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The background

The Expert Witness Institute (EWI) is dedicated to championing expert witnesses from all professional disciplines and the lawyers who use their services.  

With a membership of almost 1,000 professionals, all of whom are specialists in their respective fields, the EWI seeks to support the proper administration of justice and early dispute resolution through providing the legal system with high-quality expert evidence.

Launched in 1996, the EWI is independent of outside commercial interests and a not-forprofit organisation. It is run by an eminent Board of Governors that is democratic, transparent, and fully accountable to members. It is also an organisation with an enormous potential to grow its membership over the next few years and become a key training and representative body in the legal sector.

On joining EWI in 2019, its Executive Manager established that its brand-new CRM system was unable to support its ambitious strategic growth plans and limiting the way it communicated with its existing membership.

This realisation coincided with an announcement from EWI’s incumbent provider that it was to refocus its CRM capability and related IP away from the not-for-profit sector and into other areas – a move that would impact its existing customers. Only five months after launching its new CRM system, EWI now faced the prospect of losing its CRM altogether and was forced to select a new partner.

The project

Despite the fact that EWI’s CRM infrastructure had only been in place for a very short space of time, the board decided to invest in a more capable system that would remove risk, support growth and add value to its members.

EWI’s Executive Manager had encountered Silverbear in a previous role and, knowing that its platform is built on Microsoft Dataverse, approached the membership specialists.  Silverbear won the contract in 2019 and immediately began designing a platform that would be used as the prime engine for organisational growth and effectively unify EWI’s CRM and CMS systems.  

Given the time and investment already committed to the previous system, EWI had concerns around organisational buy in. However, after a series of discovery workshops, during which Silverbear showcased what could be achieved by using its system, the team were fully behind the decision and ready to embark on their second major digital transformation programme. 

The result

EWI predicts that Silverbear’s solution will save the organisation 50 per cent in time attributable to administration and manual, paper-based tasks, providing a sizeable cost saving and the ability to refocus staff time on more productive activities to develop and grow the organisation.

For example, the failings of the previous CRM system meant that automatic events booking did not function correctly.  Instead of an automated process that should have taken seconds, team members still had to rebook the event at the back end, manually raise an invoice and then personally email the member – a process that could take up to 30 minutes per person. Now, through Silverbear, the process will be immediate and automatic.

EWI will also leverage the new platform to develop its CPD programme and, through Silverbear’s integration with dotdigital, take a more strategic approach to marketing outreach, which will see the proliferation of heavily tailored, member-specific content.  Finally, EWI’s member directory will become easier to use and allow legal professionals to make contact with experts via the CRM platform, providing added value member value.

What you get with Silverbear is a huge breadth of experience and a thorough understanding of how membership organisations work. Our previous experience with CRM was very poor, yet Silverbear was able to not only enthuse the team and ensure that they bought into the process, but also deliver on what they promised. We're delighted with the new system and look forward to using the time we've saved to invest in the organisation and its members

Simon Berney-Edwards

Executive Manager, Expert Witness Institute

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