5 tips for digital transformation success in law firms

Neil Araujo
CEO and co-founder, iManage
Neil was responsible for thought leadership and product strategies before becoming CEO.
09 January 2019

Law firms are faced with numerous business challenges – increased competition, client demand for greater value, pressure on profitability, slowing revenue growth and cybersecurity risks.

In this environment, law firms are looking to digital technologies to drive innovation, help them leverage new market opportunities better, improve business efficiency and mitigate risks.

In other words, law firms have entered the era of digital transformation, where digital technologies — such as cloud, artificial intelligence, mobility, cryptography — are revolutionizing all industries, including legal.

Here are five tips to enable law firms to successfully implement a digital transformation strategy in their organizations and seize the significant commercial and operational benefits that digital transformation can bring about:

1. Drive cultural change

Digitization – i.e. automating business processes or creating a paperless environment — or technology adoption alone will not be enough to bring about an organization’s digital transformation. Digital transformation is all encompassing and it takes time. It also implies an evolving cultural transformation. Digital transformation sparks a variety of changes, such as mining data for insights to serve the customer better; or working to change your employees’ mindset and relation to technology; or updating your business models and processes.

2. Invest in strategic technology platforms

Digital transformation relies on today’s modern, functionally-integrated and secure platforms. By adopting these, law firms can ensure a consistent work environment and user experience, improved lawyer productivity, and the security of client data. In contrast, legacy systems rely on the disjointed experience of patching together multiple software applications to create a single business environment across the organization.

3. Pay attention to user experience

For digital transformation to be a success, users need to embrace ‘digital as their default.’ Modern computing platforms are designed to deliver the best user experience possible: they offer an intuitive experience, are secure, make users efficient, and improve productivity. To succeed, these systems must replicate in a work environment the experience and ease of use that people are used to in their personal lives, as consumers (e.g. shopping on Amazon).

4. Plan resources for innovation

Make adequate resources available for innovation (e.g. for technologies such as AI). This will help the firm focus on activities that provide a better understanding of client requirements, and it will unveil new ways in which technology and organizational expertise can be used to deliver against client needs, in the most effective and timely manner.

5. Look for built-in security

With law firms seen as a lucrative target for cyber criminals, adopting systematic measures against security threats and breaches and data loss must be a top priority. Operationalizing security with concepts such as need-to-know-security and policy-based controls, strong encryption and records management is essential. Furthermore, layering in security by design to create multiple defenses will further make data protection routine and invisible. AI and analytics today offer the best opportunity to automate detection to pre-empt security breaches, in a cost-effective way.

Digital transformation holds great promise for law firms and these five best-practice tips will help establish a strong foundation for your organization.

This blog post was based on the article published in LegalTech News, by Neil Araujo, iManage’s CEO and Co-Founder. For a more detailed analysis of this subject, you can read the full article.

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