Irosoft or the art of eliminating paper softly


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Like every company, Irosoft has a story. This one began in 1995 with computer whizzes Alain Lavoie and René-Luc Morin who were interested in what would become document management. At the time, document conversion to Standard Generalized Mark-up Language (SGML) was still in its infancy. After succeeding in a Quebec government competitive bidding process, through a combination of talent and hard work, the duo landed Irosoft contracts which over the years have shaped the company’s development

The paper-free office, an empty promise?

The information age had promised us a world without paper, but it was not to be. Quite the opposite. Paper production and consumption has more than doubled since 1983 and, ironically, e-mail may well be the culprit. E-mail alone is thought to account for the spectacular rise in printing volumes. According to a study, a professional will, on average, spend 50% of his or her time retrieving information but only 5 to 15% consulting it.

The importance of document management takes on its full meaning here, and Irosoft’s solutions undeniably translate to gains in terms of productivity and costs.

Incursion into the world of Themis

Irosoft has quietly carved out a place for itself in the legal field, making it its specialty. A good choice, because if ever there was a field in which the use of paper is omnipresent, it is this one. Changing mindsets is always a challenge, but the applications developed by Irosoft have gradually revolutionized the legal publishing world and completely changed work paradigms on several levels, including drafting and updating legislation.

R-D is a matter of survival for us. A company like ours must by necessity be ahead of the wave to be competitive,” explained René-Luc Morin, co-founder of Irosoft.

In 2003, after converting several pieces of legislation for the Quebec Department of Justice, Irosoft designed the Légis Québec Web, a platform that disseminates and provides background information on provincial legislation while facilitating its updating. The possibility of consulting statutes and regulations in effect at a specific point in time is a definite competitive advantage since, by law, the applicable legislation is always the legislation that was in force at the time of the offence or litigation. The technology developed by Irosoft greatly streamlines erstwhile lengthy and tedious searches.

The Légis Québec software increased productivity at the Quebec Department of Justice by 400% and reduced update times from a year to a few weeks. A fundamental principle of Canadian law is that ignorance of the law is no excuse. Knowing the law is a matter of accessibility and Irosoft has clearly played a major role, in Quebec and in Canada, in making existing legislation more easily accessible.

Since January 1, 2010, all Quebec laws and regulations published electronically by the Éditeur officiel du Québec have official status. This is a technological victory because prior to that date, only printed versions had official status.

Irosoft later sold the software, now called LIMS (Legal Information Management System) to the Department of Justice Canada, the Government of New Brunswick and Québec City.

Expertise that exports well

Irosoft can now explore new markets. All Commonwealth countries whose legal structure is similar to Canada’s are very attractive potential clients. International canvassing, however, necessitates substantial investments and Irosoft already invests 25% of its sales in R-D. “R-D is a matter of survival for us. A company like ours must by necessity be ahead of the wave to be competitive,” explained René-Luc Morin, co-founder of Irosoft.

With the financial support of Canada Economic Development, Irosoft has been able to put its offshore commercialization plan into effect, receiving its first international recognition with contracts with the Bahamas and Bermuda governments.

Today the Saint-Laurent SME employs about 30 people and offers a wider product range (LIMS, Docuthèque, Paperless meetings, DocUnik). Brimming with projects, the two colleagues intend to take advantage of their success with Québec City to court the municipalities.