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FALL 2015 EDITION

Forefront
 

Making the Case for Legal Technology

Law firms are making a slow recovery from the 2009 crash. The demand for services may not be back to pre-2009 levels, but according to Thomson Reuters Peer Monitor, it is on the up.*
But this new landscape is vastly different. The way firms attract, win, and keep business has changed. Winning new business no longer boils down to good networking and relationship building. It’s about marketing (attracting new prospects), proving your value (converting them into clients), and streamlining non-billable tasks (providing excellent service while remaining competitive).

And it’s technology that is driving the evolution of these three areas:

  1. Attract – Web sites, digital marketing, and marketing automation software are widening the top of the funnel, – allowing firms to reach more potential customers than they could previously and to tell their brand story in a compelling manner
  2. Win – Proposal and RFP management software is enabling firms to produce higher quality, and increasingly tailored, proposals and RFP responses that demonstrate experience, knowledge, and creativity, – resulting in higher win rates
  3. Keep – Business process automation (BPA) software is driving process excellence – helping to create lean, agile law firms that can compete on price, without skimping on service

These are some big changes for the sector, and for lawyers who, let’s face it, don’t have the best reputation for being tech savvy.

But the changes are here to stay, and if anything, the pace of change seems to be increasing, as 72% of firm leaders agree.**

So, how do you implement the technology you know will give your firm a competitive advantage? After all, there’s little point in investing in software that has a raft of great functionality if adoption is low or users don’t know how to get the most out of it.

Build the Case, Then Make the Case

Start by gathering requirements. What features and capabilities would the software need in order to make your employees’ jobs easier? How would they measure the success of the new system? Add this feedback to your business case, and if you get the go-ahead, use it to shape the RFP or to create a vendor shortlist.

Once a solution has been selected, you need to convince the rest of the firm that it’s worth their while to go through the process of learning how to use a new system. You’ll need to make the case, present the evidence, and win them over with strong arguments. In short, you really have to sell it if you want them to embrace it.

Make Sure the New System Is Better and Easier

A compelling exposition of the benefits of the new technology will go a long way. But the momentum won’t last long if the technology itself is counter-intuitive, overly-technical, or requires a huge learning curve.

Make sure the system was developed with usability in mind. Ask for a demo or (even better) a trial in order to get a better idea of how easy the system is to use, the level of functionality it offers, and how steep the learning curve will be. Try to include at least one end-user in these explorations in order to paint a realistic picture of how the system would be received.

Consider how the new technology will fit into your current environment. Making sure it integrates with other systems will improve usability and adoption. It also will help ensure that there’s a single source of the truth and that information won’t be represented inconsistently across systems. For example, that firm experience and lawyer bios are reflected consistently across your Web site, CRM, and proposal management system.  

Develop a Long-term Training and Engagement Strategy

Once you have convinced most users of the benefits of the new system and ensured that the technology itself is user-friendly, it’s time to think about training and engagement.

What sort of training will suit your firm? Would face-to-face training workshops be best? Or would people prefer video tutorials that they can work through alone and at their own pace? Do you need a combination of the two? Will your employees need periodic refresher courses? And what will the process look like for getting new recruits up and running?

Insufficient, rushed, or irrelevant training sessions could lead to an unsuccessful implementation and result in a huge amount of precious non-billable time being wasted.

Measure, Measure, Measure

Define what success looks like upfront. What are you hoping to achieve with the new system? How will you track your progress?

For example, if you’re implementing a proposal management solution, you might want to measure the time required to create proposals, the volume of proposals generated per month, and proposal win rates. But have you thought about measuring which content is the most or least popular? Or who uses the system the most or the least?

Don’t Pretend You Don’t Need It

Be clever, be wary, and take your time if you must. But whatever you do, don’t stick your head in the ground and pretend that this technology isn’t here. If you do, you not only run the risk of losing a competitive advantage, but of losing it to braver competitors.

* http://www.law.georgetown.edu/academics/centers-institutes/legal-profession/upload/
FINAL-Report-1-7-15.pdf

** http://www.altmanweil.com/dir_docs/resource/1c789ef2-5cff-463a-863a-2248d23882a7_document.pdf

 

Qorus

Qorus Software is a leading global provider of proposal and content management solutions for firms looking to simplify the way they do business. In a world that is growing increasingly complex, and with clients who continue to demand more for less, we believe that legal software should be intuitive and easy to use. Which is why our solutions are built on well-known Microsoft tools like Word and PowerPoint. They're designed to be used across all departments of your firm, helping produce better proposals, RFP responses, contracts and reports – while decreasing non-billable time. Qorus is a proud Microsoft partner, Primary Competency (Application Development) and Silver Cloud Competency. Click here for more information.

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