Cloud journey: What is your strategy?

Heidi Hanson
Content Marketing Editor
12 October 2021

The legal industry was not well-positioned to make the shift to remote working, and decidedly not “at speed.” It has taken a pandemic to move the tech needle.

How legal research set us on the path to the cloud

About fifty years ago the forerunners of LexisNexis (LEXIS) and Westlaw (WALT) established a service of providing legal information via databases on dedicated terminals. Clients retrieved the information as a service via dial-up connections. By the early 1990s, performing legal research using these services had grown ubiquitous, and as Internet access became widely available, some services could also be accessed via the web.[1]

“It is worth remembering that the idea of renting access to services like Westlaw and Lexis for research once seemed novel, but today law firms have become almost totally dependent on them as core research tools.”

Alan Pelz-Sharpe, Founder, Deep Analysis, Why on-premises it is riskier than the cloud

Email and eDiscovery followed closely on the heels of legal research, then video conferencing and collaboration in the cloud, continuing through file and data management and, more recently, AI-driven search capabilities which augment data analysis for business insights.

The wisdom of embracing adaptive technologies in the legal sector

Despite the above narrative, technology adoption in the legal sector has trailed other professions, and for most legal departments the level of digital maturity remains low.[2] While the pandemic has been a clarion call to the legal profession to step up to the challenge of remote and hybrid working, this is an industry that – as a whole – was not well-positioned to make that shift, and decidedly not “at speed.”

“Out of adversity comes opportunity, and sadly it has taken a pandemic to move the tech needle in legal circles.”

Alan Pelz-Sharpe, Founder, Deep Analysis, Why on-premises IT is riskier than the cloud

But adapt, you did, to all extents possible, and you are now strongly motivated, if not outright compelled, to consider making a more permanent, more comprehensive, move to the cloud. Remote and hybrid working are realities that the legal profession, among others, are gradually accepting as de facto. And the continually changing threat landscape is yet another de facto reality with which legal IT must contend.

The overarching message to legal and compliance teams is clear enough: technology is the answer to your workload, security, and compliance challenges. But with so many solutions out there clamoring for your business, how should you approach this seemingly inevitable step forward? What technology provides the best bang for the buck?

Why cost-savings should not dictate your business case for the cloud

Cost is an unreliable gauge of performance, and the desire to save money is not the best business case for moving to the cloud. Though you can and probably will spend less in the long run with the cloud, the collective benefits of making the move should go far beyond any cost savings.

A better imperative is to settle for nothing less than the most effective system your organization can afford. Get the right solution from the right provider, to best fulfill your needs – both today and in the years to come.

“Look for a cloud alternative that measurably improves your on-premises system, is easier and more intuitive to use, enhances both your employees’ and your clients’ experience, provides better security and access, and gives you a foundation for future expansion and adaptability.”

Alan Pelz-Sharpe, Founder, Deep Analysis, Why on-premises IT is riskier than the cloud

And perhaps still more important, be very certain that the support is everything that the company promises, and more. Your successful migration, adoption, and results rest as heavily on the support as they do on the product.

Read the whitepaper to learn what sets cloud providers apart, and why choosing the right cloud vendor is the most important decision you will make in your journey to the cloud.

Positive outcomes and next steps in your cloud journey

“The biggest benefits to any legal team considering moving to the cloud come in terms of the new system’s increased security, flexibility, support, and ease of use for clients and staff alike.”

Alan Pelz-Sharpe, Founder, Deep Analysis, Why on-premises IT is riskier than the cloud

You’ve chosen your provider and set the migration in motion. If you’ve made the right choice, your annual costs should be more predictable, and your infrastructure costs significantly lower. When fully implemented, you’ll have advanced security, governance, and confidence in your protection from a cyberattack. What’s more, you know if there is an attack, the damage will be minimal. Compliance is being automated and the overall complexity of your system is greatly simplified.

What’s next?

Your IT team should now be able to leave much of the support and intervention to your solution provider. That time saved can be spent providing greater value to the organization. But with your workload, risk, and compliance management issues in hand, what more value can you bring?

The path to the cloud that began with legal research has led us to a different kind of search – and to your next steps. By using AI-driven search technologies available only in the cloud you can develop and implement a strategy for mining the data that is hidden in your knowledge assets. Then your team can demonstrate the full value of their expertise by bringing valuable new insights to the firm.

iManage can smooth your journey to the cloud. Learn how.

 

[1] https://legaltechnology.com/gartner-identifies-three-areas-where-legal-compliance-leaders-should-focus-their-technology-investments

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westlaw

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