Springthrough, a Grand Rapids software and IT services company, has set up an affiliate, ieQuery LLC, to market nationally its new proprietary software for law firms called ieQuery Dashboard.
The new software provides law firms with updated report generation and dashboard tools to augment time and billing management databases used by firms across the country, according to Springthrough founder and CEO Mike Williams.
Originally developed by Springthrough for Grand Rapids-based law firm Mika Meyers Beckett & Jones, ieQuery Dashboard allows quick access to database information needed to make day-to-day decisions, including conflict of interest reporting. Law firms need to know immediately if they have previously represented the other party in an action being sought by a client, in order to avoid a conflict of interest violation.
Victoria Kobza-Sotak, director of administration at Mika Meyers Beckett & Jones, said the ieQuery software requires less time to assemble information and allows management decisions that support growth. She said the reports can be attached to email as a PDF document for rapid distribution to anyone who needs to see it. Individual lawyers at the firm also can access information for clients, on demand.
Law firms need frequent access to accounting and financial data, including “aging” reports regarding accounts receivable, unbilled inventory, productivity analyses by attorney, unbilled adjustment reports and others.
The Dashboard software “rides” on Thomson Elite software from Thomson Reuters, which is sold nationally to professional services firms, particularly law firms.
Williams said Springthrough finds clients that like their existing software but wish they had a little more.
“We try to find those things and build on top of them,” said Williams, noting that, hopefully, the result is a software product that is “still generic enough that we can sell it” to many other companies.
The ieQuery Dashboard software is priced around $25,000 and can be a cost-effective alternative to an expensive upgrade of a firm’s existing software, he said.
“From a market standpoint, we’re still in the early stages” of rolling it out, said Williams. “I would expect that we can hit a couple of million (dollars in annual sales) in a few years,” said Williams. “We’re hoping to get to five to eight million within five” years.
“The beauty of it — like any other software — there’s always enhancements, changes, new features that we can introduce to a client base. Once you get a nice client base, you can usually keep that business rolling for quite a number of years,” said Williams.
Springthrough, located on Oak Industrial Drive in northeast Grand Rapids, was founded by Williams and three others in 2000. By 2003, he had bought out his partners and now is sole proprietor, with 32 employees and four new employees being sought.
Springthrough has several divisions, including a platform team that sells and supports business software: Microsoft Dynamics GP (Great Plains) and Microsoft Dynamics CRM (customer relationship management). The company also has an interactive team that works on website development and “augmented reality.” Springthrough was recently involved in development of the new Celebration Cinema website.
“We’re growing nicely this year,” said Williams, adding that the firm is “getting close to the $4 million mark this year.”
During the height of the recession in 2009, Springthrough was down about 1 percent in revenue, according to Williams. He attributes that to the apparent fact that many businesses did not invest that year in an “ERP” — a loose term for “enterprise resource planning” or simply, the software a company runs to manage its overall business processes.
Williams said he sees his type of business as a “shrinking market in many ways. … There really are not too many firms of our size in the Grand Rapids area anymore.” But there are still “a lot” of small shops with two, three or four people, he noted.
“I think we’re a bit of an anomaly. We’ve been around 10 years, and we’re a healthy, growing company,” he said.