A demonstration and discussion at a recent Legal Easel Conveyancing Conference worth 6 CPD points
How does ConveyProControl work?
ConveyProControl is a client server based database. The whole database function is broken down into five distinct separate databases. Each holds data on different parts of the software that are used at different times. This creates an optimised design that carefully balances the user requests for information and network performance.
All processing of data is viewed and performed on the local workstation. The server or central workstation is simply used to store the installation folder, the live data, the documents and the saved files stored by matter number.
When a user changes screen, moves to the main menu, or actually presses SAVE, then at that point a snapshot of revised data is taken and sent back to the server and every user from that point on sees the updated data. ConveyProControl will handle the situation IF multiple users tried to update the same matter at the same time, however the chances of it happening are very small by definition that there is only one physical file, and its unlikely that two people work on the same file at the same time. All users can view all matters concurrently, it is just the updating of the matter that only one person at a time can do.
The screen designs, layout, format and colouring of ConveyProControl follows the Microsoft standard (if you can’t beat them, might as well join them). This means that users find ConveyProControl easy to the eye and logical to move around within.
In terms of technical specification of minimum requirement, if you have any version of Microsoft Windows XP upwards, Microsoft Office 97 ™ upwards, and ideally access to the internet then ConveyProControl will work for you.
In terms of networking, as long as machine A can access machine B and so on then your network is fine. Technically ConveyProControl is not particularly demanding. The old adage still applies, “the bigger and faster, the better”. The more power you put behind the software the faster it will run.
In terms of Branch office connectivity and how Office A and B etc are configured; there are two scenarios.
1) You keep Office A and B separate and their data etc is separate and do not in fact connect them from a data point of view. This is often the scenario since there is only one physical file and you tend to need that where ever you are working from. However for supervisory purposes sometimes remote access to each office is helpful and in which case, we would install on the server pc a View Only licence that allows the server to also view the software for reminders, reports and matter progress.
In practical terms we advise that the ‘main’ office gets up and running with ConveyProControl and then we take a snapshot copy of the edited documents and the basic lists of local authorities etc and use that as the basis of the setup for the second office meaning they getting going quicker.
2) Office A and B etc all use the same single data source and what happens at any office is updated for all to see instantly. This requires some form of remote access software to work. In effect ConveyProControl does not mind what or how. ConveyProControl is installed on the server as mentioned above i.e. both the frontend and backend are on the same machine. Terminal services is the most popular software to use and allows multiple remote access users. Availability of broadband has made a massive difference to the cost of making a WAN (wide area network) possible. For the cost of about £35 a month you can easily have ConveyProControl running across several offices with several users all printing to their own letterhead in the local offices. (ConveyProControl has a branch office function to allow this to happen).
The advantage of this scenario is that anyone from any office can cover for anyone. Any enquiry can be answered generally even when the physical file is miles away. Control over precedent letters and procedures is complete and everyone will be working to the same level of quality and performance.
In this scenario ConveyProControl absolutely flies and provides even greater efficiencies and savings than its already significant savings in a single office scenario.
As long as your server technology can handle Terminal services and you have broadband at all sites then it works.
One last technical comment is that we expect that your server or shared pc server will have a backup mechanism and be backed up on a daily basis. We can advise on backup systems and ConveyProControl has its own backup facility using Winzip ™ software but a hardware to backup too, is still required.