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Making a business case for moving to the cloud

Geoff Hornsby

Recent years have seen a rapid increase in law firms and legal departments moving to the cloud for their document management systems. This trend has only accelerated over the past year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the need to support remote work.

In this newly-forged hybrid work environment, the factors driving firms to the cloud have only grown more compelling. These include advanced security that protects highly confidential and privileged files and communications, and an enhanced user experience that means files are easily accessible, regardless of where work is being performed.

Building a business case

Looking at the variety of benefits is a good way to build a business case for moving to the cloud. It should be approached from the perspective of multiple audiences, including IT, end-users and customers, and it should focus on the business outcomes these audiences can expect from moving to the cloud.

For IT, a move to the cloud removes the administrative burden of managing on-premises systems. Instead, the function can rely on experts in cloud and SaaS to manage the servers and infrastructure, allowing IT to refocus personnel on innovation and more strategic, high-value efforts. The cloud offers the fastest and simplest way to deliver document management while reducing cost and complexity, especially for mid-size law firms that want to be as efficient as possible with their IT resources.

For end-users, moving to the cloud delivers a more seamless experience, which translates into greater productivity and the ability to get work done more efficiently. Additionally, in today’s highly competitive market, being a laggard in technology uptake can have serious downside. The ability to access new features, functionality and security protections as soon as they are introduced delivers greater business agility, ensuring that new technology can rapidly be taken advantage of. Would you hire a law firm that wanted to collaborate with you primarily via fax? Of course not. Don’t turn your end-users into metaphorical faxers – instead, create positive business outcomes for them with a move to the cloud.

What about clients? What do they gain from a move to the cloud? Collaboration between clients and legal professionals is made simple and streamlined. File sharing that is easy, governed and secured ensures a single source of truth for clients and legal professionals alike.

Security first

Law firms must also be able to protect proprietary legal information and demonstrate their commitment to data security to their clients. Clients gain peace of mind by knowing that their confidential documents are being centralised in a highly secure cloud, maintained by a SaaS vendor which can devote far more time and resources to security measures and certifications than all but the very largest legal organisations could.

The best cloud vendors will have architected their offering around a Zero Trust framework and will fortify the DMS with additional layers of protection, including security policies that segregate content and determine who has access to it, and advanced threat detection models powered by behavioral analytics that can continuously guard against internal and external threats.

The business impact of having sensitive files stolen or exposed because of a breach hardly needs to be spelled out (has anyone heard from any of the companies that were involved in the Panama Papers breach recently?) Avoiding such a disastrous event is a non-negotiable priority.

Whether taken from the perspective of IT, end-users or clients, a move to the cloud can deliver big productivity improvements and powerful business outcomes. Best of all, these benefits can be delivered for a fraction of the cost of a cup of coffee, per person, per day. We’ve done the maths. And we’re willing to talk through those insights with firms that want competitive advantages now.

Firms can learn more about the benefits of moving to the cloud from the downloadable ebook 5 Lessons Learned from Moving to the iManage Cloud.

This article first appeared in LPM

About the author

Geoff Hornsby

Geoff Hornsby is the General Manager, EMEA for iManage, responsible for field operations across Europe, Middle East and Africa. He joined the original iManage team in 2001 and has 30 years of experience in software sales and management.