How to make the right IT investment for your law firm
The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly accelerated the struggle for managing partners to keep IT under control within an overall governance strategy, particularly in law firms where ad-hoc technology purchases have become the norm.
Considering IT outsourcing as a way of alleviating the pain felt by a managing partner is a valid argument, however, a law firm’s IT strategy should be far from reactionary. Expanding the use of technology to support workflows and meet productivity demands should form part of an ongoing business strategy.
Shifting to outsourcing will not only relieve the pressure on already stretched in-house teams but with the proportion of legal budgets spent on technology set to increase threefold by 2025*, it’s never been as important to make measured, well-considered decisions to avoid additional costs later down the line.
Measuring up what a good IT partner looks like should involve more than just the price. Whether you’re delving in for the first time or creating a long-lasting technology strategy that can evolve with changes in the industry, it’s all about taking the ‘measured approach’ and following the four “C”s whilst considering your options.
- Credentials – Start by taking a deep dive into the supplier’s business. Ask to visit their facilities, meet their technicians and engineers, witness the services they provide and their working practices with your own eyes. Be sure to visit their data centre. If they claim to offer 24/7 support - is that a rota based, ‘wake someone up in the middle of the night service’ or a true, manned service desk? Ask to see the results of their latest penetration test and other tests that you know impact your firm. Don’t base your decision on your opinion of the salesperson as the chances are, they will have nothing to do with your account past the point of sale.
- Content – Approach the content of the supplier’s offering in the same way that you would pick apart a legal agreement. Make sure you know exactly what you are contracting for, what it costs and what the extras will be. For example, do not accept bland phrases such as, “We take regular backups of your data”. Ask pertinent questions such as when will you take backups? Using what software? Where will they be held? How often will you test its recovery and how usable is restored data? The answers to these all-important questions will be a real eye-opener to what the business is saying they can offer you.
- Cost – There is no reason why you should not be paying a fixed amount for a defined service – with ‘defined service’ being the key phrase. We’ve seen so many unhappy managing partners who have contracted for services only to find that certain support calls incur additional costs (Note: always ask the supplier whether any support calls will result in an engineer starting a timer for additional billable time). Costs may be fixed for a contracted period (which is great) but make sure you understand the circumstances under which costs can vary. And make sure you see a full price list even for services you are not necessarily contracting for right now.
- Customer Satisfaction – Finally, and perhaps most importantly, ask for a full customer list and decide who to contact. Any provider can wheel out a name or two who will tell you what the supplier wants you to hear. You need to reach beyond that if you are to get a true feel for the business.
Finding a supplier of outsourced IT services that suits your needs may not seem like an easy feat, however, if due diligence is done properly, it should be a one-time investment. By driving innovation and aligning technology to support your business goals, you are on the right path to setting yourself up for success.
If you would like to find out more about how Nasstar could help your law firm, please contact us.
Missed our latest webinar? Watch Neil Clegg, Business Consulting Director and Colin Morris, Legal Specialist discuss how outsourcing your IT could drive real business outcomes: