The following SC&H Group blog post discusses key opportunities for law firms to optimize their technology spend and resources, allowing them to reduce risk while improving efficiency and savings.
In today’s shifting, competitive legal environment, efficiency and cost reduction are essential to meeting firm objectives and satisfying client demands. For mid-market firms, technology is the primary vehicle—and differentiating factor—for reaching these goals.
However, many firms are not receiving the needed or desired ROI from their technology investments. Are you?
To ensure you’re getting the most from your technology spend, your firm must focus on achieving the following three technology goals, integrating solutions that address your needs, provide transparency to partners, and deliver a powerful competitive advantage.
- Maximizing Operational Efficiency and Effectiveness
In the modern law firm, technology affects the success of every operational aspect, from time and billing to document management, business development, telecommunications, and more.
For instance, many firms have outgrown their time and billing, telecommunications, and document management systems. These systems are at the heart of most firm operations, so it is critical that firms evaluate how effectively they are using them, then develop a plan to improve their existing solution or select a better software option, if needed.
Meanwhile, many firms are also experiencing shortcomings in technology related to their business development efforts. Firms need an efficient, uniform way to track business development activities. However, the challenge with many CRM solutions is that while management understands they need to use it, the software that is utilized does not align with the firm’s culture.
Given the substantial time and cost associated with these technology investments, receiving the optimal ROI for each is critical, requiring a careful assessment of whether the selected systems and vendors are meeting firm needs at the proper cost.
- Ensuring Necessary Technology Expertise and Strategy
To ensure that their technology is delivering maximum operational efficiency and effectiveness, firms need to be able to evaluate their current systems to identify gaps, examine usage, and assess technology spend.
However, with limited internal IT resources and/or underwhelming external IT support, many mid-market firms do not have the time or expertise to accomplish these tasks. Further, should new software be needed, these resources are also often ill-equipped to deliver the strategic or technical guidance necessary to select and implement the best-suited software.
Therefore, firms must engage the right technology support to supplement their internal IT resources. This support includes CIO-level insight to not only develop a comprehensive plan that guides their investments and optimizes spend, but also aid in adoption after implementation.
- Maintaining Timely, High-Quality Data Security
Law firms have become high-profile targets for cybercrime. In fact, the National Law Review recently described 2016 as the “Year of the Breach,” with incidents ranging from data breaches and stolen laptops to insider-trading schemes. Most notable were data breaches at more than 50 major firms, with foreign hackers accessing networks in search of insider information.
Moreover, according to a recent American Bar Association TECHREPORT, one in four firms with 10-49 attorneys have had a known data breach, and nearly half have had infections from viruses, spyware, or malware. These breaches have led to unauthorized access to sensitive data, downtime, loss of billable hours, consulting repair fees, software replacement, and loss of files.
Considering these wide-reaching incidents, it is important that firms select IT solutions and providers that can protect their data. They should inquire as to how frequently the provider tests their systems, whether they have a sufficient business continuity plan in place, and if they offer service level agreements.
This is particularly critical as firms explore cloud solutions and more clients request Dropbox-like data exchanges. Firms must ensure not only that they have the capability for these solutions, but also that they maintain ongoing data security.
Ultimately, law firms can enhance their technology ROI by optimizing their solutions, ensuring they have access to necessary resources, and maintaining high-quality data security. By working with an experienced advisor to complete an assessment of their IT infrastructure, they can develop a technology plan that aligns with their firm’s structure, culture, and goals—allowing for wise technology investments that yield greater cost reduction, efficiency, client satisfaction, and competitive advantage.
To discover other ways to maximize technology ROI, or to conduct a technology assessment of your firm, contact SC&H Group’s Technology Advisory Services practice here.