About 60% of law firms partner with a cloud service provider for some or all their IT needs, according to the American Bar Association. Small and midsize law firms specifically see many benefits in working with a cloud service provider, from immediate access to the latest applications and updates and a stable of IT professionals with a wide range of technical expertise to scalability, predictable costs, and enhanced cybersecurity. But the fact is, some law firms benefit more from their relationship with their cloud service provider than others. Here are some ways to ensure you get the most out of your relationship with your cloud provider.
Build a Strategic Partnership
The best cloud service providers serve as a strategic partner for their clients. When first evaluating a provider, discuss your firm’s strategic goals and ask the provider for its proposed solutions to allow you to meet those goals. Once you sign a contract, the discussions about tying solutions to strategic goals should not stop – in fact, they should only be getting started. As new opportunities arise in your business – such as if you’re acquiring another law practice, taking on substantial new business, or opening a new office – a good cloud service provider should be willing and able to expertly guide you in supporting and enhancing your growth with proactive, seamless, and efficient solutions. Similarly, as you face challenges, such as new competitors, industry disruptors, or internal issues, you should be able to look to your provider for informed guidance. Think ahead to where you expect your firm to be 3-5 years down the road. Consider whether your cloud service provider has the capability to continue meeting your needs as your firm progresses through its lifecycle.
Collect and Share Feedback
A good cloud service provider will want to know how it is doing. The provider will welcome your honest feedback about what is working and what needs improvement, and how it could add value to its services. You should have a system in place to collect constructive feedback from your team to help evaluate the service. It is important to communicate with the provider about your firm’s needs and goals that have gone unmet and how the provider can improve its services.
Work Closely with Your Relationship Manager
Many cloud service providers will assign a specific relationship manager to your account. To get the most out of the relationship, it is important that this individual is accessible and approachable. The professionals assigned to your account should not only respond in a timely manner to your calls, but they should demonstrate an interest in understanding your business. When vetting providers, ask to speak to the relationship manager that would be assigned to your account to get a feel for whether you would be comfortable working with this person. If you are not happy with your current relationship manager, ask your provider to assign a manager who might be more compatible with your firm.
Benefit from Your Provider’s Legal Industry Expertise
As with other types of professional service providers, a cloud service partner with deep experience serving other law firms can offer value beyond a provider that lacks a window into your industry. When cloud service providers know your industry intimately, they “get” what special challenges you’re facing and what keeps law firm leaders up at night. From industry-specific software solutions to the need for the utmost confidentiality of client data to the legal industry’s increasing adoption of flexible workplaces, they understand how law firms operate and can tailor and enhance their solutions accordingly. From their experience collaborating with law firms similar in size and scope to yours, they can proactively guide you based on how similarly situated firms have fared from certain solutions. When choosing a new provider, look for one with a specialty in your industry, and ask how the provider keeps up with the latest industry trends and news. Ask your provider for case studies with metrics that show how their solutions impacted other law firms’ business. And be sure to ask the cloud provider for references from clients that are similar to your firm. Call the references to get a feel for what it is like to partner with the cloud provider.
Tabush Group is a leading provider of Desktop as a Service and managed IT services for small to midsize law firms. To find out how our cloud-based solutions can help your firm gain a competitive advantage, contact Tabush Group.