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What’s next for Digital Transformation within the legal industry?

From early 2020 to now, most law firms adopted new technologies faster than they ever had before. Whilst some of these solutions were poorly implemented due to the short timescale, it was a net positive for many businesses as they realised how novel technologies can improve processes, enhance business outcomes and fundamentally change the way a business works. This concept is known as digital transformation.

When digital transformation is done right, It gives you the answers to solve most of the logistical issues it creates. For example, high investment costs transform into long-term cost savings. Processes that seem complex at first actually deliver more centralised control and simpler management solutions. Digitising records poses security risks, but also enables the possibility of trackable and accountable file sharing with much higher levels of security than is possible using paper documents.

However, as the pandemic no longer has such a hold on businesses and remote and hybrid work is now commonplace, firms have started asking the question “what’s next for digital transformation?”, as it is poised to disrupt and transform the legal practice industry.

Digital Transformation During the Pandemic and more possibilities

The most common technology solutions that all businesses implemented in the early days of the pandemic were a remote meeting solution, such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom, a cloud telephony solution and a VPN. Most of these early digital transformation projects were reactive, rather than proactive. However, for some businesses it meant that they adopted a new technology in a matter of weeks, whereas it may have taken months or years if it was not for the pandemic.

As businesses become more confident in the fact that remote and hybrid work was here to stay some businesses also implemented additional solutions and invested in ensuring that all solutions had adequate security in the face of ever-growing cyber threats. Some businesses also invested in moving their on-premises infrastructure to the cloud to truly take advantage of the benefits of cloud computing and allow users easy access from anywhere, on any device.

Around 80% of law firms identified their investment in legal practice management tools as their top priority, and around 23% of them were already undertaking digital transformation projects.

Although most businesses have already implemented new technologies to survive the move to remote work, not all businesses are getting the most out of this investment. For example, businesses may have adopted Teams as part of their Microsoft 365 subscription, but they are not using the full range of services included within the subscription. Some of these services include Microsoft Bookings, Forms and Yammer.

With Microsoft Bookings, customers can schedule meetings online through a webpage or app with employees. As it is connected to their Microsoft 365 account, customers are only able to book meetings when there is free space in the employee’s diary. If the meeting is for an online event, Microsoft Booking will automatically create a Teams invite for each booking.

Microsoft Forms is a tool that allows businesses to create online forms, surveys, polls and quizzes that can be shared with internal and external users. Internally, these can be used to determine employee satisfaction, or they can be used externally as an easy method of data collection. Using Forms can save businesses money, as they don’t need to pay for a third-party service, such as Survey Monkey.

Yammer is a social network designed for internal use within a business. It enables employees to share information, ideas, files and image with other departments so everyone is up to date with what is happening around the company.

These are just some of the features within a Microsoft 365 subscription that businesses can use to maximise their technology investment. Similarly, with other solutions, such as cloud telephony, cloud servers and virtual desktops, many businesses can benefit from better use of the solutions. Working with a trusted third-party IT provider can help businesses with this, as they can rely on the expertise of the provider.

Modern Meeting Spaces

Whilst Microsoft Teams works well as a meeting solution when all attendees are remote, it is less effective in hybrid meetings. This is due to the fact that it is easy for in-person attendees to become anonymous faces in a meeting room, whilst remote attendees struggle to be included in the discussion. All businesses that plan to make hybrid work a long-term endeavor should invest in meeting rooms that facilitate productive hybrid meetings.

Teams Rooms is Microsoft’s hybrid meeting room solution, designed to ensure all participants have the same productive meeting experience, regardless of where they are physically located. Teams Room is such a powerful solution as it is both a software and hardware solution, with peripherals designed to work with Teams, and functionality within Teams specifically designed for inclusive hybrid meetings. There is a wide variety of Teams Room hardware to ensure that the solution can scale to any size room, from small huddle rooms to full-size conference rooms.

Digitising the Employee Experience

Over the past 2 years, the employee experience (EX) has become increasingly important. Not only does a focus on the employee experience help businesses attract and retain talent, but it can also lead to significantly increased profits. When considering EX it is important to note that technology is only half of the equation. Businesses should invest in an employee experience platform, but this should also be supported by internal changes in the business, likely through the HR department.

Employee experience is closely related to digital transformation, as law firms that invest in the employee experience will have greater success with other digital transformation projects. The main hurdle to digital transformation is pushback from employees and resistance to change. A positive employee experience can solve this challenge as employees are more engaged within the firm and have an opportunity to influence the direction of digital transformation for the better.

Digital Transformation in 2022 and Beyond

With law firms looking for the next technology to help them achieve better business outcomes, it can be difficult to know where to invest their IT spend. Whilst each firm is different, with their own goals and requirements, there are three key areas that are becoming more prevalent and important in 2022, more than ever before.

Better Use of Existing Technology Solutions

  • First, law firms need to manage the technical hurdles of procurement, installation and data migration. 

  • Second, they need to handle the cultural challenges required to turn their investment in legal technology into a meaningful outcome. 

  • Third, they consider the cost and the effort needed to manage the technical maintenance and ensure the security of their new ecosystem.

However, decision-makers need a full understanding of the outcomes they can get from legal practice management technology.

How To Ensure Success

Implementing new technologies and undertaking digital transformation projects present many opportunities for your business to work more effectively and produce better business outcomes. The legal industry can have many opportunities by heading into the digital transformation realm. Technology has significantly impacted legal functions and services, allowing legal teams to focus on other tasks that are more important and require attention.

For legal digital transformation to be successful, legal teams must learn to adapt to new technologies and understand how they improve their day-to-day legal functions.

If you want to find out more about how your business could benefit from a digital transformation project such as eSignature and DMS integration, contact us today.

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