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Understand the Real Need for Tech Within Your Firm

Ian BedfordWhen the pandemic hit it forced law practices to modernise. Those still using old paper methods quickly needed to adopt new tech and those already using digital systems needed to make sure they were easily accessible for staff from home and able to operate under these new pressures. 

Everyone was suddenly adopting new ways to work and finding the new technologies they could use to continue delivering the same service level to their clients. 

However, two years on, there are many firms who still don’t know what tech would be the best fit for their practice, their clients, or even their budget. Therefore, it is interesting to see in which direction practitioners are goings with their digital transformations. There are still some risks attached in this transitional period, but some firms are forward thinking and getting really creative. 

When some firms see others using all the latest tech or see others moving on to cloud hosting or hyperscale, they feel they need to be investing in that product too. They want to implement the same digital transformation as others so as not to miss out, but the truth is, they may not always have the need for it. Perhaps it might not be best suited to their practice given their size or scale or their requirements. 

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“For tech’s sake”

My role as the new general manager at Oosha is crucial to ensuring that the tech support we give to law firms of all sizes, law types and ambitions is as important as the software they are using - whether they are working remotely, from an office, or hybrid. 

Operating models are a big deal in the post-pandemic world, and now more than ever, the type of technology that practices use is critical to how they run their business. Our customers need access to the best technology while remaining compliant and have the confidence that there is rapid support there for them anytime, anywhere. 

But firms do need to understand that they should only be investing in the digital systems specific to their needs whether it is virtual desktop solutions, application hosting, cloud hosting, a full digital workspace or just managed security.

This will not only bring them into the modern world, but also improve their efficiency, help staff to prioritise their workloads, and in turn, excel the service they provide to their clients.

As recently shared in the Legal Technologist highlighting that, while adopting law tech has the potential to help a law firm grow and “bring the legal sector forward in leaps and bounds”, this doesn’t always mean it has to be adopted in all areas for the sake of tech.

We often see success stories from firms investing in technology, but they should carefully explore all of their options and factor in whether the benefits will in the long term outweigh the costs. 

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Take the right steps

Digital transformation can be daunting and involve considerable change. But in the long term it will help with agility, scalability and security. 

It’s a complex landscape. I could sell the dream of using the cloud to all our customers but it’s more beneficial for their business for us to help them to review their requirements and strategy before undergoing a full digital transformation. 

Preparing customers for that journey can be challenging and they may want to take their transformation in directions that would not necessarily give them the right benefits. So, our job is to make sure they understand how the product will help them, what the transformation will entail and find out exactly how ready they are to do that - whether they are just moving onto a different product or taking part in a complete application or service model transformation. 

Lawtech UK’s report found that while legal tech was not a solution to all problems for practitioners, it provides an opportunity for improvement and transformation to help the legal sector evolve.

Coming out of the pandemic a lot of firms are still in crises and figuring out what the new normal is going to be for them and their staff. For this reason, they are still in that transition period. Some practices want to go back to how we were working in 2019 before we were forced to work remotely, which means they could miss an opportunity to make a positive development into modern ways of working - which is what legal talent wants.

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Others are keen to adopt everything and shoot for the stars when there could be a risk that they miss. Some firms will feel the pressure from their teams and from clients, who now expect intuitive tech and a seamless digital experience. It’s crucial to get investment right, at the right time. 

Now is a really interesting time in legal tech and digital transformation. The risks, if not well managed, are all still there as they were two years ago, but the range of products and services available to firms are broader, more advanced and creative. With greater choice it can be enticing to want it all, but ultimately it is crucial for firms think carefully about where their focus would be best positioned before investing. 

Your legal tech partner is the best place to start asking the right questions about legal tech investment. 

Ian is general manager at Oosha - an Access Legal company - and is responsible for its cloud-based services, hosting and managed IT support. He has more than 27 years of experience across several industries and more recently, as Global IT Vice President for British designer brand Burberry, was instrumental in leading the company’s rapid move to an online operating model. His team had to act quickly after 450 of their physical stores worldwide temporarily closed during the pandemic and more people trying to access the website and wanting to buy products online.

He hopes to make major improvements to tech products and customer service during his time with Oosha. 
 

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