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2e2 Into Administration – What Impact On The Legal Sector?

January 31, 2013

With Newbury based IT services, Cloud and outsourcing provider 2e2 calling in the administrators earlier this week, it might be interesting to consider how this might impact the legal services sector.

On the face of it, 2e2 didn’t consider the legal sector as one of its primary markets although it did undertake a high profile global Microsoft 2010 desktop migration for Linklaters in the last couple of years.

However, looking a little deeper and we find that 2e2 has a number of partnerships with players looking to use 2e2 infrastructure and managed service capabilities to promote offerings specifically targeted at the legal sector.

K-Cloud, the one-stop cloud provider to the professional services market has a strong partnership with 2e2 where they use 2e2 to provide the back-end managed infrastructure services that support the K-Cloud offering. A quick perusal of the K-Cloud case studies confirms that there appear to be a number of law firms out there who have business applications being operated by 2e2 today. I also recall that prior to its acquisition by Elite, Pilgrim Systems were promoting their Lawsoft cloud offering based on a strategic partnership with 2e2 and K-Cloud – I note now however that there is no mention of this partnership on the elite Lawsoft pages.

Peppermint Technology, only last August made much in an announcement of a strategic partnership with 2e2 – citing the technical strength in depth of 2e2, so giving the Peppermint offering greater scale. There don’t appear to be any case studies where Peppermint has been deployed on 2e2 infrastructure. Personally I believe that software suppliers teaming with infrastructure providers and system integrators makes great sense – it just appears to be a poor choice in this case.

The other interesting partnership that may impact on the legal sector is the Unify JV between 2e2 and O2. The JV was announced at the beginning of 2011 to offer end to end outsourcing of IT and comms. By August of 2012, the JV reportedly has 40 established customers – I’ve been unable to discover whether any of those 40 are law firms.

O2 have pledged to maintain the JV and have sought to reassure their customer base:

‘Like any IT business we use a number of third party suppliers and vendors to deliver solutions for our customers. For the services that we have subcontracted to 2e2, we are taking the right steps to ensure service continuity. We operate a diverse and resilient supply chain to help manage risks in situations like this.’

Summary

There are undoubtedly a number of law firms who will be worried today, however with the administrators keen to maintain the business and find a buyer (some speculate that O2 may be interested), it is very unlikely that any will be materially impacted.

There may be a very small impact on the outsourcing and cloud markets as law firms note this development and reconsider any moves in this direction but I suggest that the outsourcing wave is so strong that this news will have virtually no impact on new business which will grow and grow in 2013.

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