A reliable assessment process is the first step to ensuring technology will keep pace with your firm’s needs.
Recently, a colleague shared a confession with me. While her law firm of 30 attorneys continues to gain new clients, efficiency has plummeted. It’s taking longer to finish tasks that were once simple to complete. Lawyers and staff complain, and ultimately, the firm’s bottom line is suffering.
I’ve seen this situation many times before, and normally it’s a sign that the law firm has outgrown its technology. A firm expands. Attention naturally focuses on clients and away from IT. But processes and roles become more complicated, and technology doesn’t evolve. Your firm is eventually left with clunky technology, expensive maintenance costs and a high level of frustration.
How can your law firm avoid this predicament? I recommend a three-step approach that ensures technology will keep pace with your firm’s needs. It includes an assessment process, enacting a plan and continuously revisiting and refreshing the technology vision for the firm.
THE ASSESSMENT PROCESS
The assessment process starts simply: figure out what is working and what isn’t.
- What types of technology is the firm using?
Create a complete list of technologies your firm uses daily, including hardware, software and cloud services. Add the costs of these technologies and services. Determine if all of the technology is necessary and supports the firm’s needs. For example, will your business-specific applications scale up to match your firm’s growth? Determine the stability and reputation of the software vendors you currently work with. Will they be around in five years? Do they have a reputation for innovation? If you’re unsure, consult with legal applications specialists to gather more intelligence.
- What do other members of the firm think?
Ask attorneys and staff members to share their perspective of the firm’s technology. Can it do what they need it to do (and do it well)? Does it offer mobility, flexibility and ease of use? Request their “technology wish lists” as well.
- Is the firm’s technology secure?
With increases in compliance and security requirements, evaluate your IT infrastructure and software to see if it offers the safeguards needed to protect your firm, such as multifactor authentication and encryption. Law firms are prime targets for hackers due to the large amount of confidential data collected and stored.
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