The CEO Corner

New Year’s Message from Donna Payne

Our company’s goals in 2018 were simple, to reconnect with our clients, innovate and embrace new technologies, and finally, to rebuild our team and to be have a more collaborative and communicative culture. These goals were challenging for many reasons; however, I believe we realized the things we set out to accomplish.

One of the biggest changes was the relocation of our offices. For twenty-six years, we leased office space in class A and B buildings in downtown Seattle, which provided private offices for everyone. During this renewal however, we wanted to change it up to see if open space could bring us closer together as a team. After careful deliberation, we settled on the 19th floor of the historic Seattle Tower. If you walk into our offices today, you’ll see breathtaking views of the Puget Sound, Space Needle, the Olympic mountain range and the city of Seattle. The dark hardwood floors covered by area rugs contrast with the white ceilings and stainless-steel HVAC system overhead. Mostly though, you’ll notice the change in everyone who works here. You’ll see smiles and pleasantries exchanged more freely, and ideas shared spontaneously. 

Next, we dived head first into updating our internal systems. We created a new website. We implemented Microsoft Dynamics CRM, moved to Microsoft Teams from Slack, and embraced not just the core cloud applications of Office 365, but also the solution apps such as Teams, Flow and Forms. 

Our own software products received the most innovation. We talked repeatedly with clients and learned their pain points. We reversed our decision to retire the Forms Assistant because many clients expressed concern and told us they rely heavily on the software. We kept the product going and began developing new software in parallel. In December, we released new software called PayneGroup KIT, which stands for Keep in Touch. This software is like the correspondence functionality available in Forms Assistant; however, it’s designed for the small to medium sized organization and allows for complete customization and maintenance in-house. Metadata Assistant added new functionality and we completed the integration with iManage Work 10. Redact Assistant and Outlook Send Assistant demand increased because more people learned of its existence to protect from accidental disclosures. Finally, we tested and ensured that all PayneGroup products worked well in Office 365 and Office 2019.


The professional services division conducted hundreds of classes including helping organizations upgrade or move to different document management systems. We continued to rebuild our Migration Roundtable offering and signature class, Master Series. We kept pace with the updates from Microsoft Office 365 and implemented the materials into our deliverable. Our trainers spoke at conferences worldwide and authored articles to continue to share their knowledge. They visited clients every week and became more fluent in other software all to benefit of the organizations we work with. Personally, I had the opportunity to write articles, and to speak at quite a few conferences. I spoke about privacy at universities, and was a speaker in a three-part series at the annual conference of the International Legal Technology Association. I also spoke at State Bar Associations on the importance of data governance, privacy and protecting confidential information.


Most important, as a company, PayneGroup focused more on our clients. We learned that we needed to communicate more often about what’s happening with the products, services, and staffing. We started a monthly newsletter in November and will continue with this effort. We picked up the phone more frequently and we listened to how we can better help our clients. 


As we march into 2019, we have new goals. We will make our software better. We will add new products and professional services. We will expand our markets so organizations without large budgets can afford the tools. We will find additional talented staff to replace those who have retired. And we will continue to embrace change and innovation. 


To our clients, you have our pledge we will do what we need to do, when we need to do it. We consider it a privilege to work with you and we don’t take the opportunity lightly.  Thank you for your loyalty, your advice, and your willingness to work with us always. We appreciate you more than we can convey in this message.

Very truly yours, 


Donna Payne

CEO, PayneGroup, Inc.