In the market for or curious about cloud-based practice management solutions? Today, we continue our series of reviews on some of the more popular contenders in the area. Amicus Cloud is the newly-launched fully-online version of their popular small firm practice management software. It has been designed with accessibility in mind - from huge touch-friendly buttons to compatibility with mobile and desktop browsers.
As with the other contenders, we are going to use a dinosaur of a netbook to put the platform through its paces. We’ll then assign an arbitrary score on a scale of 1-10, based solely on our subjective time-limited experiences. Sound fun? Let’s get started.
If you're a Microsoft Exchange fan, and 70 percent of corporations are, you're in luck here. It is embedded throughout the Amicus product, meaning the calendars, email, etc., all sync automatically with your Exchange Server. If you want to use Outlook, or your phone's built-in email, your data is already there. If you want to use the Amicus email and calendar, it's there as well.
The time assistant is also pretty nifty. It's like a nagging accountant (in a good way) that reminds you to add entries for things that you may have missed. For example, if you emailed a client, it will detect this and tell you to add a time entry. More recorded billable hours means more money.
Finally, it has a built-in conflict checker. This seems like a no-brainer, but our first contender lacked a dedicated checker.
There is no mail-merge, auto-populating documents, form-filling, or things of that nature. In fact, all of your document editing will take place offline. It seems you have to manually upload files for each client. There has to be a better, seamless, automatic way. There are rumblings that automated document production is on the way, but so far, nada.
There is also no client portal. The idea of a portal is to provide a secure site for your client to log in and have access to documents that you share with them. There is no emailing attachments or mailing paper copies. Amicus lacks this feature, which seems like a shame, but we also wonder how many clients would be tech-savvy enough to even use a portal.
Finally, there were a number of quirks that we'd expect to disappear once Amicus Cloud has been out in the wild for longer. When doing setup, we encountered a number of server transmission errors, which simply required waiting a few minutes and hitting "retry."
We also had issues with smaller screen sizes. Our netbook's smaller resolution cut off some of the buttons on the main screen, as did our trusted Nexus 4 when viewing the Amicus site in landscape mode. The phone required turning it from sideways to a normal orientation. As for netbooks, well, apparently we are the last people still using the tiny-screened mini-laptops.
Robust features and Microsoft Exchange integration make us extremely happy, but the lack of document production capabilities and the display quirks irked us a bit. For very different reasons than our last contender, Amicus Cloud also gets an 8.
- MyCase: An Almost Complete Cloud-Based Practice Management Solution (FindLaw's Technologist)
- Evernote: a Fantastic Cloud-Based (Somewhat) Free Note-Taking App (FindLaw's Technologist)
- Box: A Bigger (Better?) Cloud Storage Option (FindLaw's Technologist)