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With so many advancements in the world of technology, lawyers have thousands of options for technology tools throughout their practice.  The pace at which new products are being introduced – all promising to save you time and money – has never been faster.

The challenge is deciding which of those technologies are truly valuable to your business, and which ones are simply toys. This is not to say that toys are not a good thing, it’s just that when you are considering which technologies to employ, it’s important to understand and utilize the concept of ‘return on investment or ROI’.

While most small and midsize law firms will not spend an inordinate amount of time breaking down a technology investment’s financial return, there are ways to make sure your decisions will yield returns for you and your business. Evaluating the benefits of any technology investment can be broken down into three simple questions:

  1. What problem do you expect this technology to solve? Make sure you know what you expect to accomplish or which problems you expect to solve prior to each technology purchase.
  2. What are the real costs for recommending this technology? Whether you’re considering an iPhone or a new server, make sure you think about all the potential costs that could be involved. Set up? Training? Maintenance? All of these costs can add up and affect your overall ROI.
  3. How will you determine whether or not the product actually delivers the results you were expecting? Set a plan for measuring the results – time savings, money savings, improved workflow can all be gauged to be sure you’ve met your plan.

By answering these questions first, you’ll have a much better understanding of what you’re buying and why. (And if the answer is ‘for fun’ – that’s okay too. Everyone likes toys.)