Law, like many other professions and businesses, has changed a lot over time. There are many factors that have driven these changes. Clearly, one of the major players is technology.
When we consider technological innovation, we often think about the global changes: the internet; mobile phones; data. But innovation has also driven operational changes. This is as true for law firms as any other business.
Tech innovations can certainly simplify some tasks. But inability to adapt, adopt or properly implement innovations can see you fall behind the pack.
While knowing all the ins and outs of recent technology changes isn’t necessary, learning a bit about what to expect and the technology you should be investing in can help your firm prosper.
If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward
The biggest changes in technology have been around improving the efficiency of law firms, by automating many of your tasks and functions.
Law firms now rely on many tech advancements to remain efficient and stay competitive. It has become close to impossible to practice law with IT that isn’t up to standard.
Firms without the right IT systems to support these technological advances don’t get much leverage. Consequences include:
- DOA becoming impossible, causing inefficiencies, unequal distribution of work, and heavy reliance on senior staff;
- A lack of flexibility, caused by out-dated, rigid processes and infrastructure;
- Reliance on expensive and time-consuming upgrades to keep you up to date; and
- Wasted time and frustration amongst employees who are constantly dealing with IT problems.
Ultimately, it can lead to high turnover and an inability to reach growth goals.
Focus on the technology you can’t live without
If you weren’t working a law firm 20 years ago, the way things run now might seem like normal. But the reliance on technology has come a long way in the last couple of decades, with many advancements made and adopted in quick succession and to great success.
Immediately adopting every whiz-bang innovation on the market isn’t necessary for keeping your firm working well. But there are two technological capabilities your firm definitely needs to ensure you can stay efficient and competitive.
They are: Software that is accurate; and IT systems that are accessible.
One of the biggest changes enabled by technology for law firms is software that can be used to automate processes and template certain documents. This has helped incredibly with firms’ ability to streamline work and DOA.
But to do this effectively, you need to be sure your software is up to date for every single user, and that the updates reflect changes in law or policy. In law, there is no room for error.
Tech changes aren’t the only ones we’re facing. More flexible and collaborative working is a big change to the industry, and one that your IT needs to be able to support. Can you and your staff always access the applications they need?
Teams of people all using the same software or programs means there needs to be access for everyone to the same applications, and sometimes even the same documents.
Your ability to provide these capabilities, including upgrades where necessary, is directly tied in with your overall IT system, how it is configured and how it runs.
If your IT system can’t keep up with change, your firm won’t be able to either.
Reliance on technology calls for investment in IT
There are a few options that can help deliver flexibility and accessibility more easily for you and your firm. Some web applications – for example, Dropbox – are great for work sharing and collaboration. However, for more control over all software and tech changes, changes need to be made to the overall system.
No matter how keen you are to implement new technology, you won’t be able to utilise it to your advantage without an IT system that can support change.
More firms are moving to solutions like hosted desktops because they incorporate software and infrastructure. This means you don’t have to worry about ongoing IT problems or an onsite IT team.
Hosted desktops also offer a range of features to ensure accuracy, accessibility and cost-savings:
- One-off software implementation that still ensures all staff have access – saving you from having to install on every single computer;
- Automatic software updates for all users, rather than multiple manual downloads; and
- Cost-saving on software through one install vs. install for every computer.
By ensuring your IT system is as smooth and capable as possible, you put your firm in the best position to function efficiently now and adopt new technologies in the future when it’s necessary.
When tech gets confusing, look to specialists for help
It doesn’t take much for technology and IT to get confusing. After all, you’re a law expert, not a computer wizard.
Innessco is a team of IT professionals who specialise in the IT needs of law firms. So, we have a great understanding of the way you use your IT, the software you need and the ins and outs of your systems.
If you’re interested in learning more about what your firm needs to be prepared for changes in tech, or are interested in migrating to a hosted desktop, click here to contact Innessco.