  • Surbana Technologies
  • Western Australia Department of Health, with OutSystems partner Kiandra

Mobile Excellence

  • Astra Credit Companies, with OutSystems partner Ifabula Digital Kreasi
  • CommunO2
  • FWD Philippines
  • GEMS Education, with OutSystems partner Enterprise Touch
  • Pathway Vet Alliance, with OutSystems partner Truewind

Highest Return on Investment

  • Landus Cooperative, with OutSystems partner Persistent
  • MN Services, with OutSystems partner IG&H

Best User Experience

  • Lucro, with OutSystems partner Truewind
  • Sompo Seguros
  • Sakata Seeds, with OutSystems partner CTC
  • Thinkmoney

Fastest Time to Market

  • JTC Corporation
  • Medtronic, with OutSystems partner Noesis
  • New York Life, with OutSystems partner Sense Corp
  • OrthoBanc, with OutSystems partner Do iT Lean
  • Wheels

“Our customers have reinvented their businesses, achieved unprecedented levels of ROI and are innovating with no limits,” said Carlos Alves, OutSystems Chief Customer Officer. “We are honored to hear these innovative use cases from our customers and recognize companies, partners and individuals that use our low-code platform to enable enterprises of all sizes to transform their businesses.”

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Balance between people and technology

Balance between people and technology

Portuguese consultancy, askblue aims to support companies and organizations in the digital transformation processes, as well as in defining their business structuring strategies. A conversation with Ana Rosado, askblue’s senior partner, who gives us insight into the company’s evolution and the reasons behind its success.

How did the askblue project start?
askblue was founded by four partners – Pedro Nicolau (CEO), Bastos Santos, Rui Couto and myself – all with strong consulting and management experience. The growth path we have taken over the years has been followed by and together with our customers. We now have a team of over 200 employees, of which a high percentage of senior professionals have the skills and knowledge to address the most complex technological and business challenges. And while we have started with a strong focus on the financial market, we are increasingly developing projects in other industries, such as health and retail.

What are your main areas of supply?
askblue‘s offer covers Consulting, Technology and Outsourcing. Given the evolution of the market and the result of customer requests, the company launched a new business unit dedicated to the Operations area as early as 2019. This unit, led by the new partner, Miguel Freire, incorporates the Application Management area, responsible for the maintenance and core application support and the askblue technology center (ATC), a support center focused on application maintenance, that aims to provide remote evolutionary and corrective maintenance

applications created by askblue or third parties. This new structure is a solid example of the diverse professional experience of the entire team, recognized for their expertise in project development, both in national and international environments, in highly demanding and complex organizational contexts.

The company has been growing continuously. What is the basis of askblue’s growth strategy for the future?
From the outset we have been focusing on diversification, and we consider in this context both the evolution of the business areas and the verticals addressed. The new Operations business unit is clearly part of this growth vision we have for years to come. Additionally, a new unit was created to manage the main clients and the international market, being internationalization one of the growth vectors for the future. This structure has as its main responsibility to coordinate and promote the various offerings in these markets, and initially we will have a dedicated team that will work primarily on specific markets. We have also strengthened our recruitment team so that we can capture the best resources at the pace of the new challenges ahead, while keeping in mind the challenges that talent retention currently represents. A goal always – to be a partner of our customers in consolidating their present and building their future.

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Consulting firm bets on Middle East and Northern Europe markets

Equipa Askblue

Consulting firm bets on Middle East and Northern Europe markets

With its focus on the international market in 2019, askblue focuses mainly on the Middle East and Northern Europe markets, namely Dubai, Saudi Arabia and the Netherlands. Thus, it expects to reach an export volume of 750 thousand euros in this first year.

Founded in 2013 by four partners, Pedro Nicolau, Sofia Bastos Santos, Rui Couto and Ana Rosado, Askblue is a consulting company dedicated to the development of projects in different sectors (financial, utilities, health, industry and retail). as a priority the effective response to the most complex technological and business challenges of its customers.

The company’s core mission is to collaborate with customers by developing and implementing new businesses, identifying and exploiting development opportunities, optimizing and transforming operational performance, and aligning information technology strategy and objectives with strategy and business goals.

Last year askblue achieved a turnover of approximately 7.9 million euros, which corresponds to a 66 per cent increase over the previous year. Although its main focus remains the domestic market, the company assesses the possibilities for growth in the international market.

The outlook for 2019 is positive and continuing growth. Based on the analysis of the behavior of the first quarter of 2019, when the company achieved a result of 2.4 million euros, it is expected that this year will exceed 10 million euros in annual results.

In order to be able to respond to the growing number of client requests for new projects, askblue plans to increase the rate of hiring and training of consultants, and the team of over 70 consultants is expected to grow.

In 2019, the company has invested in the development of the international market, anticipating to reach an export volume of 750 thousand euros in this first year. To achieve this goal, the company has invested in a team dedicated to developing the markets of the Middle East and Northern Europe. Several projects are already underway in Dubai, Saudi Arabia and the Netherlands, precisely the main betting regions

In the international market, askblue has been developing custom computer applications. These projects include identifying customer requirements, designing the application and implementing it on the most appropriate technology. In Saudi Arabia, the company is developing an application similar to Uber Eats for an organization that intends to market it in that market.

In response to the challenges presented by business developments and customer requests, the company launched in January 2019 a new “Business Unit”, whose main manager is Miguel Freire, askblue partner. This “Business Unit” is dedicated to the area of ​​application maintenance services, which can be performed at the client’s premises or at the “atc – askblue technology center”, which operates in the Lisbon facility and in a new facility in Coimbra, operating since February of this year.

According to Pedro Nicolau, CEO of askblue, “The company is increasingly distinguished in the domestic and international markets, due to the diverse professional experience of its team, made up of professionals recognized for their work, as well as the proximity and understanding of their needs. customers, which allows them to develop new businesses, enhance the value chain and optimize and transform operational performance in each project developed. In addition, it is also important to mention the commitment, flexibility and quality of our services.

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