Technology as a driver of change in the legal sector

Today we attended the LegalEx show at ExCel in London to ensure we kept pace with how the Legal sector is seeing the technology landscape in their practices. The Keynote from Jonathan Smithers, (president of the Law Society) highlighted the challenges faced from technological innovation from both what practice's use and also how the law will need to adapt to innovations and how they will reshape practices.

Technology and the Law

The usage and application of technologyare becoming more complex and sophisticated; Amazon deliveries by drone, driverless cars, delivery robots are a few examples.  Major technology vendors are already executing their vision on the technology of tomorrow and the law needs to adapt rapidly rather than playing catch up.

Technology and the Judicial System

Courts are slowly adopting technology to make them 100% digital, the lord chief justices report to parliament was titled "Outdated IT Systems severely impede the delivery of justice" our clients working in court are relying solely on their case management systems and tech in court when their matters are heard, it's more and more imperative that technology 'just works' when they need it to.

Technology in Legal Practice

Practices have been adapting and improving processes and procedures before now, but the pace of this is happening faster with technology, such an example of this is the utilisation of IBM's ROSS system that has been attributed to huge time savings by allowing the use of natural language rather than keyword searches to return more quickly than ever before.

Closer to the businesses we work with is their use of 'the cloud' for delivering practice management systems, unified communications and ensuring they can work with the Crown Court Digital Case System. At a time where technology proliferation is rife with the ability to 'self-serve,' it is more important than ever to manage your technology so it works efficiently, securely, whilst maintaining your regulatory compliance.

At the same time efficiency gains from technology mean that if you're not embracing the change, and others certainly are, your rivals will be turning more profit, for less work.

 

Boost staff productivity with mobile web

Many business owners jump to the conclusion that utilizing mobile devices can automatically lead to more and better productivity. However, having a poor mobile device policy can result in your employees becoming inundated and frankly, overwhelmed by technology. That's not the outcome you'd want so here are a few ways to avoid this happening and how to get the most out of the use of mobile devices within the workplace. 

Use the right tool

Yes, using a mobile phone or tablet device is an effective an efficient way to work on the go but try writing a long report on a mobile device, this just isn't a good idea. Using project management apps, viewing emails and documents and just searching the web are good ways to use mobile devices, but anything that is a little too detailed is likely to be much easier and time friendly on a laptop or computer. Don't train your staff to use every single app and program that the business uses, this will result in the employee becoming overwhelmed and will be a waste of time and resources. 

Communicate face-to-face

Having a face-first policy might be the way forward for your business. This means, that rather an employee writing an email, they should consider talking to that person directly, be it over the phone or in person. If that person is only a short walk down the road, that conversation should take place in-person. If your employee needs a quick answer, then face-to-face is the most efficient way as emails can get overlooked and unanswered. Having an email policy, your employee's inbox's are much more likely to be less overcrowded with incoming messages and ensures that communication takes place in a more timely manner. 

Set boundaries

Being able to set boundaries is one of the great responsibilities of being an employer. Creating and enforcing time frames for work on certain platforms and applications that can be utilized and when emails can be sent and responded to. Do not encourage employees to work out-of-hours by sending and responding to emails over the weekend and in the evenings. Chances are, the query can wait until they are back in the office on Monday. 

Be flexible

This can sound a little contradictory, but being flexible in the work policies can be a wise choice to boost productivity. When being flexible, it means that the ability for employees to work at hours and locations of their choosing can become highly beneficial. Most people work better and more efficiently when they are surrounded by their own comforts, and can at certain times of day. These times may not be usual business hours, but they may get more done during the hours they choose. 

Mobile devices can really contribute to making your business more efficient and making/keeping employees happy and motivated. If you'd like a little bit more information on how utilizing mobile devices in the workplace can help boost productivity or how you can use technology better than you currently are, call us today. 

Why Microsoft Office 365?

Many businesses are switching to Cloud Based Office 365, which enables staff to all access the same documents from one place (providing they have the permissions). There are endless benefits to Office 365 at a set monthly cost. 

  • Access to the newest software including beta testing
  • Web access to Microsoft Office Applications
  • Skype for Business (previously Lync)
  • Up to 5 PC downloads per licence of full Office Applications
  • Sway
  • Team Sites
  • File Storage and Easy File Sharing (SharePoint)

Microsoft offer plenty of different subscriptions to fit every budget. We recommend Office 365 Business Premium to our clients as it covers all applications required at an affordable monthly fee of £7.80 per user per month (annual commitment). We think this is pretty reasonable and if your IT service provider can offer fully managed Office 365, you're in a good position - fully managed Office 365 for one monthly price, you'll never have to worry!

Microsoft Office 2016 was released on July 9th 2015 and bought many new features along with it. With Office 365 you have access to the newest downloads as soon as they are released, sometimes even sooner. With the addition of Sway you can produce effective interactive reports and presentations easily. Sway is a useful tool to create, amend and share documents with co-workers - all you need to do is have the content! 

Skype for business works much the same as everyday Skype and most people now have used Skype at some point. Skype provides the ability to organise and run online meetings, send messages and take calls with up to 250 people. You can organise your staff by scheduling meetings in through outlook, connecting to Skype. See contacts' online statuses and start conversations from applications like Word and PowerPoint to discuss documents. It's all there, included in the monthly price. 

Sharepoint and Team Sites have proven very useful for the very reason that members of staff have access to all of their documents no matter where they are, and can collaborate with other members of staff on documents using the Team Sites. 

Microsoft are doing so much to help businesses keep on top of things and their staff no matter when or where they are. Everything stored in one place, accessible any time of day from any device. It's as simple as that.