Thursday, 15 January 2015

Veyo - A Change in Strategy

It seems the guys at Veyo are now listening to feedback and taking what appears to be a different course with product development.  The news comes following a recent presentation made by Veyo.

The presentation was given by Paul Humphreys Veyo’s Programme Director. Some new and interesting information came to light during the session.  

It was already known that Veyo has a budget of around 10 million pounds but what was not clear was how much of the fund had been expended so far.  Though no figure was disclosed it was revealed that it is estimated the funding will only last until 2017 at which point Veyo will need to be self funding.  It seems they employ 95 people with 25 based in the UK.  There are a staggering 45 developers employed on the project. 

The aim is still to launch in Spring 2015 but there will no integration with CMS until 2016.  Until then the method of data entry will be  manual. 

Despite the indication given before Christmas, Veyo claims it will not compete with other CMS suppliers. 

Mr Humphreys explains that they no have a modern approach to sharing data which is necessary for CMS and other suppliers to integrate with Veyo, although the the data exchange system has yet to be designed.  Veyo would like to see the spec for this to be agreed between the LSSA (or individual suppliers if necessary) over the next 3 or 4 months. 

Following this there will be a development period and then a testing period after which suppliers could write their own integrations into the Veyo platform. Realistically, Veyo accepted that they would not expect any CMS suppliers to be ready to deliver an integrated product for a least 9 months from today. Veyo claim that whilst its system will work without CMS integration it will work better with it.

Again, despite the massive investment, and 45 developers, there was still no demonstration of the system (although they are apparently in a test phase now).  


An outline of  headline features was however given . Perhaps the two key features were that Veyo would store the data for both sides of a transaction (with appropriate security) and they also wanted to display the “chain view” so a client can see all of the transactions in the chain. Uncanny that this is what I was suggesting should happen when Veyo first announced its arrival.  There was a clear need for a unique identity and it seems that this may now be what is happening with this change in course.  


Interestingly however, Mr Humphrys was not suggesting that lawyers should use their system where they have a solution from another suppliers. He said they may wish to use it where existing suppliers don't have the ability to do it. It is unclear what he meant by this as if it offers a unique chain data view then why would lawyers not wish to use it along side their existing CMS?


Still no news however on pricing! 


Veyo said it is proposing a flexible pricing structure which will consist of a licence fee and a transaction fee but the details of this have not been announced yet. Nor have they formed an opinion on how CMS suppliers and others should integrate with Veyo commercially. 

They are talking to lenders about Veyo but there is no suggestion that lenders would mandate the use of this over any other portal at this point.  Still no views on where the lender aspect to Veyo will fit in given the stronghold Lender Exchange has in this area. 


Veyo was asked about the number of users they anticipate will sign up  and in response all they could say is that they were pleased with the large number of pre-registrations on their websites.   No contract signing will take place until March. I suspect the number of registered lawyers will when fall far short of actual  users with much depending on the eagerly waited announcement on price. 


This sudden though not unexpected change of direction will be welcomed.  The arrogance or self denial which prevailed seems to have left and it is encouraging that Veyo despite claiming they had consulted with the legal technology industry has now made a commitment to do this.  There is no doubt lawyers and those like myself who have an interest in the project have helped to  guide Veyo onto a less rocky road. 

The empathise has moved away from the case management aspects of their system though this may turn out to be a cynical move to get other CMS suppliers on board.  It must be kept in mind that until integration with CMS can commence users of Veyo would need to fall back in the CMS within Veyo. This may lead to some users sticking with Veyo. 

The lack of a clear message on how users might wish to use the system when they already have invested in a CMS still seems lacking. Veyo appear to be saying that some users may wish to use aspects of Veyo that their current CMS do not provide.   Interestingly they are not proposing to charge a lower fee for this reduced usage. 

I suspect they are thinking here of the ‘Chain View’ which is now the USP of the system.  A good idea.  There still however remains an issue as we all know a chain is as strong as its weakest link. If it is not mandatory for all lawyers to be part of Veyo the chain will simply breakdown and become worthless.  Also what is there to prevent other CMS suppliers not building a chain view component of their own.  This would be at no additional cost to the user and would then render Veyo redundant to their existing users.  

The jury is still out I am afraid.  If I was a shareholder in Mastek however, I would still despite this change in approach be asking some probing questions about the level of investment and future expenditure in a product which stills seems to struggling to find a commercially viable identity different to that of existing and well established CMS suppliers.  

MJP Conveyancing are solicitors who provide legal advice and services to clients based in England and Wales and who can be contacted on 01603877000 or via email at davidpett@m-j-p.co.uk

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