Technology is constantly improving the way we all work and do business, and the legal sector is no exception. By embracing change and undergoing digital transformation, even the most traditional law firms can make major gains and tip the scales to their strategic advantage.
We’re all familiar with the events of 2020 so far, and the speed with which UK businesses had to adapt to working remotely almost overnight. Whilst some sectors were ahead of others and perhaps more suited to remote working than in other industries, few compare to the legal sector where companies are at more at odds with their digital maturity than in any other field. On one side of the scale, there’s the traditional paper-based firm and on the other, the high performing hybrid – with different levels of technical capability in between these two types.
What is digital transformation?
To put it simply, digital transformation is about using technology to enhance business processes, workplace culture and the way you serve your customers. Although technology plays a key role in digital transformation, it’s not determined by any singular solution. Rather, it is about the way in which you use the tools at your disposal to help you overcome challenges to find new and better ways of doing things.
For example, Air IT client Bond Adams Solicitors LLP prides itself on delivering a wide range of highly reputable legal services, ensuring cost effectiveness and accessibility for its global client base. With its investment in technology aligned to this ethos, Bond Adams and its team of lawyers are able to carry out transactions efficiently regardless of location. This helps save time and lowers costs so they can provide better value to clients, without compromising on quality.
Furthermore, following their decision to work remotely back in March, Bond Adams were able to maintain essential communications with clients and employees using secure cloud collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams to enable video conferencing and live chat. As a result, the business has been able to provide a professional, uninterrupted level of service throughout the global pandemic, whilst supporting the health and safety of its employees by allowing them to work from home during this period of uncertainty.
In other words, technology is only one piece of the puzzle and acts as a catalyst for wider business improvement and change, as well as providing greater operational flexibility and resilience. For this reason, it’s vital to ensure any new technology you implement is fully aligned to your own business goals so you can ensure it delivers positive outcomes for both your clients and employees.
Evolution is key to survival
Due to the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions, the attitude to business working practices has changed significantly. The new normal is for staff to work from home remotely with IT infrastructures set up to support this. This change in attitude and standard practice will see a faster transition to cloud-based technology and infrastructure as a critical component of digital transformation.
According to the PwC Law Firms Survey 2019, 80% of the UK’s top 10 law firms identified technology as their number one priority over the next 2-3 years. However, with the same report revealing that IT spending is proportionately lower in legal than in other sectors, law firms need to prioritise their investment in technology if they wish to maintain market relevance and keep up with the competition in the years to come. Those firms who continue to turn a blind eye to innovation risk becoming obsolete.
However, digital transformation is not exclusive to any single sector; and nor should it be. Organisations in the legal sector not only need to keep pace with competitors but can also learn from the way in which other industries are using technology.
For example, use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and process automation are transforming sectors of all types from accounting to healthcare, who are using automation and AI to complete repetitive tasks such as data collection, data entry and updating customer records. This not only boosts productivity but frees up precious time for workers to focus on service and continual improvement. Out of the top 100 firms surveyed by PwC, 43% said AI is the technology most likely to disrupt the legal sector in the next 5 years. Those who embrace these kinds of development will not only survive, but thrive.
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