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FALL 2014 EDITION

Forefront
 

A Market Shift toward Integrated Searching

Introduction

Every law firm and conveyancing practice will struggle at some point in time to find the most efficient, simple, and reliable system to service their needs. By using integrated software, you can take advantage of several different applications or systems that function through a single platform.

What Is an Integrated System?

Software integration is the facilitation of data exchange between two systems, allowing them to essentially function as one greater system.

This integrated system contains multiple applications that can be accessed from a single interface. These applications within the greater system do not have to have related functions. For example, by simply clicking a button, you can access a word processing application, thereby composing a customized invoice outlining the fees for a particular client, all via your practice management software.

What Is Integrated Searching?

Integrated searching is the term used to describe the service provided by online searching brokers who have agreements with practice management software providers. The agreement allows the systems to work in sync with one another and exchange data under a single interface.

This integration means that any business that uses a practice management system has access to additional systems at the click of a button. Furthermore, these searches can be saved back to the matter in either the practice management system or document management system, and any fees are captured in real time for immediate billing.

Why Use Integrated Searching?

The complexity of running multiple stand-alone systems can be confusing, expensive, and time consuming. Lack of communication between these systems can allow processes to become inefficient. Having to enter the same information into multiple user interfaces creates opportunity for human error. Having a myriad of standalone systems also enables documents to be lost, or misplaced, or even saved to places that cannot be accessed by other staff members. This can result in wasted time and even a financial cost to the business.

This tangled web of systems is often referred to as a ‘software hairball’. This issue can affect productivity and flexibility and essentially can slow the potential future growth of the business.

The benefits of integrating your searching with your practice management package are varied, these include:

  • Reducing labor intensive manual processes and enhancing workflow
  • A consistent interface across your systems
  • Prevention of disbursement write-offs

To be more specific, when comparing integrated searching providers, as well as an intuitive system, and comprehensive service offering, they should offer the following:

  • Cost recoveries automatically saved on client ledgers in real time (no missed disbursements)
  • Completed search results saved directly to the matter, so they can be found by any staff member
  • All relevant details, including matter references are automatically pre-populated into the required search fields

Benefits to Your Business

Essentially it is the streamlining of processes which makes integration so desirable. But there are several ways in which businesses can benefit from having integrated systems.

Saving Time on Tasks

You probably never consider the number of tasks that it requires to complete an activity, but the use of an integrated searching system can save you time you didn’t even know you had. For example, a firm who uses an integrated system and performs (on average) 25 company searches each month, can save themselves from performing six additional tasks on average (compared to those using a non-integrated system). This is a savings of almost 2,000 tasks over the course of a year. You may not even notice that you are performing these additional operations, but the time savings when using an integrated system are invaluable.

Going Paperless

With many companies making the move toward becoming a paperless organization, having an integrated system is the ideal solution. It incorporates electronic filing, making files easy to retrieve, access, and send on to clients. This saves both time and money as finding and sending files takes a fraction of the time compared to traditional filing methods.

Improved Visibility

Using an integrated system allows for enhanced visibility. For example, if a staff member is absent due to illness or annual leave, their colleagues are able to access their electronic matters quickly and easily, as opposed to having to source the paper file and manually search through it for the required information. Having an integrated system with the ability to access your colleague’s matters promotes increased efficiencies and continuity and ensures smoothness of day-to-day workflow processes.

Easy Growth

If you are planning to expand your business into other locations, having one integrated system that links all staff can be advantageous, as all information is stored in a single place, and all other functions are often accessed from the same software. Training new staff will be simpler, and in conjunction with the improved visibility, integrated systems mean that growing your business can be an easy and smooth transition.

In summary, integration is the future of software. It provides a single system solution while incorporating several business functions. The implementation of an integrated system lends to the running of a more efficient and flexible business. It promotes easy growth, saves time and costs, and assists with the move to a modern and paperless environment.


InfoTrack

InfoTrack is a market leading information broker providing a fast and easy solution for all of your property, corporate, and personal searching and affiliated services. With more than 13 years of experience servicing the legal and conveyancing industry and currently serving 4500 law firms each month, the company is confident it can help any practice work more productivity. Click here for more information.

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