Takeaways From Watching Lawyers Use Tech

IT Support Los AngelesDan Carmel, Chief Marketing Officer of iManage document management system, shares some lessons on enterprise software reached by analyzing customer surveys of more than 2,000 attorneys.

He points out that the biggest change in the law document management today is not the technology, but its users. “The new professionals” as Carmel terms them are younger than 32 (most large law firms are staffed by attorneys below this age) and they exhibit new attitudes toward technology and new expectations.

The new professional is most often mobile and regularly uses multiple devices. An attorney’s desktop is now highly likely to feature a desktop with two monitors, a USB headset, one or two smartphones and a tablet.

They also expect to be able to gain more value from the stored information through search and analytics. It’s not simple storage and management they want – they seek key insights from the information available.

Basically, what they find most valuable is a consumer-like experience with security and functionality of corporate software.

Here are some important takeaways that Carmel reflects on.

Communications not documents

It is actually various forms of communications that are stored now, not documents alone, even though the systems are referred to as “document management”. Information is today kept in emails, voicemails, SMS, images and other non-doc types. Managing communications has pushed content management out of focus.

Mobile!

Work product management systems should provide a full mobile experience, not something that imitates a desktop. Native mobile apps, properly secured in case of theft and lost, accommodate for the mobility of the new professional.

Jobs not features

Focusing on the jobs the users are trying to perform rather than on features, allows the system developers to create a better flow and integration.  This also enables more reliable security of the data. By modeling jobs rather than developing separate features, one-click solutions are enabled that maintain security across systems.

Analytics

As we said before, plain storage won’t do anymore. The user must be able to infer something from the stored data and obtain some insights. Improving search, content analytics, process collaboration and automation are crucial for enhancing user experience and productivity.

Updates

In many companies the software hasn’t changed to meet the changes in user expectations. A vast number of companies still uses old versions of their software. Updating is the quickest and most cost-effective way of refreshing your IT environment to ensure your employees are productive and satisfied with the systems being used. Updates provide you the full advantage of the software you use, so use it!

The benefits from keeping up with the times when it comes to enterprise software are multiple. First of all, efficient software will enhance the productivity of employees and secondly, the employees will be much more satisfied. Most importantly, increased productivity means increased profit – so stay competitive and rethink the tools you are using to manage your company data and files.

Answer This Before Office Virtualization

We won’t waste your time asking if you know what virtualization is. Someone has probably already brought it to your attention. Maybe it was your IT department suggesting it as a way to reduce downtime, or perhaps it was a competitor bragging about how it helped their firm improve its bottom line. While both are right, virtualization can assist in many other ways, too. That’s why you need to ask yourself a few questions before investing in a switch.

Sure, virtualization does sound fancy and expensive but, if done correctly, it can be of great benefit to your company. The process involves removing your physical equipment and instead running everything on virtual machines. This allows you to reduce expenses on equipment like servers – and, depending on your needs, even computers – while also freeing up valuable space in your office.

Before you start enjoying these benefits or even begin the process of virtualization at your firm, there are questions you’ll need to be prepared to answer. We’re going to reveal three of the most important ones you should consider.

Who will handle the project?

Like any massive IT project, who will be overseeing the implementation of the new technology is vital to its success. There will be a lot to consider depending on whether you have an in-house IT department or utilize a Managed Services Provider to take care of your technology. Let’s take a brief look at the things you need to think about with each one.

In-house IT department – If you have IT staff on-site, the most cost-effective option would be delegating the virtualization to them. However, being cost-effective and being practical don’t always align in this situation. Before trusting your IT department with this project, you’ll want to get a better idea of their current workload, as well as what experience they have with virtualization technology. It could be in everyone’s best interests to outsource the project if you don’t believe your IT staff has the time or experience to get the project done.

Managed Services Provider – A lot of MSPs can help with the planning and execution of virtualization projects. This is normally a good thing, but make sure to ask a lot of questions in order to get a better understanding of what they do and don’t offer. Realistically, they should be able to make recommendations for your specific company and industry that align with your business goals. If you notice a lot of broad generalizations, you might consider talking with one or two other IT providers about your virtualization project.

Will you virtualize everything at once or a little at a time?

This is a question that takes a lot of SMB owners by surprise. Many believe virtualization to be an either/or scenario, but the reality is that you can virtualize as much or as little of your technology as you want. Some businesses who are confident in the technology do it all at once, but a lot of companies take an incremental approach to their virtualization projects.

Normally, your answer to this question will come down to who’s managing the project and what your budget is. It’s not unusual for a business to start by virtualizing a few of their servers at a time. This allows you to better see just how the process works and what the benefits are. However, if you’re ready for a full-scale office virtualization, then by all means go for it; this will allow you to streamline everything into one project.

What about your applications?

Before you start the virtualization process, it’s good to come up with a list of which applications, if any, you need to be hosted at your premises. Sometimes a company may have one or two applications that they do not wish to be hosted on virtual servers. This is something you will want to take into account before the project begins, especially if you are virtualizing all of your servers. There is nothing worse than ditching everything only to realize afterwards that one or more of your applications need to remain on a physical server at your office.

We can help your firm turn virtualization into a realization. And if you’re impressed by our rhyming skills, you should check out our IT project management skills. We can help your business with all of its technology needs.