To say that 2020 has been a turbulent year would be an understatement. Factors beyond our control forced us to make changes in law firms that many were not ready or prepared to undertake on such short notice.
If there was a silver lining to the year that was, it might be that legal service providers - an industry historically averse to rapid and radical technology change - has become somewhat more comfortable with what technology can deliver, and how easily it can be adopted when given a chance.
With that said, I would theorise that the technology adopted has done nothing more than replace physical or manual processes and delivered next to no value to the firm and its clients, but it may have been a catalyst for a change in firm leaders attitudes towards technology.
What now then? If we are not so afraid of technology being introduced, is now a great time to assess how we can do better, and be better, with our not so scary friend technology? We at ServiceScaler certainly think so and have outlined some technology that we believe will deliver ACTUAL value to the way you do business with your clients.
You’re most likely already using Microsoft 365. If not, you should be. Using Microsoft 365 (In its entirety, not just Office and Emails) will enable you to work on documents and files anywhere, at any time, and have them synced back to your Microsoft 365 tenant in the cloud.
Beyond this, there is a range of underutilised apps available as part of most Microsoft 365 subscriptions. Here are the ones your firm should be using in 2021.
Microsoft SharePoint – Microsoft’s online document management system. It is incredibly powerful out of the box, but even more so when built to reflect business requirements. Use it for your non-matter related documents and files.
Microsoft Planner – Create plans using Planner. Assign tasks from the plans to users with deadlines for completion. Great for non-matter related tasks that fee earners and support staff need to complete. With reminders, calendar views, and full 365 integration, using Planner in 2021 should be a no brainer. Click here to read about our Communication and Marketing Coordinator Skye’s opinion on Planner.
Microsoft Forms – Collect information from staff and clients using forms. Collected data is published to an Excel workbook, and can be used to upload to other systems, or used by Power Automate to drive internal workflow
Power Automate – Build workflows to push and pull data between applications in the Microsoft 365 suite. It connects to almost every 365 application and can perform actions based on triggers like date and time, or when a record is created in a 365 application Find out more here.
The ultimate device line up for mobility and compatibility, the Surface range of products have a device for everyone, including partners, fee earners, and support staff in your firm.
The Surface products will help enhance your productivity through seamless integration to Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Azure and give users that premium device experience.
It doesn’t matter if you’re in the office, working from home, or in court, the Surface will keep you productive and connected to get through those tasks you used to complete exclusively in the office.
You can check out the line up here.
Why rush back to the office and connect your Dictaphone when you can dictate anywhere, anytime, on any device, and have it through to your typist almost instantly?
Upload dictations to the cloud dictation server automatically to start the process, either from your mobile, desktop or laptop, and have your typists work from anywhere by logging in to the website.
It’s easy to use, completely mobile, and the process can be completed from anywhere (with an Internet connection).
Find out more here.
Depending on which practice management system you use, moving your applications to the cloud might not be feasible. Some practice management systems, particularly those used in larger firms, require an on-premise deployment. Even when they are deployed in cloud, they are not cloud-based applications (Like LEAP, ActionStep and Smokeball for example), but are simply hosted on a server in the cloud instead of a local server.
Some common practice management systems that work this way are Lexis Affinity, Practice Evolve, BHL Insight, Infinitylaw, FilePro and Lawmaster.
To move these systems to the cloud, it makes sense to bring the supporting systems with them and mimic your on-premise network in the cloud. Once this is completed, you will need access to the systems hosted there, and this is where Virtual Desktops come in to play.
Virtual desktops are part of the network hosted in the cloud. It is the equivalent of your computer connected to your server in the office, but completely in the cloud and accessible from anywhere.
The advantage to this is literally that, accessible from anywhere. There are other distinct advantages to having your IT system in the cloud, but in today’s environment, this one is the biggest drawcard.
To learn more about how you can move you IT systems to cloud, please contact our team of experts at ServiceScaler here.
To sum it up, you should be in the cloud, and using the apps and technology already at your disposal to deliver improved operations and better services to your clients. ServiceScaler works exclusively with law firms and legal practices to deliver better technology and IT support to your sector. Get in touch to find if we can help your firm in 2021.