“There are risks and costs to a program of action, but they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction” – John Fitzgerald Kennedy
We see a lot of law firms that refuse to invest in their IT infrastructure for a few seemingly good reasons. Many are overwhelmed by the amount of choices and advancements in technology. Some just don’t know what product is right for them. Others simply cannot justify writing the check. While all of these reasons are understandable, here are 3 scenarios that typify how inaction can actually cost you more in the long run.
Many firms adopt their tasks to work around the technology available to them. The idea that you can “get by for now” ends up being a permanent solution that becomes ingrained in the company’s unwritten operations manual. “Why use that document automation system when I can search my computer and find the last on I did? At least I know how it works”. The problem is that is that this little time waster quickly goes from being a little problem to being a full-blown way of doing business. In other words it goes from being an exception to the rule and it becomes the rule. Investing in new technology or upgrading old technology should nearly always be accompanied with a workflow analysis that can flush out procedures that are ineffective.
The ‘swimming duck’
From the attorney’s perspective, they get what they need, when they need it…mostly. But their staff is frantically working to deliver work product that should take half the time it does because they are either following point 1 OR they have no idea how to use the tools they have available to them. It’s critical that technology investments come with training. And that training needs to specific to your firm and the way you do business. Otherwise the end result could be the same – calm on top but frantically working below the water. This one represents a hidden but significant expense to the firm.
The ‘groundhog day’
Ever notice how those pesky Windows updates notifications seem to show up at ALL the wrong times? Over and over and over again they pop up and odds are nothing is ever done about them. Not installing Windows updates creates a security risk that’s never worth taking. It may seem like the same thing over and over but it’s not – all those notifications are Microsoft’s way of saying “hey, someone new is trying to mess with your computer and we’re trying to stop them’. The problem is that users don’t run those updates and firms sometimes don’t want to pay their IT firm to make sure they’re run. Accept the fact you need to have someone do this and it really should be the IT firm. This is called preventative maintenance and its worth every penny.
Don’t be paralyzed by indecision. Don’t let your staff take ‘long-cuts’, make sure they are properly trained and recognize that you need to spend money to keep your technology solutions working (before they break). The alternative can mean lost clients, employees and – most importantly – lost income.