It’s common – if not normal – to seek out a better service when your current one isn’t cutting it. From electricity providers, to banks to hairdressers – it’s only sensible to switch if you’re not getting what you want, need or pay for.
But when it comes to law firms and their IT service providers, we often put up with poor service and/or capabilities for fear of change. Concerns over the effort, risk and value of making a switch often leave firms believing ‘the devil they know’ is the better choice.
Most of the common beliefs about the risk of transforming IT are completely unfounded – which means you could be putting up with underperforming IT for no good reason. We’re offering up a little dose of reality and some insider knowledge that could change all that.
Are you getting in your own way?
Law firms are unique in that they can perform nearly all aspects of the business internally – HR, administration, finance. But IT is different – it’s a specialised and highly technical service. As a lawyer, you can’t be expected to know enough to make an optimal decision around IT.
This becomes an issue when your chosen IT service provider isn’t able to deliver what you need. Fear of change of systems or providers is a legitimate issue, but stems from:
- Limited knowledge around IT and service-provider capabilities
- Negative feedback from other firms who changed providers, only to have a bad experience
- A desire for control over all business services
Any or all of these can contribute to fear of change, believing the risks involved would leave your firm worse off.
These fears could mean sticking with lacklustre IT might just be worth it – if they were legitimate. But in my experience, most of the time, this isn’t the case.
Putting long-held beliefs to the test
Let’s take a look at the three most common fears and beliefs that boutique law firms across Australia have described as a reason that stops them from optimising their law firm’s IT system and service.
Compare that to the reality of what a well-equipped IT provider can offer, and you’ll see why switching your IT shouldn’t be something to fear.
I need someone onsite to solve my problems
Many firms believe that they can’t (or won’t) receive help quickly if the specialist is on the phone, not in front of them. This generally comes from experience with support desks of other companies – they take too long to get back to you, don’t know your specific needs and won’t prioritise you over the hundred other people they’ll serve that day.
I need an expert to see what I see when I encounter a problem
Unlike having one onsite IT support person who works business hours, a helpdesk provides several dedicated professionals (and simple escalation policies) that know you and your firm to offer instant support 24/7. By utilising hosted desktop technology, you remove the need for onsite support as your IT support team can access it remotely from their end. They see what you see.
The initial cost is not the last
Cost is a big factor for any service you buy or engage. A higher initial cost of a new system can be an instant turn off, because many firms believe (and are used to) required extra add-ons and upgrades over time, that continually compound costs.
A fixed price without add-ons
A fixed price means it’s in your IT provider’s best interest to perform continuous, great work – if not, they’ll be doing extra work without being able to charge you. It will also give you a clear, total cost – something many firms aren’t able to properly calculate
My service capabilities and data will be negatively impacted
A huge fear is the actual migration process from old system to new one. If you haven’t experienced before, it’s common to believed that the process will take a long time and therefore the practice will be operating at lowered capacity. You won’t be able to perform the service you need to – or worse, you’ll lose your data.
My service capabilities will lift and my data will be safer than before
The success of system migration is in your control – the stronger the combined effort between you and your provider to prepare prior to migration, the better result you’ll achieve. A good IT provider will be able to transfer your systems over the weekend, with all employees able to return to business-as-usual on Monday morning.
Facing your fears
IT can be difficult – but achieving high-quality IT service and capabilities doesn’t need to be. The right IT provider will be able to mitigate your concerns and deliver without the pain, effort and cost you’re scared is inevitable with a big change.
But where do you find a provider that can not only promise this, but also deliver it? It pays to do your research:
- Seek advice from law firms similar to yours who have undergone a change or migration recently
- Analyse the needs of your firm, or identify exactly what’s lacking from your capabilities
- Get an expert opinion from someone who knows both law firms and IT
It requires a little bit of effort, but is well worth your time. To make it easier, you can analyse your needs and get expert recommendations in minutes by using Innessco’s online evaluation tool. You can also read about other firms experiences with hosted desktop and service migration.
Innessco is an outsourced IT provider who specialises in IT for law firms. If you need more advice about switching providers or discovering how IT can be improved at your firm, click here to get in touch.