Turn inevitable costs into worthy investments

software
11 Jul 2023

By knowing which software will work for you…

Part II

In the article Getting Beyond The Tech in Legal Tech, author Mark A. Cohen sets out as follows –

Technology is breaking down the provincialism of traditional legal practice by removing geographical barriers, enabling the creation of agile, collaborative supply chains, attracting investment capital, catalysing innovation, and providing consumers – and those in need of access to legal services – with new delivery options.

Law firms traditionally handled all facets of a matter; now they routinely collaborate with other providers with differentiated delivery expertise. Technology provides legal consumers with more choices, data to make more informed buying decisions, and an ability to integrate the supply chain more seamlessly and efficiently.

Technology has created a new enthusiasm, hopefulness, career paths, and globalism within the legal industry”.

And it’s in this sphere our discussion commences.

Because with everything “technology” related there are so many possibilities, opportunities and excitement.

But it’s knowing what technology to invest in, what software to incorporate into your systems that becomes tricky. Because, on the face of it at least, there are so many things, so many terms that seem interchangeable.

As a legal tech company, we fully support the incorporation of the correct technology into your business. We can see the benefits our existing clients derive from using software that helps better the performance within their business. On the other hand, we understand that this comes with a certain amount of spend – of investment – into something you’re not entirely sure you need. Or something you don’t fully understand.

But what you need to remember – while acquiring the tools to help your business soar will cost money, that spend should be seen as an investment in the health of your business. If you invest in high-quality systems, you can outperform competitors and prove to be essential to your clients.

And that’s the goal here – to ensure you are indispensable.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, do you remember the terminology we set out in Part I? Here’s a quick refresh so that you know the lay of the land –

Computer software can be seen as the instructions that tell the hardware (the physical component of the system) what to do. Software can be comprised of an entire set of programmes, procedures and routines associated with the operation of a computer system. Simply put – software is what makes the hardware work.

A computer system is the complete set-up, the combination of the hardware and the software that works together to perform a desired output. Interlinked, intertwined and working as one interwoven thing.

Technology encompasses so many things – the hardware, the software, the system. The word technology can also mean the things that result from such efforts, including both physical tools (like “machines”), and intangible ones such as software”.

With that, we can dive into the realm of software – the “instructions” part.

Not running according to plan

Does it sometimes feel like you’re swimming against the current? That in order to make ends meet (or better yet, to be profitable), one needs to write ten times more fees. While doing more work. In less time?

Whew!

You have invested in some hardware and have incorporated some software thinking you have done enough to “run with the big boys”. Only to find out that you are not competing in the same weight class.

Things are not – entirely – going according to plan. You’re not running optimally. Despite your spend on tech.

And you find yourself floundering around, not sure what to do. Well, let’s stop there for a second. Take a deep breath and say this –

That’s where the right technology for you steps in. “Tech” in its all-encompassing halo is the cure to your ailing optimality. Not the band aid that you put over a wound. Rather the complete antidote for the struggling business.

As a legal technology company, we believe that only meeting the basic requirements of running a legal practice (and business) – like the archaic stereotypes of a pleasant secretary, a quaint sign of your law firm name and a nicely decorated waiting room are over. Of simply having a computer with Wi-Fi access, a copier/scanner, and a fax machine – will no longer cut it.

Because it’s the technology (comprised of hardware and software) that you incorporate into your business that provides you with the essential tools required to practice remotely from wherever you are. It’s technology that allows you to completely access your practice online and often on the go (by now being able to use AJS Mobile).

The software you need going forward must enable you to do more. Simple as that.

For a start, your software needs to –

  • Allow for access to all your firm’s information – relating to any matter and any account – in one easy to access location. A location that’s accessible from anywhere at any time.
  • Allow for document management and automation, time recording, contacts management, FICA management and an asset register – all online.
  • Automate repetitive processes and menial tasks by allowing access to the system from almost any mobile device (via the Cloud).
  • Allow for meeting compliance obligations, easily.
  • Make the data in your database work for you.
  • Enable you to measure how much your business is growing (without it becoming an onerous task).
  • Manage the expansion of your business (without accounting becoming muddled between different locations).

There is so much that can (and should) be done with legal tech – so much to be excited about. So much more that you can do for your business!

And the inevitable question therefore is –

Can you afford not to invest in tech?

The bottom line is – technology accelerates growth by driving success. Technology enables businesses – like your law firm – to write more fees, by spending less time on tedious, menial, repetitive jobs and automating many of the processes. Whether you are a large multi-partner law firm or a one-person show, technology offers tremendous opportunity –

  • To alleviate the burden of repetitive tasks,
  • To avoid human error, and
  • To do more with less.

For the average legal practice, it can be challenging to allocate resources to what has historically been smaller (but still critically important) departments, like I.T. And this conundrum can make it even more important to choose the right tools that optimise, automate, and provide a return on investment, whilst upping productivity and earnings.

And that’s where partnering with the right technology partner can serve you. Take AJS, as an example. AJS offers free expert advice on the different components to suit your business. That’s quite a big value add, especially when you need to know the right path to go down… And quickly.

Sure, we understand that investing (even modestly) in your legal tech, comes with a price tag. And that can be daunting. But the question you should really be asking yourself is this – can you afford not to?

Panasonic Corporation of North America recently commissioned a research series, Moving Forward, on how disruptive technologies are impacting businesses. Entire industries more like it.

They have this to say –

Our study shows that many companies have made investments already. Breaking it down by technology, more than four in five have adopted mobile devices, apps and commerce and the cloud, and three in five have adopted the Internet of Things (IoT). Senior tech decision makers believe these three technologies are most critical to their future success. 

Senior decision makers clearly understand the risk in failing to adopt disruptive technologies. Across the board, they realise that their businesses could be hit hard if they do not embrace them.  

  • Nearly four in five believe industry competitors will pull ahead if they do not adopt or invest in these technologies.
  • Seven in 10 are concerned competitors outside their industry could disrupt them.
  • And these decision makers see a wide range of consequences, from falling revenue to unsustainable pricing to an inability to meet consumer demand.

Our net, net: disruptive technologies are not a nice-to-have – they’ve become the price of doing business… and staying in business”.

And that folks is the whole crux of it – technology has become the price of doing business, of attracting new business and of staying in business.

Whether you are a law firm or any other business.

But, a word of caution, there are so many tools and apps available nowadays that promise to streamline your entire practice. So many tools that promise to streamline your work, resulting in a more productive and efficient “you”.

Which makes it difficult to suss out the “right for you” tech from the “right for someone else” tech.

So do your homework, do your research – before you adopt anything into your business. Ensure that the tools you are plugging into your practice (and possibly already existing practice management software) is really what you need, that it meets your requirements whilst also being easy to use.

If you’re not paying your tech bill with a smile, then you are probably on the wrong package or with the wrong supplier.

If you have any questions regarding the information we have set out above or if you have any queries relating to legal tech and how you can incorporate it into your practice, get-in-touch and let’s see how we can take your software solution from good to phenomenal. If you don’t have any software supporting your legal practice yet, it’s not a problem. We are here to help you from scratch too.

AJS – as always – has your back!

See also:

(This article is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. For more information on the topic, please contact the author/s or the relevant provider.)
Alicia Koch

Alicia Koch is an admitted attorney with over 10 years PQE. She has worked in law firms, has had her own legal consulting company and has been an in-house legal... Read more about Alicia Koch

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