The strategic use of technology automates repetitive tasks to increase productivity, thereby giving a competitive edge to tech-savvy law firms.
Using technology to standardize processes makes everything more efficient. However, technology doesn’t always cooperate the way we’d like. Lawyers and support staff can lose valuable time every day due to technology problems. Sometimes it’s because a system is slow to access or isn’t integrating properly. Other times, the technology works just fine, but the user is inadequately trained, and the IT helpdesk is overwhelmed.
Lawyers are not alone in losing time to technology issues, but they are notoriously slow adopters. As such, they are more likely to suffer technology time drains – even though 24% of legal professionals cite enhancing operational efficiencies as a main priority.
Professionals Lose More Time to Technology Issues than You Might Think
A survey by Robert Half shows that the average professional worker loses 22 minutes each day on IT-related problems, with 40% of professionals wasting between 16 and 60 minutes per day. That’s a loss of more than two work weeks per year.
In the legal profession, which is often powered by billable hours, that’s a massive loss.
Technology “gone wrong” can drain time and productivity due to:
- Outmoded systems: 42% of law firms say their business growth plans are hurt by their current legacy IT systems. Legacy hardware does not often integrate with the latest software and applications. As time goes on, every function ends up taking longer than it should. A few minutes here and there wasting time on various systems soon becomes an unproductive work week.
- Lack of proper training: It’s not enough to simply put systems into place and give people a quick run-through. There must be a firm-wide commitment from the top down to getting and staying up-to-speed on critical technology.
- Subpar maintenance: If the software you are using is not in the cloud and your own IT department is maintaining it, they must be sure to keep up with upgrades and patches.
- Questionable software choices: Sometimes firms choose software that does not do the job, does not address their most important issues or does not work with their other systems.
- Inefficient IT helpdesk: Things tend to go wrong at the worst times. A technology issue can bring your work to a screeching halt. You need help immediately, not a place in the IT helpdesk queue.
Reduce Wasting Time on Technology by Enhancing Your IT Structures
There are many ways you can reduce time wasted with IT issues. Let’s look at some of the most important.
Commit to the Cloud
Unless you are a huge firm that has a top-notch IT department that does its own backup & recovery, consider using cloud-based IT technology. This can solve a lot of problems at once:
- The software is always up to date.
- Increased mobility vastly decreases downtime.
- Software installation costs are greatly reduced.
- You can usually pay monthly for software as a service (SAAS) instead of making large capital expenditures for your software systems.
Outsource Your IT Maintenance and Helpdesk
Outsourcing your IT helpdesk enables you to focus on your core business, while a professional organization manages your IT. An outside managed IT service program can devote the resources you require as your needs fluctuate.
Prioritize Ongoing Training
Though training on software takes some time, view it as an investment. After all, training does not take nearly as much time as an inefficient workforce. Employees that are not using the software effectively or are constantly stopping work to call the IT helpdesk are wasting valuable time.
Regularly Review Your Technology
Your firm should have a person or committee that is given the task of reviewing your firm’s technology when it comes to new developments. This should involve at least one partner, who can make the final decisions.
Integration is Key
Your systems should work together as much as possible in order to maximize time savings.
Adopt a Pro-Tech Attitude
From the managing partner to the receptionist, the firm needs to adapt to ever-advancing technology. They should understand new technology’s impact on increasing productivity and automating repetitive tasks.
90% of the world’s data was generated in the last two years. You read that correctly. As data grows and competition increases, technology and automation are now critical to a law firm’s success.
Infoware’s suite of software solutions is designed to save your firm time and money. Firm-branded templates, clause libraries, and legal-specific formatting tools are designed to improve consistency throughout your range of documents.