Just as your people, location, and corporate culture are intrinsic to how your law firm operates, so too is your IT. When an intrinsic part of your firm does not function well, it largely impacts your firm’s operations and the productivity of your attorneys and staff, ultimately influencing how clients view your firm. By approaching IT as a strategic investment rather than a cost and aligning IT with your operational needs and business goals, your firm can realize efficiencies while gaining a competitive edge.
Partner with Your IT Team on Strategic Planning
A strategic IT investment begins with choosing a solutions-driven IT partner that will take the time to understand your needs and be invested in finding optimal solutions. To understand your needs, your IT team must be involved in strategic discussions at the executive and partner level and be in tune with the evolving operational needs of your firm. For instance, if there are plans to grow the firm by adding more attorneys, locations, or practice areas, involving IT in those discussions early on will help to ensure efficient long-term solutions that will support success. When IT professionals are presented with a challenge on short notice, they must be reactive rather than proactive, which leads to quick fixes – the equivalent of Band-aid solutions. Over time, this results in wasted dollars and a disjointed system architecture that is inefficient and difficult to scale, support, and secure.
Strategic Investment in IT Solutions Can Make Your Operations More Efficient
Planning without action is futile; you need to be willing to make an investment in infrastructure and applications that will maximize how you leverage IT. Your infrastructure equates to the roads and bridges of your IT while your applications are the vehicles, and both are extremely important to operational efficiency. Infrastructure includes devices such as laptops, desktops, and tablets; networks, servers, and cloud platforms; and protection systems that provide security as well as back up and business continuity. If your infrastructure does not function well, lawyers and staff will not be able to access the applications and data quickly, easily, and securely. Productivity and client service will suffer as tasks take longer than necessary to complete. With so many law firms instituting flexible work environments since the pandemic, infrastructure must expand beyond the firm’s offices to allow attorneys and staff seamless and secure access to applications and data from anywhere.
Just as infrastructure is important, how you leverage your IT applications can have a major impact on efficiency and productivity. A good IT partner can work with firm leadership to design efficient solutions that streamline operations. Integration between various applications such as document management, time and billing, and case management software eliminates the need for data to be input more than once while allowing team members to seamlessly share information across multiple platforms. If your attorneys and support staff perform time-consuming manual processes, the IT team can advise you on leveraging automating solutions. The IT team can also provide training to ensure your team members know about all the impactful features of your systems and how to utilize them.
Strategic Investment in IT Can Help Your Firm Gain a Competitive Advantage
Investing in efficient, productive, and secure IT can provide law firms with a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining not only clients, but employees. The competition for talented attorneys, particularly young associates who will be the future of the firm, is increasingly fierce, and firms that can show they are leveraging newer solutions and leveraging cloud to provide attorneys with state-of-the-art tools will have a competitive advantage over other firms. Top attorneys want to be able to work productively both inside and outside the office to better service clients and achieve maximum success. If your IT degrades their ability to perform or limits where they can work from, talented people will look elsewhere.
Clients expect accessibility, responsiveness, and high-value service from their attorneys, and the right IT supports attorneys’ ability to meet these expectations. Clients are particularly concerned about security when dealing with their attorneys, but many law firms lack adequate cybersecurity. According to an American Bar Association survey, only 53% of respondents said their firm had a cybersecurity policy in place to manage the retention of data. If your law firm can demonstrate that you store and transmit data securely, it will give you a distinct competitive advantage over firms that cannot show this.
Tabush Group is a leading provider of Desktop as a Service (DasS) and Managed IT services and a strategic IT partner for small and midsize law firms. To learn more about how our state-of-the-art IT solutions can make your firm’s operations more efficient and secure, contact us.