Friday, 21 November 2014

Veyo - Raising more questions than its answering

Heather Cameron of Today’s Conveyancer recently interviewed Veyo’s Chief Executive, Elliott Vigar, in an effort to learn more about Veyo’s product which is scheduled for release in Spring 2015. 

Despite a recent statement to the contrary, Mr Vigar has now placed on record his company’s intention to release (into an already congested market), an online system which will essentially provide conveyancers with a case management portal.

On being asked what exactly makes Veyo unique from other similar conveyancing systems, Mr Vigar stated:

"Veyo not only covers the entire chain comprehensively, securely and quickly, but most importantly it’s unique because it allows conveyancers on both sides of the transaction to communicate in real time with each other, their clients and other stakeholders in the transaction. It has been designed with considerable input from licensed conveyancers as well as solicitors to ensure it meets the needs of the industry.”

Interesting comment.  

To begin with its difficult to see how the system can monitor the ‘entire chain’ without first ensuring every conveyancer in the chain is part of the Veyo system.  Mr Vigar does not explain how Veyo is looking to achieve this especially when Veyo  as far as we know is not going to be a compulsory product. 

Secondly, it seem strange for Mr Vigar to suggest that conveyancers do not already speak with each other in ‘real time’.  Speaking on the telephone and communicating via email must clearly, must it not, constitute ‘real time’ communication. Furthermore, most case management systems already provide collaboration tools and to claim that Veyo will be unique in this area is simply disingenuous. 

On being pushed on the subject of Veyo’s USP Mr Vigar stated:

"Conveyancing professionals have been in real need of a solution that improves communication and collaboration between everyone involved in the home buying transaction process for a long time now. Veyo is being designed as a complete, end-to-end, transactional solution and unlike any other on the market.”

He added:

"Veyo provides the perfect solution by streamlining the process, reducing the administrative burden, enabling seamless communication and thereby both saving conveyancers time and money, but also speeding up and increasing confidence in the home-buying and selling process for consumers.”

It will be interesting to see what other legal software suppliers make of these remarks bearing in mind many of the competitors in this areas have been up and running and providing good, solid and well tested products for many years.  These competitors know the market inside and out and already have systems which provide an ‘end to end’ solution as well as communication and collaboration hubs.   

Most good solutions help conveyancers to streamline processes and reduce administrative burdens.  Those systems also help conveyancers to save time and money as well as to keep  clients informed of progress. 

There still therefore seems to be nothing new on offer. 

Turning now to the consultation process we are again being told that Veyo has come about due to ‘considerable input from licensed conveyancers as well as solicitors’.  Despite being asked the question several times Veyo has still not disclosed which conveyancers were consulted during the focus group phase of development.  

On this subject Mr Vigar explaining the process in more detail stated:

"The Society conducted a rigorous nine month tendering process and talked to more than 20 potential partners to ensure we got this decision right. Mastek was successfully selected because it takes such an agile and collaborative approach to technology. Its overwhelming expertise, experience and pedigree in developing enterprise class solutions with an emphasis on security, robustness and handling sensitive information make it the perfect partner.”

It is clear there was a form of tendering process and that several suppliers of case management systems were invited to attend the Law Society and demonstrate their offerings.  Looking back I wonder how many of those suppliers ( who will soon be competing with Veyo ) now regret taking part in this exercise.  

The choice of Mastek is surprising not because of any question mark over its pedigree but more to do with its  lack of track record in the legal technology market.  It is equally puzzling to note that it has only been within the last 4 weeks that Veyo has established contact with  The Legal Software Suppliers Association (LSSA), the UK industry body for legal systems developers and vendors.  

At the recent user group meeting of the BT legal software suppler Tikit users if the technology were told that Veyo had no contact with Tikit until very recently and that when the call came  it transpired that Veyo was asking for help!  Tikit made it clear that it views Veyo as a competitor though it will be happy to integrate its system with Veyo but only if the customer is prepared to pay for the installation. 

Despite the product being promoted as  ‘designed by the industry, for the industry’ it seems Mr Vigar does not possess a background in conveyancing.  In his defence he explained:

‘’Whilst not at the coal face, however, having trained as a barrister and having amongst other roles, previously run the Law Society’s regulatory policy function for a number of years, I have strong legal experience." 

As for pricing there is still no news according to Mr Vigar:

"At this point it is still too early to confirm, as we are still considering a couple of different pricing models and variations and discussing possible options." said Elliott.

"What is likely to be the case though is that Veyo will be based on an annual, per license fee coupled with an individual transaction fee. We believe that using Veyo will actually save conveyancers money by making the entire conveyancing process quicker and more efficient."

"Currently, we’re working to ensure that our pricing structure works for law firms of all sizes. This is because one of the benefits of Veyo is that smaller firms will have access to the kind of advanced technological system that normally only larger, more technically able firms have, bringing improved efficiencies for all and greater financial rewards. We are clear that Veyo should not adopt a pricing model that prices any firm out of its use."

So where does this leave us?

In short, no further forward, though we do now know that Veyo is a conveyancing case management system meaning that only those conveyancers who do not have an existing system or on that needs to be replaced will be interested in the product.  This must be correct since why would a conveyancer already running a good and reliable case management system wish to spend more money on purchasing Veyo?

I have no doubt that Veyo will provide the Law Society with a good and sophisticated piece of kit and that they will secure some business, but as I have previously written I do believe that they have in their haste to get this product to market, missed a trick or two.

Heather Cameron’s full article can be found here: 

1 comment:

Mark Garnish said...

Your article points out (correctly) that Veyo is offering an alternative case management system (CMS) for conveyancing and there are a number of established suppliers offering systems that appear to offer exactly what Veyo is already offering.

Competition is a good thing but I would be very surprised if any supplier can reach a critical mass such that all sides of a transaction were using the same CMS.

The Law Society and Veyo may have been better off promoting a portal (perhaps similar to that used by the Ministry of Justice for PI cases) which was not seen as a competitor to current suppliers but as a key part of the conveyancing process that all parts of the conveyancing chain could subscribe to for the benefit if all, especially the client.

I am sure that is an initiative all of the industry would welcome.