Law firms are not immune to the overwhelming availability of technology. This makes the process of deciding where to invest your time and resources infinitely more complicated and can lead to making decisions which may be detrimental to your firm’s bottom line.
In our experience at ServiceScaler, the most common scenario is that firms tend to make one of the following two mistakes:
In today’s article, we are going to go through the first of the two mistakes firms are making with technology.
It may sound counter-intuitive to suggest that we can over-invest in technology, particularly when we sell it, but over-investment in technology can create a range of time and money related challenges.
When we say over-investment in technology, we are not referring to paying a decent amount of money for your core systems like your infrastructure and practice management systems. We believe this is where you should be making solid investments to ensure you have a robust, capable and secure system to complete your operations.
However, you can get caught out investing in technology when you introduce too many systems into your firm. We refer to it as “App Syndrome", where you have an app for this, and an app for that, and you can just download another app that will fix the problem with that other app. Often, these apps or solutions are single function and complete these tasks in complete isolation of your core systems.
Over time, you end up with so many systems that you do not know which one to use for which. IT specialists refer to this as creating information silos, whereby information gets trapped in different systems that do not talk to one another. This can lead to firm personnel endlessly hopping between disparate systems to find information, and action tasks through multiple different places, wasting huge amounts of time.
To avoid this mistake, ServiceScaler would recommend that you assess your core systems capability to deliver a similar result to that of another application. The idea behind the introduction of more technology is to enhance the capability and capacity of the core system you already use. Most systems have greater capability to deliver than their brochure would suggest and may just require some configuration and customisation to deliver the required result. Speak to your technology vendor, other law firms, and other vendors who might be able to help.
Where you can confirm that your core systems cannot be used to achieve the desired results, look for solutions that enhance your core systems capability through direct integration. You always want your core systems (Practice Management System) to be the master database. This means that third-party applications should either use information that is already contained within that database, or post information to that system to create new records.
For example, if you were to receive a new customer enquiry from your website, you would want a system that writes a new record to your practice management system, and creates an activity for a salesperson or support staff to follow up. You should not have a system that holds that information externally like a third-party CRM.
Other areas that can challenge a firm’s bottom line with overinvestment in technology are related to the firms (and its personnel) ability to keep on top of the training and education requirements for a range of different systems. Additionally, firms struggle with keeping their systems up to date, managing a range of different vendors who supply these solutions, finding staff who have used these systems before, identifying opportunities to improve each of the systems, auditing the systems to ensure they are secure, managing access rights for current and former staff, and a host of other time and cost overheads.
ServiceScaler works with law firms and legal practices Australia wide to help and guide them through their technology journey. We specialise in IT systems and technology for law firms, providing strategic advice and consulting to firms to ensure they are making the most of their technology investments.
If you feel that ServiceScaler could help you to make the right decisions for your firm technology, then make sure you reach out to us: