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Continuous Change Management: Gaining the Competitive Edge with Successful Digital Transformations

Legal technology is continually evolving, and there’s a growing need to keep pace with digital trends that are improving and revolutionizing the business of law. It can be a daunting task for law firms to stay abreast of all the latest updates, especially regarding hosting platforms, cloud computing, and mobile devices. Many firms choose to defer adopting new systems for years and years. There’s always “later,” right?

Despite the potential disruption, however, it’s never a good idea to wait too long before bringing your firm’s IT systems current. In fact, doing so can often cause unanticipated (and possibly disastrous) issues. New versions of software usually address security and compatibility issues which, if ignored, could put your firm at a competitive disadvantage. Updates are particularly important when it comes to software that your employees and customers access via mobile platforms, the most quickly growing space for digital engagement.

One upgrade that many legal practices are currently considering is to move to the new User Interface (UI) for 3E offered by Thomson Reuters Elite. ┬áThe new UI provides a new user experience developed with HTML5/Angular technology instead of Microsoft Silverlight. Microsoft will be retiring Silverlight in 2021, and firms that don’t migrate to the newer UI run the risk of exposing themselves to an increasing number of security vulnerabilities. These firms will be unable to receive centralized support and troubleshooting, not to mention having to run on a slower, more antiquated UI.

With decades of experience in the legal tech space, a strong change management plan is essential to the smooth adoption of new software platforms. The best change management plans address both the technical and human aspects of a situation. Putting together an explicit plan of action for dealing with people’s reactions and emotions around significant changes to their workflows is an often-neglected process that can remove a great deal of indecision and miscommunication during system migrations. Businesses that spend time and energy on proactively managing their change management processes are almost always able to turn a once dreaded, angst-filled ordeal into a positive and satisfying experience.

While planning out the technical necessities and procedures for a major software upgrade, create a complementary strategy for addressing important questions in the following six areas:

  1. Sponsorship
    Who at the executive level is going to champion this project? Who’s taking ownership to see it through? Do these people have realistic expectations?
  2. Stakeholder buy-in
    Which stakeholders will be primarily affected by the change? Have their concerns been addressed? Is there any resistance? How is that resistance going to be managed?
  3. Involvement
    Whose roles and/or responsibilities will be altered? How can these people be more deliberately involved or consulted as part of the change process?
  4. Impact
    What benefits do you hope to realize? Is there a metric for identifying and measuring both anticipated and unanticipated impacts? Does this metric stop at implementation, or does it include a “live” period?
  5. Communication
    How will project news be conveyed? To whom will it be conveyed, and how often? How will information on progress, changes, or problems be disseminated?
  6. Readiness
    Who needs training, and on what? How and when will the training be given? Who will facilitate it?

By taking the time to dig into these questions and develop a holistic strategy for socializing the change effort, firms can allow their attorneys and staff to breathe easier and look forward to a significant system upgrade. Bring on the new dashboards!

Though a change management plan for a non-IT project may look different, the six core areas listed above should still be addressed. Remember to include the time and resources necessary to create this plan in your project’s original scope of work.

Although change is inevitable, it doesn’t have to be messy. Creating an intentional change management plan will keep your firm on a smooth upward trajectory with limited disruption and maximum success.


Available to 3E and ProLaw clients, Helm360 has an extensive pool of experienced resources with proven ability to deliver the Elite market-leading systems to customers. The Helm360 team is able to provide expert advice and consulting services that enable Elite customers to efficiently implement these solutions, thereby directly reducing risk and avoiding the common pitfalls of implementing legal software. Helm360 offers a full range of implementation services, including project management, business consulting, testing/QA, technical consulting, custom development, and data migration. Click here for more information.

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