Peer to Peer Magazine

Summer 2017

The quarterly publication of the International Legal Technology Association

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11 WWW.ILTANET.ORG BEST PRACTICES 6 Tips To Stabilize and Reduce Out-of-Control IT Costs JOE KELLY Joe Kelly formally launched Legal Workspace in 2010 and currently leads the organization as the CEO. He first saw the potential for the Legal Workspace solution because of his broad exposure to how law firms operate. Joe has deep knowledge of the evolution of virtualization, connectivity and hosting technologies. Contact him at jkelley@legal-workspace.com. and then supplement with additional systems. If one of your apps includes document management, do you need to purchase another document management app and incur additional hits to the IT budget? You might also have several programs designed to serve the same function. It is not unheard of for large organizations to have three client relationship management tools, five different PDF readers and multiple document management solutions. These different systems affect the IT budget and can lead to a lack of coordination between departments and offices. Offering safeguards to control this phenomenon will help keep a tight rein on IT costs both immediately and over time. Tip 3: Engage with a Technology Advisor A technology advisor takes a holistic look at the organization, its current technologies and total costs. An advisor focuses on determining the right systems to move the firm forward in the most efficient, cost- effective way. A knowledgeable advisor might also offer tips on how to curb costs based on best practices. When considering advisors, identify one that has experience with organizations similar to yours in size and structure and is familiar with legal applications. This enables advisors to relate to your daily struggles, user adoption challenges and big picture strategies. Highly experienced advisors also understand the unique professional and ethical obligations that law firms and legal departments face and can recommend safeguards to maintain the privacy and security of privileged information. Tip 4: Keep Current Systems Up to Date Technology is a "living" thing and requires aention. When you ignore routine maintenance, patches and upgrades, your organization risks spending a great deal of money repairing systems when something goes wrong. It is comparable to ignoring routine oil changes for a car. Drivers who pay thousands to an auto repair shop for a thrown rod are certainly regretful when they realize it could have been prevented with a standard oil change. Tip 5: Establish a Technology Committee Creating another commiee isn't always the best way to improve efficiencies and reduce costs. Yet, for managing IT costs, a technology commiee can ensure everyone's perspectives are considered both short- and long-term. To be effective, the commiee should include representatives from each business unit in the firm. This not only establishes buy-in from multiple stakeholders in different roles, it also creates a top- down approach for technology acceptance, guideline enforcement, road mapping and future planning. Tip 6: Move to the Cloud and Reduce IT Infrastructure As the Technology Purchasing Survey notes: "Cloud computing continues to be one of the hoest topics in legal IT." Law firm respondents ranked multiple benefits from the cloud, including versatility/mobility (62 percent), flexibility (53 percent), efficiencies and cost savings (34 percent), and security (25 percent). Cloud acceptance has evolved from exploration to execution. Many organizations are migrating IT and workstations fully to the cloud, shunning the need for onsite hardware, excessive IT and physical workstation access. This movement can offer considerable savings both for budgets and personnel time. One item to consider: The market is replete with cloud technology providers; however, not all are ideal for law firms. A provider that doesn't understand the unique needs and applications required by law firms can jeopardize productivity and drain budgets. Other things to consider include how easy it is to use, the ability to scale, support staff experienced in legal and vendor agnosticism. Looking Forward As new technologies and devices proliferate, it might seem inevitable that IT costs will keep climbing. But using these tips will help you stabilize and reduce future costs while benefiting from a more cohesive, consistent approach to your organization's hardware and soware. P2P It is not unheard of for large organizations to have three client relationship management tools, five different PDF readers and multiple document management solutions.

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