Skadden Accelerates User Adoption from “0 to 90” with Education & Support
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Affiliates supports worldwide operations with 4,000 users in 23 offices. When it came time to implement a technology upgrade from Microsoft 2003 to Microsoft 2010, the prestigious Am Law top-three law firm knew that speed was the key to success as well as its greatest challenge.
“We were making a massive change to the end user environment and we wanted to find a way to accomplish this as quickly as possible,” said Peter E. Lesser, Director of Global Technology for Skadden. “Technically, we could deliver the systems. The challenge was how to educate and support users to what they see as a significant change in their day-to-day work habits and do it as quickly as possible while not impacting productivity. We had to help people through this steep learning curve in a short time frame.”
The firm, which had been planning the upgrade for close to a year, wanted to complete the conversion of all users globally in eight weeks. While the law firm normally relies on its own training resources, the scope of the project coupled with the tight deadline meant success would hinge on finding an external partner with skilled and knowledgeable experts worldwide.
The challenge was further complicated by the firm’s global presence. Local support would be needed onsite for all of its global offices from New York to London to Hong Kong and beyond.
“Success for us would be gauged by seeing users converted and using the new system effectively in a short amount of time with little to no impact on our clients,” said Lesser.
WHY TRAVELING COACHES?
Skadden developed a non-traditional approach to the upgrade, which meant it needed a partner who could adapt to its processes. The firm wanted to use its own documentation and methodologies for education and be able to rely on qualified external experts to bolster its floor support during the eight-week roll out.
“We looked at a number of organizations, but most simply did not have the flexibility to work with our unique approach or address our global demand within a short amount of time,” commented Lesser. “Really, no other company had the global resources and expertise to comply with the scope and deadline of this project. Traveling Coaches demonstrated the expertise and innovation needed to support our non-traditional path and has an extensive history of success with these types of projects. They came in as a full-service provider and worked with us to determine what was needed. This flexibility was important to Skadden.”
Focused on an assertive eight-week window to complete the migration for 4,000 users in 23 offices, Traveling Coaches immediately took the appropriate steps to properly address and meet Skadden’s requirements.
Skadden requested coaches to support their offices around the world, with a special request to find local resources. With its global reach, Traveling Coaches located a team to provide support for Skadden’s offices on four continents – a process that normally takes two months but was completed within 10 days to accommodate the law firm’s deadlines. The law firm requested and received coaches for its U.S. offices in addition to offices in Hong Kong, London, Frankfurt, Vienna, Brussels, Moscow, Munich, Paris and Sydney. Altogether, Traveling Coaches provided 20 coaches in the U.S. and 5 coaches internationally for the project.
Even more important was the caliber of coaching talent needed to ensure the project’s success.
“We didn’t just want warm bodies,” stated Lesser. “We wanted coaches with empathy, understanding and a deep level of expertise. We wanted everyone to be able to have the appropriate amount of communication and support, regardless of whether they were a senior partner, a mid-level counsel, an admin or a secretary. Traveling Coaches became part of the team and this was a critical component of the migration.”
As requested by Skadden, coaches spent the first day on site prepping. Subsequent days found the coaches on the floor responding to questions, demonstrating functions and providing one-on-one support as needed.
“There wasn’t just a person on the floor but a mob of support people on each floor,” said Lesser. “They were direct, motivated and proactive. People weren’t picking up the phone because someone was always there to answer their questions.”
Strong project management from Traveling Coaches guaranteed that the momentum did not subside. It began with a kick-off meeting to discuss expectations, key dates, logistics and procedures. Once deployment began, the Traveling Coaches team talked frequently with law firm contacts to monitor and discuss the project’s progress towards goals.
The firm completed the project exactly as it was planned - a compelling outcome considering the amount of change and the number of users.
Skadden relied on word of mouth to determine the success of the project. If the project had not gone well, the firm would have heard instantly from attorneys and legal professionals. What they did hear, though, were compliments.
“A number of attorneys and support staff told us that it was fantastic having so many knowledgeable people on the floor available to help. They had someone there that they trusted to answer questions,” commented Lesser. “Overall, this experience was very positive for the technical staff, management and users. It is the kind of project that directly speaks to the success of Traveling Coaches.”