If you’re like most legal professionals, you’re always thinking about new strategies to work more efficiently and help your office succeed. As you research best practices, you’ll find that technology is increasingly being used to achieve those goals.
Let’s take a step back for a moment: how can you tell if your practice needs a technology update? When you’re looking for ways to make your office more profitable and complete files faster, assessing your current processes is a good place to start. While it can seem overwhelming, here is a quick overview to get you on the right path.
Check your attitude
Start by checking in with your office’s attitude towards change. Ask yourself, or someone else in the office, why do we do things this particular way? If the answer is “that’s just how it’s always been done” without more detailed reasoning to back it up, it’s probably time to shake things up.
Evaluate your current technology
Consider whether you’ve kept the same technology because it works well or if you’ve simply become too comfortable with what you have, even though it’s less efficient than more up-to-date options. Make a list of every technology you use in your office, from accounting software to document production to emailing services. Note when those programs were last updated and any weaknesses that slow down your day. This will help you identify where inefficiencies exist and where a change could have the biggest impact. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel and replace everything on your list; pick a few items where you noted the biggest potential impact and start there.
Make the most of what you have
Now that you know why you’ve fallen behind, it’s time to decide to get to work updating your processes. Before you make any big changes, first confirm that you’re using your current technology to its full capabilities. Check if you’re using the most current version of the software. If you’ve noticed areas for improvement, chances are so has the service provider and they may have already created a fix you can get with a simple version update. Also take a look at their training materials and website. Software is always evolving so it’s possible a feature you’d love to see, such as document customization, may already be available and you just weren’t aware of it.
Research better solutions
If you’re up to date, fully utilizing the available features, and you’re still not getting the efficiencies you need, it’s time to check if there’s a better option out there. Evaluate each alternative for how well it will fit into your office in the long term. How easy is it to implement? What is the overall cost, not just upfront but over the life of its use? Does it help fix other problems, for example by offering integrations with other technology providers so you can access their solutions from one location? What kind of support can you expect? A new technology is only as good as the network of resources backing it up with training, support, and ongoing communication. Make sure before you take on a technology switch that you’re moving to a better solution, not just making a change for the sake of it.
When things are “good enough”, it becomes easy to stick with the status quo. However, that outlook only works for so long before it starts disrupting both your office’s success and your own work-life balance. Start planning now so you can implement any new technology during the coming winter season when things tend to be a bit quieter.